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 http://www.josemariaescriva.info/ <![CDATA[The Holy Rosary]]> Take the Holy Rosary, one of the most deeply rooted of Christian devotions. The Church encourages us to contemplate its mysteries. She wants to engrave upon our heart and our imagination, together with Mary's joy and sorrow and glory, the spellbinding example of Our Lord's life, in his thirty years of obscurity, his three years of preaching, his ignominious Passion and his glorious Resurrection.
Friends of God, 299

A powerful weapon
The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you will be amazed at the results.
The Way, 558

Develop a lively devotion for Our Mother. She knows how to respond in a most sensitive way to the presents we give her.
What is more, if you say the Holy Rosary every day, with a spirit of faith and love, Our Lady will make sure she leads you very far along her Son's path.
Furrow, 691

That apparently monotonous
For those who use their intelligence and their study as a weapon, the Rosary is most effective. Because that apparently monotonous way of beseeching Our Lady as children do their Mother, can destroy every seed of vainglory and pride.
Furrow, 474

“Immaculate Virgin, I know very well that I am only a miserable wretch, and all I do is increase each day the number of my sins...” You told me the other day that was how you spoke to Our Mother.
And I was confident in advising you with assurance to pray the Holy Rosary. Blessed be that monotony of Hail Marys which purifies the monotony of your sins!
Furrow, 475

You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it. It will, moreover, help you to have presence of God.
Furrow, 478

A crown of praises
The Holy Rosary: the joys, the sorrows, and the glories of the life of Our Lady weave a crown of praises, repeated ceaselessly by the Angels and the Saints in Heaven–and by those who love our Mother here on earth.
Practice this holy devotion every day, and spread it.
The Forge, 621

Upon this living fabric of our Christian faith are woven in the vocal prayers, like jewels. Some are of divine composition: Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. There is as well that crown of praise to God and to our Mother, the Holy Rosary, and then so many other acclamations, full of devotion, that fellow Christians, our brothers in the faith, have recited from the very earliest times.
Friends of God, 248

...What are the Hail Mary and the Angelus if not loving praises of her divine Motherhood? And when we say the Holy Rosary, which is a wonderful devotion which I will never tire of recommending to Christians everywhere, our minds and hearts go over the mysteries of Mary's admirable life which are, at the same time, the fundamental mysteries of our faith.
Friends of God, 290]]>
<![CDATA[Thanks to St. Josemaria for bringing me to the catholic faith]]> Through knowing the Catholic Faith I decided to become a Catholic.

Meeting Christ and Learning the Catholic faith

My first encounter with Christ was when I was studying in a Christian primary school in Macau. I joined some Christian spiritual activities because of some difficulties, disappointments, and a feeling of being lost in life. By believing in Christ, I gathered enough courage and perseverance to move ahead daily.

During my pre-university studies, I happen to meet a person named Joseph, who is a member of Opus Dei. This is the start of my knowing about Opus Dei. It became the seed for me to journey into the Catholic Faith.

With guidance from Opus Dei, I have decided to become a Catholic

I felt that in my previous faith as a Christian, it was not substantial enough, and felt some things were missing. I was fortunate to have contact with people of Opus Dei. In the year 2013, I became a Cooperator of Opus Dei in Macau. Through the guidance of Fr. Mandia, Joseph and Tony, I received a deeper knowledge of the Catholic faith. For example, I learned that the church originated from the first disciples of Christ. Also, how to pray and most especially, the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. I learned about Confession and The Way of the Cross, too.

Moreover, I felt very at ease with the spiritual guidance I was receiving, and I resolved to become a Catholic. I am very thankful to the people of Opus Dei because I was baptized at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Macau in April 2014. I will follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ in trying to love people, having a spirit of sacrifice, and always be kindhearted. I can definitely say that to be a Catholic my life will be more wonderful, happy and meaningful.

To sanctify oneself and help the family, relatives and friends to get closer to God

This is what I learned through the guidance of Opus Dei: that I can be united with Christ through sanctifying myself. In learning Catholic doctrine, it will bring my profession, family life, and the education of children in closer union with Christ. My aim is to glorify God, and do what Jesus wants of me. For example, that we should live in the way Jesus lived, such as being humble, to offer sacrifice to God, and to sanctify our work. In June 2009, I became a father. I experienced for the first time the love between a father and a child. Indirectly, I experienced the love of God for me.

Last, but not least, in order to be more effective for me to bring my relatives and friends towards God, I would need to go through more doctrine classes and recollections. We can also do apostolate with other people to spread the Gospel of the Lord, with the help of the people of Opus Dei, so as to let them know about God the Father.
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<![CDATA[Working with love]]> Do everything for love

You are ambitious: for knowledge, for leadership, for great ventures.
Good. Very good. But let it be for Christ, for Love.
The Way, no. 24

Do everything for Love. Thus there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in little things for Love is heroism.
The Way, no. 813


If you are faithful you will conquer

If you are faithful you will be able to count yourself a conqueror.
Even though you may lose some battles in your life, you will not know defeat. You can be sure that there is no such thing as failure, if you act with purity of intention and with a desire to fulfil the Will of God.
And then, whether you win or lose, you will always triumph in the end, because you will have carried out your work with Love.
The Forge, no. 199

I have seen many people live heroic lives for God without leaving their own place of work, and I have come to this conclusion: for a Catholic work is not just a matter of fulfilling a duty – it is to love: to excel oneself gladly in duty and in sacrifice.
Furrow, no. 527

