Josemaria Escriva. Founder of Opus Dei - Opus Dei founder St Josemaria Escriva, his life day by day, teachings on holiness, apostolate, laity, Catholic Church. Testimonies from Opus Dei members <![CDATA[The best videoclips and articles on Pope John Paul II on this website]]> The following is a selection of the best videoclips and articles on Blessed John Paul II on this website:


How to live holiness according to John Paul II

October 6, 2002: canonization of the founder of Opus Dei

Speech given by John Paul II to the participants of the Workshop on the Apostolic Letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte”

May 17, 1992: beatification of Josemaría Escrivá


Speech by John Paul II to participants at St Josemaria’s canonization. 7-10-2002

Homily by John Paul II at St Josemaria’s canonization. 6-10-2002

Angelus with John Paul II, 6-10-2002, after St Josemaria’s canonization

Speech by John Paul II for the centenary of Josemaria Escriva’s birth

Homily by John Paul II at the beatification of Josemaría Escrivá. 17-5-1992

Speech by John Paul II at the Theological Symposium on Josemaría Escrivá. 14-10-1993]]>
<![CDATA[Returning to our first love]]> VIS. The full text of Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil homily

The Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath. They go to the tomb to honour the body of the Lord, but they find it open and empty. A mighty angel says to them: “Do not be afraid!” (Mt 28:5) and orders them to go and tell the disciples: “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee” (v. 7). The women quickly depart and on the way Jesus himself meets them and says: “Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (v. 10).

After the death of the Master, the disciples had scattered; their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died. But now that message of the women, incredible as it was, came to them like a ray of light in the darkness. The news spread: Jesus is risen as he said. And then there was his command to go to Galilee; the women had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself: “Let them go to Galilee; there they will see me”.

Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).

To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory. To re-read everything – Jesus’ preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal – to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.

For each of us, too, there is a “Galilee” at the origin of our journey with Jesus. “To go to Galilee” means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.

In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential “Galilee”: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.

Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.

The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.

“Galilee of the Gentiles” (Mt 4:15; Is 8:23)! Horizon of the Risen Lord, horizon of the Church; intense desire of encounter… Let us be on our way!]]>
<![CDATA["Holy Father, we bring you letters from the elderly and orphans"]]> On Wednesday April 16, in Rome, the 3,000 young people taking part in the 47th UNIV Forum attended Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

At the end, the Holy Father greeted the students from the UNIV Forum, organized by the Prelature of Opus Dei.

During his audience the Pope said: “This week, it will do us all good to look to the Crucifix, kissing the wounds of Jesus, kissing the Crucifix. He has taken upon himself the whole of human suffering. Looking at Jesus in his Passion, we see as in a mirror also the suffering of all humanity and find the divine answer to the mystery of evil, of suffering, of death... It is a deep wound for us to see suffering and death, especially that of the innocent! When we see children suffering, it is a wound in the heart. It is the mystery of evil, and Jesus takes all this evil, all this suffering, upon himself.”

Afterwards, a group of university students from UNIV presented Pope Francis with hundreds of letters written by elderly people and orphans from all over the world. The students were given rosaries and crucifixes blessed by the Pope to give the letter writers when they return to their home countries.

St. Josemaria, founder of Opus Dei, used to tell young people that humanitarian aid “can never replace the effective tenderness of direct, personal contact with our neighbor: with that poor person living in a nearby district; with that sick person suffering in an immense hospital; or with those who need a bit of affectionate conversation, a Christian friendship to overcome their solitude, spiritual support to remedy their doubt and skepticism.”

Therefore the founder encouraged young people to take part in visits to the needy, to help foster in them, on seeing the suffering of others, “a heart of justice and charity.”

The letters presented to the Pope are the result of some of these visits to the needy by young people from India, the United States, Australia, Canada, Kenya, China, etc. Others are from Jerusalem, written in Arabic or French by elderly people and invalids who reside in the “Home Notre Dame des Doleurs” and who are joyfully awaiting Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the Holy Land.

Many of the correspondents appeal to the Pope to pray for peace and unity in the world. Gloria Herráiz, 88 years old, who lives in a home for the elderly in Cuenca, Spain, sends greetings on behalf of all her co-residents. Adelina, 87 years old, thanks the Pope for the “affection with which people care for us in this residence” and “the close attention you pay to the elderly.”

The letters delivered to the Pope include forty from an orphanage in Colombia. The colorful envelope from little Valentina Carillo is addressed: “with love and affection from Colombia.” While Pedro José writes: “Sir Pope. I’d like to ask you to come to Colombia.”

