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[Christ's death is the christians's life]]> Download "Christ's death is the christians's life", the homily given by St Josemaria Escriva for Good Friday from the book Christ is Passing By in pdf format.]]> <![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.]]> <![CDATA[Living through Holy Week with St Josemaria]]> "Living Holy Week means entering ever more deeply into the logic of God, into the logic of the Cross, which is not primarily that of suffering and death, but rather that of love and of the gift of self which brings life. It means entering into the logic of the Gospel. Following and accompanying Christ, staying with him, demands “coming out of ourselves”, requires us to be outgoing; to come out of ourselves, out of a dreary way of living faith that has become a habit, out of the temptation to withdraw into our own plans which end by shutting out God’s creative action." (Pope Francis, 27 March 2013).

To contemplate the Holy Week through the Gospel, you can download passages by St. Josemaría, in epub and pdf.

"Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. May it be so."(Pope Francis,Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord 2013).]]>
<![CDATA[How can I receive Jesus well in Holy Communion?]]> “Dear friends, we won’t ever thank 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[Jerusalem: Calvary]]> The Ninth Station of the Via Dolorosa left us very close to Calvary. So far we have been following Jesus as he carries his Cross, along the route traced out by tradition and popular Christian piety... Download pdf.]]> <![CDATA[Jerusalem: the Holy Sepulcher]]> There are many places in the Holy Land which preserve the record of our Lord’s life on earth and these places have been rightly venerated down through the centuries. However, none can compare with the Holy Sepulcher...]]> <![CDATA[The Prelate urges us to prepare ourselves very well for Holy Week]]> In his pastoral letter for April 2014, Bishop Javier Echevarria, following the teachings of St Josemaria and Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, suggests having devout recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and helping others to do so.

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My dear children: may Jesus watch over my daughters and sons for me!

As we approach Holy Week, let us try to foster the desire to prepare ourselves as well as possible for those days when we will remember and relive the central events of the Redemption. Let us strengthen our eagerness for a personal conversion, so appropriate to the time of Lent.

In his Lenten message this year, the Holy Father invites us to consider that “when Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist, he did so not because he was in need of repentance, or conversion; he did it to be among people who need forgiveness, among us sinners, and to take upon himself the burden of our sins. In this way he chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery.”[1]

Our Lord came down to earth to heal our indigence, which has many different forms. Besides the material poverty that affects so many people, the Pope emphasized other forms of still greater misery, the consequence of distancing oneself from God: moral destitution and spiritual destitution.The first is seen in so many men and women, above all young people, who suffer from a serious addiction (really, a slavery) to alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, which gives rise to great distress in the people themselves and in their families, who don’t know how to help them. “This type of destitution, which also causes financial ruin, is invariably linked to the spiritual destitution which we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love. If we think we don’t need God who reaches out to us through Christ, because we believe we can make do on our own, we are headed for a fall. God alone can truly save and free us.”[2]

Let us not forget that, also with our own personal struggle, with our life, it is necessary (it will always be so) to show these people the path to regaining joy and peace. And this path passes through recourse to the sacrament of Penance. Let us strive to improve our personal dispositions in approaching this means of salvation instituted by Jesus, and let us tell others how to benefit from divine mercy.

This is “the real antidote to spiritual destitution: wherever we go, we are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible, that God is greater than our sinfulness, that he freely loves us at all times and that we were made for communion and eternal life. The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is marvelous to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness. It means following and imitating Jesus, who sought out the poor and sinners as a shepherd lovingly seeks his lost sheep. In union with Jesus, we can courageously open up new paths of evangelization and human promotion.”[3]

St. Paul urged Christians to “put on” our Lord Jesus Christ.[4] And it is precisely “in the Sacrament of Penance that you and I clothe ourselves in Jesus Christ and his merits,”[5] wrote St. Josemaría. Moved by his example and his words, Don Alvaro too insisted on the need to prepare ourselves with refinement to receive this sacrament. He was convinced that people will hear the invitation of our Lord, who calls all men and women to holiness, if they are struggling, with effort and with peace, to walk along the paths of grace, guided by God. “That is why,” he added, “the apostolate of Confession has a special importance. Only when souls acquire a habitual friendship with God, a friendship based on the gift of sanctifying grace, can they be ready to hear the invitation that Jesus is addressing to us: If anyone wishes to follow me… (Mt 16:24).”[6]