Go about your professional duties for Love’s sake. Do everything for the sake of Love and (precisely because you are in love, even though you may taste the bitterness of misunderstanding, of injustice, of ingratitude and even of failure in men’s eyes) you will see the result in the wonders that your work produces – rich, abundant fruit, the promise of eternity!
Friends of God, no. 68

You have had the good fortune to find real teachers, authentic friends, who have taught you everything you wanted to know without holding back. You have had no need to employ any tricks to steal their knowledge, because they led you along the easiest path, even though it had cost them a lot of hard work and suffering to discover it... Now it is your turn to do the same, with one person, and another – with everyone!
Furrow, no. 733

Place on your desk, in your room, in your wallet... a picture of Our Lady, and look at it when you begin your work, while you are doing it, and when you finish it. She will obtain, I assure you, the strength for you to turn your task into a loving dialogue with God.
Furrow, no. 531


To contribute to the well-being of others

Human service and technique, our knowledge of our job, should have a feature which was basic to St Joseph’s work and should be so for every Christian: the spirit of service, the desire to contribute to the well-being of other people. Joseph’s work was not self-centred, even though his active life made him a strong and forceful personality. When he worked, he was aware that he was carrying out God’s will; he was thinking of his people, of Jesus and Mary, and of everyone in Nazareth.
Joseph was one of the few craftsmen in Nazareth, if not the only one – a carpenter perhaps. But, as normally happens in villages, he must have felt called upon to turn his attention to other things: fixing a mill that was not working or, with the coming of winter, repairing the tiles of a roof. I am sure Joseph knew how to lend a hand in many difficulties, with work well done. His skilled work was in the service of others, to brighten the lives of other families in the town; and with a smile, a friendly word, a passing quip, he would restore confidence and happiness to those in danger of losing them.
Christ is Passing By, no 51

When you start out each day to work by Christ’s side and to look after all those souls who seek him, remember that there is only one way of doing it: we must turn to the Lord.
Only in prayer, and through prayer, do we learn to serve others!
The Forge, no. 72

Some people act out of prejudice in their work: on principle they trust nobody, and it goes without saying that they do not understand the need to seek to sanctify their job. If you mention it to them they tell you not to add another burden to their own work, which they put up with reluctantly as if they were supporting a heavy weight.
That is one of the battles of peace we have to win: to find God in our work and, with Him and like Him, serve others.
Furrow, 520

Those who enjoy privilege thanks to money, ancestry, rank, position or intelligence... and abuse it by humiliating those who are less fortunate, show that they are fatuous and proud.
Furrow, no. 702

We are not good brothers to our fellow men if we are not ready to continue behaving correctly, even when those around us may interpret our actions badly or react in an unpleasant manner.
The Forge, no. 460

You too have a professional vocation which spurs you on. Well, that spur is the hook to fish for men.
Rectify your intention, then, and be sure you acquire the highest professional standing you can for the service of God and of souls. The Lord counts on this too.
Furrow, no. 491

As a student, you should dedicate yourself to your books with an apostolic spirit, and be convinced in your heart that one hour added to another already make up – even now! – a spiritual sacrifice offered to God and profitable for all mankind, your country and your soul.
Furrow, no. 522

If we look at ourselves humbly, we will see clearly that, in addition to his gift of faith, Our Lord has also granted us a number of talents and qualities. None of us has been mass-produced. Our Father has created us one by one and shared out different goods among his children. It is up to us to use these talents, these qualities, in the service of all men. We are called to use the gifts God has given us as instruments to help others discover Christ.
Friends of God, no. 258


Sow peace by working

For the love of God, for the love of souls, and to live up to our Christian vocation, we must set a good example. So as not to give scandal, or to provoke even the faintest suspicion that the children of God are soft and useless, so as not to disedify..., you must strive to show an example of balanced justice, to behave properly as responsible men. The farmer who ploughs his field while constantly raising his heart to God, just as much as the carpenter, the blacksmith, the office worker, the academic – all Christians in fact – have to be an example for their colleagues at work. And this without conceit, since we realise very clearly in our hearts that only with God’s help can we secure the victory, for by ourselves alone we could not even lift a piece of straw from the ground. Therefore, everyone, in his job, in whatever place he has in society, must feel obliged to make his work God’s work, sowing everywhere the peace and joy of the Lord. ‘The perfect Christian is always a bearer of peace and joy. Peace, because he realises he is in the presence of God; joy, because he sees himself surrounded by God’s blessings. Such a Christian is truly a royal personage, a holy priest of God.’
Friends of God, no. 70

I don’t doubt your good intentions. I know that you act in the presence of God. But (and there is a ‘but’), your actions are witnessed or may be witnessed by men who judge by human standards... And you must set them a good example.
The Way, no. 275

But don’t forget that you are also in the presence of men, and that they expect from you, from you personally, a Christian witness. Thus, as regards the human aspect of our job, we must work in such a way that we will not feel ashamed when those who know us and love us see us at our work, nor give them cause to feel embarrassed. If you work in the spirit that I am trying to teach you, you will not embarrass those who rely on you, nor will you have any cause to blush. You will not be like the man in the parable who set out to build a tower: ‘When he had laid the foundations and was unable to finish, all who beheld him began to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish”.’
Friends of God, no. 66


All the glory for God

I advise you not to look for praise, even when you deserve it. It is better to pass unnoticed, and to let the most beautiful and noble aspects of our actions, of our lives, remain hidden. What a great thing it is to become little! Deo omnis gloria! All the glory to God!
The Forge, no. 1051