The theme of UNIV Forum 2014 is “The ecology of the person and the human environment.” It is inspired by Pope Francis’ words on human ecology, which requires a “serious commitment to respect and care for creation, to pay attention to every person, to combat the culture of waste and disposal so as to foster a culture of solidarity and encounter” (Pope Francis, 5 June 2013).

“Solutions to ecological problems can only be founded on moral ecology”(Interview with Oskari Juurikkala, president of UNIV Forum 2014)

<![CDATA[Christ's presence in Christians]]> Download "Christ's presence in Christians", the homily given by St Josemaria Escriva for Easter Sunday, 1967, from the book Christ is Passing By in pdf format.

"Christ is alive." This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness. "Do not be terrified" was how the angels greeted the women who came to the tomb. "Do not be terrified. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here." "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Easter is a time of joy — a joy not confined to this period of the liturgical year, but to be found really and fully in the Christian's heart. For Christ is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory.

No, Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: "Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you." And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men.
Christ is alive in his Church. "I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." That was what God planned: Jesus, dying on the cross, gave us the Spirit of truth and life. Christ stays in his Church, its sacraments, its liturgy, its preaching — in all that it does.

Read more.]]>
<![CDATA[How can I receive Jesus well in Holy Communion?]]> “Dear friends, we won’t ever thank the Lord enough for the gift he has given us in the Eucharist! It is a very great gift and that is why it is so important to go to Mass on Sunday. Go to Mass not just to pray, but to receive Communion, the bread that is the Body of Jesus Christ who saves us, forgives us, unites us to the Father. It is a beautiful thing to do!” (Pope Francis, Audience, 5 February 2014.)

1. What does receiving Holy Communion (the Eucharist) mean? Who can receive Holy Communion?

Receiving Holy Communion, the Blessed Eucharist, is receiving Christ himself, the Son of the Living God, who is hidden beneath the sacramental species of bread and wine.

The Body and Blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. This presence is called the “Real Presence” – not so as to exclude the other types of Christ’s presence, as if they were not “real” too, but because here Christ is present in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present in our souls when we receive Holy Communion.
(Cf.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1374.)

Therefore, to receive Christ in Eucharistic Communion, it is necessary to be baptized and to be in a state of grace. If one is conscious of having committed a mortal sin, in other words, of having offended God deliberately in a serious matter, one should not go to receive Holy Communion without having first confessed the sin and received absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Contemplating the mystery
We are going to receive our Lord. On this earth, when we receive an important person, we bring out the best – lights, music, formal dress. How should we prepare to receive Christ into our soul? Have we ever thought about how we would behave if we could only receive him once in a lifetime?
When I was a child, frequent Communion was still not a widespread practice. I remember how people used to prepare to go to Communion. Everything had to be just right, body and soul: the best clothes, hair well-combed – even physical cleanliness was important – maybe even a few drops of cologne... These were manifestations of love, full of finesse and refinement, on the part of manly souls who knew how to repay Love with love.
Christ is Passing By, 91

Jesus has remained in the Eucharist for love... of you.
He remained, knowing how men would receive him... and how you would receive him.
He has remained so that you could eat him, so that you could visit him and tell him about your things; and so that you could talk to him as you pray beside the Tabernacle, and as you receive the Sacrament ; and so that you could fall in love more and more each day, and make other souls, many other souls, follow the same path.
The Forge, 887

2. Why is it important to receive Holy Communion?
Jesus invites us urgently to receive him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53).

Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.

What is more, Holy Communion separates us from sin. The Body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us,” and the Blood we drink is “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him.

By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins – that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church, in the grace of God.
(Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1391-1395)

Contemplating the mystery
As he was giving out Holy Communion that priest felt like shouting out: “This is Happiness I am giving you!”
The Forge, 267

Your Communions were very cold: you paid little attention to the Lord: you were distracted by the smallest trifle... But ever since you began to realise during an intimate dialogue with God that the angels are present, your attitude has changed... “Let them not see me like this!”, you say to yourself... And see how, as a result of thinking, “What will they say?” – this time, for a good motive – you have advanced a little towards Love.
Furrow, 694

3. How should we prepare for Holy Communion?
To respond to our Lord’s invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor 11: 27-29). Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion.

Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed” (Matt 8:8). To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required by the Church: to abstain from all food and drink for one hour before receiving Holy Communion, except water and medicines.
Bodily demeanour (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
(Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1384-1387)

Contemplating the mystery
We should receive Our Lord in the Eucharist as we would prepare to receive the great ones of the earth, or even better: with decorations, with lights, with new clothes...
And if you ask me what sort of cleanliness I mean, what decorations and what lights you should bring, I will answer you: cleanliness in each one of your senses, decoration in each of your powers, light in all your soul.
Forge, 834

Have you ever thought how you would prepare yourself to receive Our Lord if you could go to Communion only once in your life?
We must be thankful to God that he makes it so easy for us to come to him: but we should show our gratitude by preparing ourselves very well to receive him.
Forge, 828

4. When should we go to Holy Communion?
The Church warmly recommends the faithful to receive Holy Communion when they go to Mass, and requires them to receive it at least once a year.
The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season. But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily.
(Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1388-1389)

Contemplating the mystery
Go to Communion. It doesn’t show lack of respect. Go this very day when you have just got over that “spot of trouble”.
Have you forgotten that Jesus said: “It is not by those who are well, but by those who are sick, that the physician is needed?”
The Way, 536

Build up a gigantic faith in the Holy Eucharist. Be filled with wonder before this ineffable reality! We have God with us; we can receive him every day and, if we want to, we can speak intimately with him, just as we talk with a friend, as we talk with a brother, as we talk with a father, as we talk with Love itself.
The Forge, 268

5. What should we do when we have received Holy Communion?
After receiving Holy Communion we are advised to spend some minutes thanking Jesus for his real presence in our souls. This shows our respect and love. Each of us can find a way of thanking God personally for enabling us to receive him.

Contemplating the mystery
The Holy Spirit does not guide souls collectively, but inspires each one with resolutions, inspirations and affections that will help it to recognize and fulfil the will of the Father. Still, I feel that, on many occasions, the central theme of our conversation with Christ, in our thanksgiving after holy Mass, can be the consideration that our Lord is our king, physician, teacher and friend.
Christ is Passing By, 92

He is our king. He desires ardently to rule our hearts, because we are children of God. But we should not try to imagine a human sort of rule – Christ does not dominate or seek to impose himself, because he “has not come to be served but to serve.”

His kingdom is one of peace, of joy, of justice. Christ our king does not expect us to spend our time in abstract reasoning; he expects deeds, because “not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord! shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven.”

He is our physician, and he heals our selfishness, if we let his grace penetrate to the depths of our soul. Jesus has taught us that the worst sickness is hypocrisy, the pride that leads us to hide our own sins. We have to be totally sincere with him. We have to tell the whole truth, and then we have to say: “Lord, if you will” – and you are always willing – “you can make me clean.” You know my weaknesses; I feel these symptoms; I suffer from these failings. We show him the wound, with simplicity, and if the wound is festering, we show the pus too. Lord, you have cured so many souls; help me to recognize you as the divine physician, when I have you in my heart or when I contemplate your presence in the tabernacle.

He is a teacher, with knowledge that only he possesses – the knowledge of unlimited love for God, and, in God, for all men. In Christ’s teaching we learn that our existence does not belong to us. He gave up his life for all men and, if we follow him, we must understand that we cannot take possession of our own lives in a selfish way, without sharing the sorrows of others. Our life belongs to God. We are here to spend it in his service, concerning ourselves generously with souls, showing, through our words and our example, the extent of the Christian dedication that is expected of us.

Jesus expects us to nourish the desire to acquire this knowledge, so that he can repeat to us: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” And we answer: teach us to forget ourselves, so that we may concern ourselves with you and with all souls. In this way, our Lord will lead us forward with his grace, just as when we were learning to write. Do you remember that childish scrawl, guided by the teacher’s hand? And we will begin to taste the joy of showing our faith, which is yet another gift from God, and showing it with clear strokes of Christian conduct, in which all will be able to read the wonders of God.

He is our friend, the Friend: “I have called you friends,” he says. He calls us his friends; and he is the one who took the first step, because he loved us first. Still, he does not impose his love – he offers it. He shows it with the clearest possible sign: “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends.” He was Lazarus’ friend. He wept for him when he saw him dead, and he raised him from the dead. If he sees us cold, unwilling, rigid perhaps with the stiffness of a dying interior life, his tears will be our life – “I say to you, my friend, arise and walk,” leave that narrow life which is no life at all.
Christ is Passing By, 93
<![CDATA[Visit Rome, following the footsteps of St Josemaría]]> St Josemaria is a good guide to the many places in Rome that he himself visited to draw faith from the witness of the early Christians. This collection reveals the main traces of the history of the Catholic Church that are to be found in Rome, the Eternal City. Download in epub format.]]> <![CDATA[Canonized 9 years after his death]]> Nine years ago today Pope John Paul II died, with a reputation for sanctity, at 21:37 in the papal apartment. Shortly before, in the same room, at 20:00, Msgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz had celebrated the Mass of the following day, Divine Mercy Sunday.