Now, with Holy Week so close, we can examine ourselves on how we have personally taken advantage of this means of sanctification, how we are spreading it among our acquaintances, and how we care for it throughout the year. The upcoming canonization of John Paul II reminds me of how frequently this holy Pontiff remarked that the faithful of the Prelature of Opus Dei have received the “charism” of Confession: a special grace from God to bring many souls to this tribunal of mercy and forgiveness, and thus to help them recover their Christian joy. We can’t let up in our effort to have recourse to God’s forgiveness, to keep ourselves in his friendship.

As Easter drew near, Don Alvaro would redouble his efforts to take good advantage of the Paschal Triduum. He once told us: “We have to try to be ‘another person in the scene,’ reliving in our heart the Master’s steps during his Passion, with a deep desire for self-giving. We should accompany our Lord and his Mother with our heart and our mind in those shattering events, from which we ourselves were not absent when they happened, since our Lord suffered and died for the sins of each and every one of us. Ask the Most Holy Trinity to grant us the grace to enter more deeply into the suffering that each one of us has caused Jesus, in order to acquire the habit of contrition, which was so deeply rooted in the life of our holy Founder and which he took to heroic levels of Love.”[7]

The Liturgy of Holy Thursday made a deep impression on Don Alvaro. Filled with hope, with joy (human as well), he contemplated the self-giving of Christ for the Church, for each soul, shown in the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. He visited the “monuments of repose” in order to meditate on and learn from the supreme Sacrifice of Jesus. He liked to visit the churches where these were set up with the greatest solemnity, also with the desire to prepare himself better to give a constant welcome to God in his soul.

Often he remarked that he was moved by the liturgical readings during those days, especially the narration of the Passion according to St. John. He recommended reading and meditating on the Passion of our Lord and adoring the Holy Cross. He prayed intensely while the Lamentations on Good Friday were being sung, and during the Exsultet, the triumphant cry of the Easter Vigil.

As a sign of gratitude and hope, he frequently kissed the crucifix that he carried in his pocket, or that he placed on his work table. Let us draw close to Jesus and show him that we truly love him, as Don Alvaro did in following our Father’s advice: “Your Crucifix. As a Christian, you should always carry your Crucifix with you. And place it on your desk. And kiss it before going to bed and when you wake up: and when your poor body rebels against your soul, kiss it again.”[8] I have seen this way of acting deeply impact other people, who ended up imitating him in those practices so filled with a strong piety and Christian naturalness.

The memory of St. Josemaría’s first successor, precisely in the year of his beatification, can help us a lot to grow in our personal piety; and now, specifically, to prepare ourselves well to live Holy Week with love and gratitude. “Let us meditate deeply and slowly on the scenes of these days. Let us contemplate Jesus in the Garden of Olives, how he seeks in prayer for the strength to confront the terrible suffering that he knew to be so close. During those moments, his Most Holy Humanity needed the physical and spiritual closeness of his friends. But the apostles left him alone: Simon! Are you sleeping? Weren’t you able to watch for an hour? (Mk 14:37). He also says this to you and to me, who so often have assured him, like Peter, that we were ready to follow him to the point of death and who, nevertheless, often left him alone, and slept.