Give ‘all’ the glory to God. ‘Squeeze’ out each one of your actions with your will aided by grace, so that there remains in them nothing that smacks of human pride, of self-complacency.
The Way, no. 784

Children... How they seek to behave worthily in the presence of their parents.
And the children of kings, in the presence of their father the king, how they seek to uphold the royal dignity!
And you? Don’t you realize that you are always in the presence of the great King, God, your Father?
The Way, no. 265

We will dedicate all the exertions of our life, great and small, to the honour of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
I am moved when I recall the work of those brilliant professionals – two engineers and two architects – cheerfully moving furniture into a student residence. When they had put a blackboard into a classroom, the first thing those four artists wrote was: Deo omnis gloria! All the glory to God!
Jesus, I know that this pleased you greatly.
The Forge, no. 611

Any job, no matter how hidden, no matter how insignificant, when offered to the Lord, is charged with the strength of God’s life!
The Forge, no. 49

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<![CDATA[Prayer to St. John Paul II]]> On October 22, the Church celebrate St. John Paul II`s feast. Download the prayer-card to request favors through his intercession.]]> <![CDATA[We walk a path together]]>

(VIS). At the end of the fifteenth and final general congregation, and after the votes had been cast, Pope Francis addressed the Synod Fathers, affirming that during these two weeks the participants in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly have truly experienced synodality, a path of solidarity, a “journey together”.

However, Pope Francis observed, as in every journey there were moments of travelling smoothly and swiftly, as if wishing to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible, and moments of fatigue, of wanting to say “enough”, and at other times, moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and pains of the faithful; moments of consolation, grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and joy of married life. It is a journey during which the stronger are compelled to help those who are less strong, and the more experienced lend themselves to serve others, also through debate.

He continued by remarking that since it is a journey taken by human beings, there have also been moments of disappointment, tension and temptation, of which he gave five examples. The first is the temptation to hostile inflexibility, closing oneself within the written word, the letter of the law, rather than the spirit, not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, and cleaving to the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. This, he said, is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and the so-called “traditionalists and intellectuals.

Then there is the temptation of “do-goodism”, that in the name of deceptive mercy binds wounds without first treating and healing them; that addresses symptoms rather than causes and roots. It is the temptation of do-gooders, of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals”.

The third temptation is to transform stones into bread to break the long, hard, and painful fast; and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick; to transform it into unbearable burdens. The fourth is the temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, rather than remaining there in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and turning it to the Spirit of God. Finally, there is the temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei”, thinking of ourselves not as guardians but as its owners or masters; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous and pompous language to say much yet at the same time to say nothing.

However, the Holy Father commented these temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, as no disciple is greater than his master, so if Jesus Himself was tempted, and even called Beelzebul, then His disciples should not expect better treatment. He added that he would be worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions, this movement of the spirits, as it was called by St. Ignatius; if all were in a state of agreement or silent in false, quietist peace.

Instead, he expressed his joy at having heard speeches and interventions full of faith, pastoral and doctrinal zeal, wisdom, frankness, courage, and parrhesia, since what was set before the eyes of the Synod Fathers was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law”, the “salus animarum”. This occurred without ever calling into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage, its indissolubility, unity, faithfulness, fruitfulness, and openness to life.

Pope Francis went on to emphasise that the Church is the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on wounds; who does not regard humanity from a glass house, ready to judge or categorise people. The Church is one, holy, Catholic, apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God's mercy. The Church is the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine; she is not afraid to dine and drink with prostitutes and publicans. Her doors are wide open to receive the needy, the repentant, and not only those who consider themselves perfect. The Church is not ashamed of the brother who has fallen, pretending not to see him, but on the contrary is involved and obliged to lift him up and set him on the path again, accompanying him to the definitive encounter with her spouse, in heavenly Jerusalem.

This, he continued, is the Church, our Mother. And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. This should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.
Many commentators have imagined that they see a quarrelsome Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners. The Pope emphasised the need to live through all this calmly and with inner peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro, with the presence of the Pope as a guarantee for all.

The duty of the Pope, he remarked, is to guarantee the unity of the Church, to remind the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow Christ's Gospel and to remind the pastors that their first duty is to nurture the flock that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek the lost sheep with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears. His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, when he stated that the Church is called and commits herself to exercising this kind of authority which is service … not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ ... through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community.

As the Council stated, the Church's role is to ensure that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free. It is through us, Pope Benedict continues, that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord; this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant, gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope.

Therefore, said the Pontiff, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – “Il servus servorum Dei”, the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, setting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful and despite enjoying supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church.

Finally, Francis reminded those present that there remains a year before the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in which to develop, with true spiritual discernment, the ideas that have been proposed, and to find concrete solutions to many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families. There is a year to work on the “Relatio Synodi”, the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. He concluded by asking the Lord to accompany and guide all the participants in the Synod in their journey.]]>
<![CDATA[10 questions about marriage]]> St Josemaria answers ten questions about love, marriage, engagement, faithfulness, raising children, the main values in achieving a united family, what happens when a couple can’t have children…


1- What are the most important values in Christian marriage?

2- Father, what is your advice for a newly-wed couple seeking holiness?