On this anniversary people’s minds turn spontaneously to the last hours the soon-to-be Saint spent on this earth, filled with the ceaseless prayer of the whole Church, represented by the thousands of faithful who had gathered in St Peter’s Square to accompany the Pope.

John Paul II canonized more saints than any other Pope. One of them was St Josemaria. Moreover, Pope John Paul II talked about St Josemaria several times, including just a month before his death, in a speech to a group of university lecturers and students who had come to Rome for a congress. He said: “As you know, the vocation of the lay faithful is to aim for holiness, imbuing the things of this world with the Christian spirit. So for you too, dear university lecturers and students, as St Josemaria used to say, work, and study, have to be ‘a constant prayer. It has the same lovable words, but a different tune each day. It is very much our mission to transform the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse’ (St Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, 500).

Forthcoming canonization
The imminent canonization of John Paul II, together with John XXIII, brings to mind his reputation for holiness when he died (“Santo subito!” was the message on many banners, in the days following his death).
The Vatican has published some details of the ceremony to be held on 27 April in St Peter’s Square. Holy Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis, and it is hoped that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will also take part, since, said Father Lombardi, “He will certainly have been invited, but there is still a month to go. We will just have to wait and see.”

Two people whose cures are attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Paul II will be present at the ceremony: Floribeth Mora from Costa Rica, and the French Religious Sister Marie Simon-Pierre.
Entry to St Peter’s Square is free, and St Peter’s Basilica will be open in the evening of 27 April so that pilgrims can pray before the tombs of the two new Saints.

On Saturday 26 April eleven churches in Rome will be open from 21:00 onwards, so that pilgrims can pray and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Passages from the preaching and writing of the two Popes will be read for meditation in different languages, to make their lives and message known still more widely.
The Vatican is setting up an official website for the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII:

Additionally, accounts and/or channels have been opened on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. A mobile app, “Santo Subito”, is being launched, offering texts and other material to help people follow the canonization ceremony, and news about the canonization.
33 television cameras and 9 satellites will enable millions of people to follow the canonization of the two Popes from their own homes. For this event, the Vatican Television Centre is working together with Sky, Sony, Eutelsat, Globecast, DBW Communication, Nexo Digital, and other companies.
500 cinemas in 20 countries such as Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, the UK and the USA will be showing the ceremony live.
See Rome Reports video.]]>
<![CDATA[Pope issues first Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium]]> Pope Francis has issued his first Apostolic Exhortation on Tuesday, Evangelii Gaudium, translated into English as The Joy of the Gospel. The 224-page document outlines the Pope’s vision for a missionary Church, whose “doors should always be open”.]]> <![CDATA[Before I finished the novena]]> I did the Novena for Work and before I finished it my nephew got a job. We are thanking Saint Josemaria Escriva. Now my sister and her son are full of gratitude because I sent them the novena with the prayer to Saint Josemaria. Thank-you, God!]]> <![CDATA[Eight months]]> I would like to give thanks for favors granted through St. Josemaria’s intercession. I was looking for a job for eight months, then I did the Novena for Work and kept praying it, because I had spent several years doing very badly-paid jobs. After constant, trusting prayer I got a good job, and bless God for it every day, because thanks to that I am able to support my family. Thank you!]]> <![CDATA[A healthy grandson]]> I give endless thanks to Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer for hearing my prayers once again and sending me a wonderful healthy grandson. I had been praying for this for a long time. Fill him with God’s blessings, Saint Josemaria, look after him and protect him. A thousand thanks!]]> <![CDATA[1967.4.24]]> Saint Josemaría said: “We have an obligation to ensure that every day there are fewer poor people in the world, fewer uneducated people, fewer people [...]]]> <![CDATA[Pope's Urbi et Orbi blessing. He prays for peace in Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria]]> Video. Rome Reports. Before giving his Urbi et Orbi blessing, the Pope prayed for peace in the world. "Help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible,” he said.]]> <![CDATA[The Mass in the Christian life]]> Gavin Dixon, a parishoner of Our Lady of Peace in Dublin, talks about why the Holy Mass is important to him.]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> Prayercard to St Josemaria Escriva]]> <![CDATA[Confession]]> In this video, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo encourages us to go to Confession frequently and to invite other people to Confession, following St. Josemaria's teachings.]]> <![CDATA[Christian Joy]]> Video. The founder of Opus Dei, in Valencia, Spain, explains that deep joy is the result of fighting against ourselves. ]]>