3- The theory that love justifies everything is current today and as a result, engagement is looked upon by some people as a sort of ‘trial marriage’. People say that it is hypocritical and reactionary not to follow what they consider to be imperative demands of love. What do you think of this attitude?

4- What would you advise married women to do to ensure that their marriages continue to be happy with the passing of the years and that they do not give way to boredom? This question may not seem very important, but it is one asked by many people.

5- Disagreements between husband and wife are also frequent and sometimes they seriously upset family peace. What advice would you give to married couples in this respect?

6- Many married couples find themselves confused regarding the number of children that they should have. What advice would you give them?

7- There are some women who are afraid to tell their friends and relations that they are going to have another child. They fear the criticism of those who think that large families are old-fashioned. What would you say to us on the subject?

8- The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

9- The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

10- You have just spoken about family unity as a great value. In the light of this fact, how is it that Opus Dei does not organize activities of spiritual formation for husbands and wives together?

Questions et réponses

1. What are the most important values in Christian marriage?

The majority of the members of Opus Dei are married people, so in this field I can speak from the experience of many years of priestly activity in many countries. For the married members of Opus Dei human love and marriage duties are part of their divine vocation. Opus Dei has made of marriage a divine way, a vocation, and this has many consequences for personal holiness and for apostolate. I have spent almost forty years preaching the vocational meaning of marriage. More than once I have had occasion to see faces light up as men and women, who had thought that in their lives a dedication to God was incompatible with a noble and pure human love, heard me say that marriage is a divine path on earth!

The purpose of marriage is to help married people sanctify themselves and others. For this reason they receive a special grace in the sacrament which Jesus Christ instituted. Those who are called to the married state will, with the grace of God, find within their state everything they need to be holy, to identify themselves each day more with Jesus Christ, and to lead those with whom they live to God.

That is why I always look upon Christian homes with hope and affection, upon all the families which are the fruit of the Sacrament of Matrimony. They are a shining witness of the great divine mystery of Christ’s loving union with His Church which St. Paul calls sacramentum magnum, a great sacrament (Eph 5:32). We must strive so that these cells of Christianity may be born and may develop with a desire for holiness, conscious of the fact that the Sacrament of Initiation — Baptism — confers on all Christians a divine mission that each must fulfill in his or her own walk of life.

Christian couples should be aware that they are called to sanctity themselves and to sanctify others, that they are called to be apostles and that their first apostolate is in the home. They should understand that founding a family, educating their children, and exercising a Christian influence in society, are supernatural tasks. The effectiveness and the success of their life — their happiness — depends to a great extent on their awareness of their specific mission.

But they mustn’t forget that the secret of married happiness lies in everyday things, not in daydreams. It lies in finding the hidden joy of coming home in the evening, in affectionate relations with their children, in the everyday work in which the whole family cooperates; in good humor in the face of difficulties that should be met with a sporting spirit; in making the best use of all the advantages that civilization offers to help us rear children, to make the house pleasant and life more simple.

I constantly tell those who have been called by God to form a home to love one another always, to love each other with the love of their youth. Anyone who thinks that love ends when the worries and difficulties that life brings with it begin, has a poor idea of marriage, which is a sacrament and an ideal and a vocation. It is precisely then that love grows strong. Torrents of worries and difficulties are incapable of drowning true love, because people who sacrifice themselves generously together are brought closer by their sacrifice. As Scripture says, aquae multae, a host of difficulties, physical and moral, non potuerunt extinguere caritatem, cannot extinguish love (Cant 8:7).

Conversations, 91


2. Father, what is your advice for a newly-wed couple seeking holiness?

First, love each other very much, in accordance with God’s law. Second, don’t be afraid of life; love each other’s defects as long as they don’t offend God; and, for the wife: don’t neglect the way you look, because you’re no longer your own! You’ve been told, and you know it’s true, that you belong to your husband, and he belongs to you. Don’t let anyone steal him from you! He is a soul who should go to Heaven with you, and what’s more, who should give real Christian quality, and human quality, to the children God sends you. Pray together. Not a lot, but a little every day. When you forget, he can remind you, and when he forgets, you remind him. Don’t scold him when he does something wrong, and don’t nag.
Colegio Tabancura, Chile, July 1974


3. The theory that love justifies everything is current today and as a result, engagement is looked upon by some people as a sort of ‘trial marriage’. People say that it is hypocritical and reactionary not to follow what they consider to be imperative demands of love. What do you think of this attitude?

Any decent person, and especially a Christian, would consider it an attitude unworthy of men. It debases human love, confusing it with selfishness and pleasure.

Reactionary? Who are the reactionaries? The real reactionaries are the people who go back to the jungle, recognizing no impulse other than instinct. Engagement should be time for growing in affection and for getting to know each other better. As in every school of love, it should be inspired, not by a desire to receive, but by a spirit of giving, of understanding, of respect and gentle consideration. Just over a year ago, with this in mind, I gave the University of Navarra a statue of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, so that the undergraduates who study there might learn from her the nobility of love, human love included.

A trial marriage? How little anyone who uses the term knows about love! Love is a much surer, more real, more human reality. It cannot be treated as a commercial product that is tested and then accepted or rejected on the basis of whim, comfort and interest.

This lack of moral standards is so pitiful that it does not even seem necessary to condemn people who think or act in this way. They condemn themselves to the barrenness, the sadness, the desolate loneliness they will suffer within a very few years. I never stop praying for them, loving them with all my heart and trying to make them understand that the way back to Christ is always open. They can be saints, upright Christians, if they make an effort. They will lack neither the necessary grace nor our Lord’s pardon. Only then will they really understand love — divine Love and also noble human love. And only then will they experience peace, happiness and fruitfulness.

Conversations, 91


4. What would you advise married women to do to ensure that their marriages continue to be happy with the passing of the years and that they do not give way to boredom? This question may not seem very important, but it is one asked by many people.

I think it is in fact an important question and therefore the possible solutions are also important even though they may seem very obvious. If a marriage is to preserve its initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day, and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity. Is it surprising that a husband who arrives home tired from work begins to lose patience when his wife keeps on and on about everything she thinks has gone wrong during the day? Disagreeable things can wait for a better moment when the husband is less tired and more disposed to listen to them.

Another important thing is personal appearance. And I would say that any priest who says the contrary is a bad adviser. As years go by a woman who lives in the world has to take more care not only of her interior life, but also of her looks. Her interior life itself requires her to be careful about her personal appearance; naturally this should always be in keeping with her age and circumstances. I often say jokingly that older facades need more restoration. It is the advice of a priest. An old Spanish saying goes: ‘A well-groomed woman keeps her husband away from other doors.’

That is why I am not afraid to say that women are responsible for eighty per cent of the infidelities of their husbands because they do not know how to win them each day and take loving and considerate care of them. A married woman’s attention should be centered on her husband and children, as a married man’s attention should be centered on his wife and children. Much time and effort is required to succeed in this, and anything which militates against it is bad and should not be tolerated.

There is no excuse for not fulfilling this lovable duty. Work outside the home is not an excuse. Not even one’s life of piety can be an excuse, because if it is incompatible with one’s daily obligations, it is not good, nor pleasing to God. A married woman’s first concern has to be her home. There is a Spanish saying which goes: ‘If through going to church to pray a woman burns the stew, she may be half an angel, but she’s half a devil too.’ I’d say she was a fully-fledged devil.

Conversations, 107


5. Disagreements between husband and wife are also frequent and sometimes they seriously upset family peace. What advice would you give to married couples in this respect?

I would advise them to love one another and to realize that although disagreements and difficulties will crop up throughout their lives, if they are solved with ordinary common sense they can even contribute to the deepening of their love.

We each have our own character, our personal tastes, our moods — sometimes our bad moods — and our defects. But we all have likeable aspects in our personality as well, and for this reason, and many others, everyone can be loved. It is possible to live happily together when everyone tries to correct their own defects and makes an effort to overlook the faults of others. That is to say, when there is love which cancels out and overcomes everything that might seem to be a motive for coldness or disagreement. On the other hand, if husband and wife dramatize their little differences and reproach each other for their defects and mistakes, they put an end to peace and run the risk of killing their love.

Couples have the grace of the married state — the grace they receive in the Sacrament of Marriage — which enables them to live out all the human and Christian virtues in their married life: understanding, good humor, patience, forgiveness, good manners and consideration in their mutual relations. The important thing is not to give up the effort, not to give in to irritation, pride or personal fads or obsessions. In order to achieve this, husbands and wives must develop their interior life and learn from the Holy Family the best way to practice the virtues of a Christian home, for both supernatural and human reasons. I repeat again that God’s grace will not be lacking.

Anyone who says they cannot put up with this or that, or finds it impossible to hold their peace, is exaggerating in order to justify themselves. We should ask God for the strength to overcome our whims and to practice self-control. When we lose our temper, we lose control of the situation. Words can become harsh and bitter, and we end up by offending, wounding and hurting, even though we didn’t mean to.

We should all learn to keep quiet, to wait and say things in a positive, optimistic way. When her husband loses his temper, the moment has arrived for the wife to be especially patient until he calms down, and vice versa. If there is true love and a real desire to deepen it, it will very rarely happen that the two give in to bad temper at the same time.

Another very important thing is to get used to the fact that we are never a hundred per cent right. In fact one can say that in matters like these, which are usually so debatable, the surer we are of being completely right, the more doubtful it is that we really are.

Following this line of reasoning makes it easier to correct oneself later on and if necessary to beg pardon, which is the best way of ending a quarrel. In this way peace and love are regained. I am not encouraging you to quarrel but it is understandable that we should fall out at times with those we love most, because they are the people we are always with. We are not going to fall out with someone in Timbuktu! Thus small rows between husband and wife, as long as they are not too frequent, (and they should see to it that they are not) are not a sign that love is lacking; and in fact they can help to increase it.

Finally, I would advise parents never to quarrel in front of their children. They can remind each other of this with a certain word, a look or a gesture. If they cannot avoid the argument altogether they can, at least, put it off till later when they are calmer. The family atmosphere should be one of peace between husband and wife because peace is a necessary condition for deep and effective character training. Children should see in their parents an example of dedication, sincere love, mutual help and understanding. The small trifles of daily life should not be allowed to hide from them the reality of a love that is capable of overcoming all obstacles.

Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Each of us gets angry now and again. Sometimes because it is necessary; other times because we lack a spirit of mortification. The important thing is to show, with a smile that restores family warmth, that these outbursts of anger do not destroy affection. In a word, the lives of husband and wife should consist in loving one another and loving their children, because by doing this they love God.

Conversations, 108


6. Many married couples find themselves confused regarding the number of children that they should have. What advice would you give them?

Married couples should remember, when they receive advice and recommendations on this matter, that what they have to do is to discover what God wants of them. With sincerity, a right intention, and a minimum of Christian formation, our conscience knows how to discover God’s will in this sphere as in others. There are cases in which we seek advice that will favor our own selfishness, and suppress with its apparent authority the voice of our inner convictions. Then we even go from adviser to adviser until we find a ‘benevolent’ one. This is a pharisaical attitude which is unworthy of a child of God.

The advice of another Christian and especially a priest’s advice, in questions of faith or morals, is a powerful help for knowing what God wants of us in our particular circumstances. Advice, however, does not eliminate personal responsibility. In the end, it is we ourselves, each one of us on our own, who have to decide for ourselves and personally to account to God for our decisions.

Over and above any private advice stands God’s law, which is contained in sacred Scripture, guarded and taught by the Magisterium of the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. When a particular piece of advice contradicts God’s word as taught by the Magisterium, we have to reject it decisively. God will give His grace to those who act with an upright intention. He will inspire them as to what to do and, when necessary, He will enable them to find a priest who knows how to lead their souls along pure and right paths even though at times they may be difficult ones.

Spiritual guidance should not be used to turn people into beings with no judgment of their own, who limit themselves to carrying out mechanically what others tell them. On the contrary, it should tend to develop men with their own Christian standards. This requires maturity, firm convictions, sufficient doctrinal knowledge, a refined spirit and an educated will.

It is important for married people to acquire a clear sense of the dignity of their vocation. They must know that they have been called by God not only to human love but also to a divine love, through their human love. It is important for them to realize that they have been chosen from all eternity to cooperate with the creative power of God by having and then bringing up children. Our Lord asks them to make their home and their entire family life a testimony of all the Christian virtues.

I shall never tire of repeating that marriage is a great and marvelous divine path. Like everything divine in us, it calls for response to grace, generosity, dedication and service. Selfishness, in whatever shape or form, is opposed to the love of God which ought to govern our lives. This is a fundamental point which one must always bear in mind with regard to marriage and the number of children.

Conversations, 93


7. There are some women who are afraid to tell their friends and relations that they are going to have another child. They fear the criticism of those who think that large families are old-fashioned. What would you say to us on the subject?

I bless parents who, joyfully accepting the mission that God entrusts to them, have many children. Moreover, I ask married couples not to block the well-springs of life and I invite them to have enough supernatural outlook and courage to bring up a large family, if it is God’s will.

When I praise large families, I do not refer to those which are the result of mere physiological relations. I refer to families founded on the practice of human virtues, which have a high regard for personal dignity and know that giving children to God consists not only of engendering their natural life but also undertaking the lengthy task of raising them. Giving them life comes first, but it is not everything.

There may be particular cases in which God’s will, which shows itself in ordinary ways, is precisely that a family be small. Nevertheless, the theories that make birth control an ideal, or a universal or general duty, are criminal, anti-Christian and humanly degrading.

To appeal to a presumed post-conciliar spirit opposed to large families would be to adulterate and pervert Christian doctrine. The Second Vatican Council has proclaimed that ‘especially worthy of mention among the married people who fulfill the mission entrusted to them by God, are those who, with prudent mutual agreement, generously accept a more numerous offspring to educate worthily’ (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 50). Moreover, Pope Paul VI, in an address on 12 February 1966, commented ‘that the recently concluded Second Vatican Council should diffuse among Christian couples a spirit of generosity in order to increase the new People of God... that they should always remember that this expansion of God’s kingdom and the possibilities of the Church’s penetration among mankind in order to bring about eternal salvation and the salvation of the world are also entrusted to their generosity’.

The number is not in itself the decisive factor. The fact of having few or many children does not on its own make a family more or less Christian. What matters is the integrity and honesty with which married life is lived. True mutual love transcends the union of husband and wife and extends to its natural fruits — the children. Selfishness, on the contrary, sooner or later reduces love to a mere satisfaction of instinct and destroys the bond which unites parents and children.

I was saying that, in itself, the number of children is not a decisive factor. Nevertheless, I see clearly that attacks on large families stem from a lack of Faith. They are the product of a social atmosphere which is incapable of understanding generosity, trying to conceal selfishness, and unmentionable practices under apparently altruistic motives. Paradoxically, the countries where most birth control propaganda is found, and which impose birth control on other countries, are the very ones which have attained a higher standard of living. Perhaps their economic and social arguments in favor of birth control could be taken more seriously if they led them to give away a sizeable part of their great wealth to those in need.

Until then it will be hard not to think that the real motive behind their arguments is hedonism and ambition for political domination, for demographic neo-colonialism.

I am not unaware of the great problems facing humanity, nor of the actual difficulties which a particular family can confront. I often think of this and my fatherly heart, which I have to have as a Christian and as a priest, is filled with compassion. Nevertheless, it is not lawful to look for the solution in this direction.

Conversations, 94


8. The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

In the first place I would tell them that they should not give up hope too easily. They should ask God to give them children and, if it is His Will, to bless them as He blessed the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. And then it would be good for both of them to see a good doctor. If in spite of everything God does not give them children, they should not regard themselves as being thwarted. They should be happy, discovering in this very fact God’s Will for them. Often God does not give children because He is asking them for something more.
God asks them to put the same effort and the same kind and gentle dedication into helping their neighbors as they would have put into raising their children, without the human joy that comes from having children. There is, then, no reason for feeling they are failures or for giving way to sadness.

If the married couple have interior life, they will understand that God is urging them to make their lives a generous Christian service, a different apostolate from the one they would have fulfilled with their children, but an equally marvelous one.

If they look around they will discover people who need help, charity and love. There are, moreover, many apostolic tasks in which they can work. If they give themselves generously to others and forget themselves, if they put their hearts into their work, they will be wonderfully fruitful and will experience a spiritual parenthood that will fill their souls with true peace.

The particular way of doing this may vary in each case, but in the last analysis it is a matter of being concerned for others with a sense of loving service. God, who always rewards, will fill with a deep joy those souls who have had the generous humility of not thinking of themselves.

Conversations, 96

9. There are couples who separate, in degrading and unbearable conditions. In these cases it is difficult for them to accept the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Those who find themselves in these situations complain that they are denied the possibility of building a new home. What answer would you give to people in such a situation?

While understanding their suffering, I would tell them that they can also see in their situation God’s Will, which is never cruel, for God is a loving Father. The situation may be especially difficult for some time, but if they go to our Lord and His blessed Mother, they will receive the help of grace.

The indissolubility of marriage is not a caprice of the Church nor is it merely a positive ecclesiastical law. It is a precept of natural law, of divine law, and responds perfectly to our nature and to the supernatural order of grace. For these reasons, in the great majority of cases, indissolubility is an indispensable condition for the happiness of married couples and for the spiritual security of their children. Even in the very sad cases we are talking about, the humble acceptance of God’s Will always brings with it a profound sense of satisfaction that nothing can substitute. It is not merely a refuge, or a consolation, it is the very essence of Christian life.

If women who are separated from their husbands have children in their care, they should understand that their children continue to need their loving motherly devotion, and especially now, to make up for the deficiencies of a divided home. They should make a generous effort to understand that indissolubility, which for them means sacrifice, is a safeguard for the integrity and unity of the great majority of families and ennobles the parent’s love and prevents the abandonment of the children.

Surprise at the apparent hardness of the Christian precept of indissolubility is nothing new. The Apostles were surprised when Jesus confirmed it. It can seem a burden, a yoke, but Christ Himself said that His yoke was sweet and his burden light.

On the other hand, although recognizing the inevitable hardship of a good many situations, which often could and should have been avoided, we should be careful not to overdramatize. Is the life of a woman in these circumstances really harder than that of other maltreated women, or of people who suffer any of the other great physical or mental sorrows that life brings with it?

What really makes a person unhappy and even destroys a whole society is the frenzied search for well-being and the attempt to eliminate, at all costs, all difficulties and hardships. Life has many facets, very different situations. Some are harsh, others may seem easy. Each situation brings its own grace. Each one is a special call from God, a new opportunity to work and to give the divine testimony of Charity. I would advise those who feel oppressed by a difficult situation to try to forget about their own problems a bit and concern themselves with the problems of others. If they do this they will have more peace and, above all, they will sanctify themselves.

Conversations, 97


10. You have just spoken about family unity as a great value. In the light of this fact, how is it that Opus Dei does not organize activities of spiritual formation for husbands and wives together?

In this, as in so many other aspects of life, Christians can choose different solutions in accordance with their own preferences or opinions, and no one may impose an exclusive system upon them. We would flee like the plague from that approach to pastoral work and the apostolate in general which seems to be no more than a revised and enlarged edition, in religious life, of the one party system.

I know that there are Catholic groups that organize retreats and other formative activities for married couples. I have no objection whatever to their doing what they think is best nor to people taking part in their activities if they find that they help them live their Christian vocation better. But I do not consider this to be the only way of doing things and it is by no means self evident that it is the best.

There are many facets of Christian life in which married couples, and in fact, the whole family can, and sometimes should, take part together, such as the Mass and other acts of worship. I think, nevertheless, that certain activities of spiritual formation are more effective if they are attended separately by husband and wife. For one thing, it highlights the fundamentally personal character of one’s own sanctification, of the ascetic struggle, of union with God. These certainly affect others, but the role of the individual conscience in them is vital and irreplaceable. Furthermore, it makes it easier to suit the formation given to the particular needs, circumstances and psychology of each person. This does not mean to say that in these activities the fact that the participants are married is disregarded; nothing could be further removed from the spirit of Opus Dei.

For forty years I have been preaching and writing that each person has to sanctify himself or herself in ordinary life, in the concrete situations of every day. Married people, therefore, have to sanctify themselves by living their family obligations perfectly. One of the aims of the retreats and other means of formation organized by Opus Dei for married men or women is to make them more fully aware of the dignity of their vocation to marriage and help them prepare themselves, with the grace of God, to live it better.

In many aspects the demands which married love makes on men and on women are different and their love shows itself in different ways. With specific means of formation they can be helped effectively to discover these details of love in their daily lives. In this way, separation for a few hours or a few days will, in the long run, make them more united and help them to love each other more and better than they did before, with a love full of respect.

I repeat that we do not claim that our way of acting in this is the only good one, or that it should be adopted by everyone. It simply seems to me that it gives very good results and that there are strong reasons — as well as long experience — for doing things this way, but I do not take issue with the contrary opinion.

Furthermore, I would add that if in Opus Dei we adopt this procedure in certain types of spiritual formation, nevertheless in numerous other activities married couples, as such, participate and cooperate. I am thinking, for example, of the work which is done with the parents of pupils in schools conducted by members of Opus Dei, in the meetings, lectures etc., especially arranged for the parents of students who live in halls of residence run by the Work.

So you see, when the type of activity requires the presence of the married couple, husband and wife both take part. But these types of meetings and activities are different from those that are directed towards personal spiritual training.

Conversations, 99

See further: the chapter on marriage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
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<![CDATA["Let us ask Paul VI for all the families in the world"]]> 19-X-2014. The beatification of Pope Paul VI is a cause of great joy for the entire Church. Paul VI was the Pope who led Vatican II to its conclusion. His pastoral and apostolic impact on the world, as a young priest and in his later responsibilities until taking on his universal mission as Roman Pontiff, is well-known to all Catholics. His pastoral charity helped inspire in Catholics a desire for generous spiritual renewal and deep fidelity to the Gospel message.

I am happy to recall the spirit of service that the then Monsignor Montini showed in serving the Pope and all mankind in his various responsibilities in the Holy See. Today I go to the new Blessed asking him to infuse in all Catholics this same affection, both human and filled with faith, for the Vicar of Christ, now Pope Francis.

Besides welcoming Monsignor Escriva and Alvaro del Portillo with sincere friendship (later transformed into the affection of our common Father in the Church), I recall very vividly the affection and interest he showed when inaugurating a center run by faithful of Opus Dei for young working-class people in Rome. I realized even more forcefully that day his love for all souls, especially for the most humble, and his desire for social justice: may no one lack what they need. The Holy Father's visit to Centro Elis ended with his giving a fatherly hug to Saint Josemaria, saying "qui, tutto è Opus Dei!" ["everything here is the Work of God"].

As the Church reflects in a special way on the institution of the family, let us also ask Paul VI for all the families in the world, so that they might be the "communion of love" and the "school of the Gospel" of the spouses, which he spoke to us about during his pilgrimage to Nazareth in 1964, and on so many other occasions when speaking about marriage.

+ Javier Echevarría

Prelate of Opus Dei]]>
<![CDATA[Novena for the family to St Josemaria]]> On Sunday, Pope Francis asked the pilgrims not to forget to pray in the upcoming days for the Synod on the Family.

The Novena for the family to St Josemaria can help to follow the Pope's invitation and pray for all families around the world.


Fr. Francisco Faus of São Paulo, Brazil has taken passages from St Josemaria’s writing and preaching to produce the Novena for the family to help people turn to St Josemaria specifically for family needs – whether in the normal course of family life, or when they encounter some particular difficulty.

People around the world invoke St Josemaria’s intercession, often using the prayer-card , for all sorts of needs, material and spiritual. Novena for Work and the Novena for the Sick. Many people have written to this website with grateful accounts of how St Josemaria has helped them through these Novenas.


Download pdf.]]>
<![CDATA[First audience granted by Pope Paul VI to Opus Dei founder ]]> January 24, 1964, the Holy Father Paul VI received the Founder of Opus Dei in a private audience. When Msgr Escriva entered the room he started to kneel down to greet the Pope, as the current protocol required. But Pope Paul would not let him: he came forward and, opening wide his arms, gave him an affectionate welcoming embrace.

Almost at the end of the audience, Msgr. Escriva told the Pope that Don Alvaro del Portillo was waiting for him outside. Pope Paul instantly asked for him to be shown in, and when he entered the room, said to him: “Don Alvaro – we’ve known each other for nearly twenty years!”

“Only eighteen, Your Holiness,” replied Don Alvaro.

“In that time I’ve become old,” said the Pope.

“Oh, no, Your Holiness: you’ve become Peter!”

(Ana Sastre, Tiempo de Caminar, p. 483)

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<![CDATA[Far beyond my expectations]]> I did the Novena for Work to St Josemaria for a project at work to get under way and be maintained on a firm footing. The result was far beyond my expectations. I promised I would publish the favor. Thank you very much.
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<![CDATA[The mortgage]]> I was two months behind with my mortgage payments. If I missed the payments for three months my bank would initiate repossession. It was a serious situation. I was owed money, but for certain special reasons it was very difficult for me to demand payment. Oddly enough, the sum I was owed was exactly the total of my two outstanding mortgage payments.

I did a novena to Jesus, another to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and another to Saint Josemaria Escriva, simultaneously. I have to state that the day I received the money in my bank account was the last day of the novenas, at 00.00 hours. I went out to talk our dog for a run very late at night, having checked my account via the internet and seen that the money was not there. I completed the novena while I was out, and at 1.30 a.m. I saw a big, brilliant flying star. I had a sudden premonition that it was a sign from heaven that I had been granted the grace I had been praying for, and that the money had come in. I rushed home and checked my bank account again. The money had been paid in! I couldn’t stop myself from shouting “Miracle!” and I woke up my family to tell them about it.

Thank you, Saint Josemaria – you’ve obtained so many favours for me!]]>
<![CDATA[1960.10.25]]> Opening of the University of Navarre, which had already been functioning as an institute of higher education for several years, stimulated by Saint Josemaría. “The [...]]]> <![CDATA[Pope Francis beatifies Paul VI]]> Video. (Rome Reports). It was a symbolic morning at the Vatican which was led by three Popes: Pope Francis declared Paul VI blessed, accompanied by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. ]]> <![CDATA[Marriage, a Christian vocation]]> St Josemaría teaches that marriage is a Christian vocation to which many people are called, as shown in “Take a chance on happiness”.]]> <![CDATA[John Paul II and Alvaro del Portillo]]> Video. A brief video about the friendship between John Paul II and Bishop Alvaro del Portillo.]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> The Christian's Hope]]>