“We have to foster sorrow for these personal desertions, and for those of others. And we have to realize that we abandon our Lord, perhaps each day, when we are careless in the fulfillment of our professional and apostolic duties; when our piety is superficial and lacking in refinement; when we justify ourselves because humanly we feel weighed down by fatigue; when we lack the divine eagerness to follow God’s will, even when our soul and body put up resistance.”[9]

In the “school” of St. Josemaría, Don Alvaro learned to meditate on our Lord’s Passion. And in doing so, as he wrote, he encouraged us to put ourselves more deeply into the Gospel, “as another person in the scene,” transforming the scenes we contemplate into personal prayer. Thus there will arise in our soul a powerful desire to make reparation, with a big heart, for the sins of all mankind, and not only for our own faults. “When meditating on the Passion,” he confided to us in a family letter, “there arises spontaneously in the soul an eagerness to make reparation, to console our Lord, to alleviate his suffering. Jesus suffered for the sins of all men and women, and today people seem determined, with a sad tenacity, to offend their Creator frequently.

“Let us decide to make reparation! Do all of you truly feel a desire to offer much joy to our Love? Do you truly understand that a fault of ours, no matter how small, has to mean great sorrow for Jesus? Therefore I insist that you give great importance to small things, that you be refined in caring for details, that you have a real horror of falling into routine. God has given us so much, and Love is repaid with love! Contemplating Jesus on the gibbet of the Holy Cross, I ask that he gain for us the gift that our sacramental confessions may be more contrite: because, as our Father taught us, he has been on that Wood for twenty centuries, and now it’s time that we put ourselves there. I beg him also to increase in us the imperative eagerness to bring more souls to Confession.”[10]

At the beginning of Easter week let us remember with thanksgiving the anniversary of St. Josemaría’s first Holy Communion, on April 23, 1912. Since then, until the day of his leaving us for Heaven, how often did Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament take up residence in the heart and soul of that good and faithful servant who was our Founder! Thus God was preparing him with an outpouring of graces for the mission he was going to entrust him with in the bosom of the Church. Later this month, on the 27th, the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II will take place. On that date, our thanksgiving will rise to Heaven imbued with the joy of having two new intercessors who knew and loved Opus Dei when they were here on earth.

Continue presenting to our Lord my intentions every day, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. You are always there, every one of you, with the Church, with all mankind. And let us not cease to pray for (to love, because they need it) those who have distanced themselves from or attack our Holy Mother the Church.

With all my affection, I bless you,

Your Father,

+ Javier

Rome, April 1, 2014

[1] Pope Francis, Message for Lent, December 26, 2013.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] See Rom 13:14.

[5] St. Josemaría, The Way, no. 310.

[6] Don Alvaro, Letter December 1, 1993.

[7] Don Alvaro, Letter April 1, 1987.

[8] St. Josemaría, The Way, no. 302.

[9] Don Alvaro, Letter April 1, 1987.

[10] Don Alvaro, Letter April 1, 1987.]]>
<![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[St Josemaria’s book The Way of the Cross – Foreword]]> “Enter into the wounds of Christ Crucified.” When Monsignor Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer proposed this way, to those who asked him for advice on how to deepen their interior life, he was doing no more than pass on his own experience, pointing out the short cut he had been using throughout his life, and which led him to the highest peaks of spiritual life. His love for Jesus was always something real, tangible and strong; it was tender, filial and very moving.

The Founder of Opus Dei used to say, with such encouraging persuasiveness, that being a Christian comes down to following Christ: that is the secret. And he would add: “We must accompany him so closely that we come to live with Him, like the first Twelve did; so closely, that we become identified with Him.” That is why he advised people to meditate constantly on the passages of the Gospel, and those who had the good fortune to hear him comment on some of the scenes of the life of Christ, have felt themselves reliving those scenes, actually there, and they have learned to take part in those passages as just one more person there.

Among all the Gospel narratives, Msgr. Escrivá used to dwell with special attention and love on those which tell of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. There, among many other considerations he made, he would contemplate the Sacred Humanity of Christ, who—in his great yearning to come close to each one of us—reveals himself to us with all the weakness of men and with all the magnificence of God. “That is why,” he would say, “I have always advised people to read books on Our Lord’s Passion. Such works, full of true piety, bring to our minds the Son of God, a Man like ourselves and also true God, who in his flesh loves and suffers to redeem the world. Truly, a Christian matures and becomes strong beside the Cross, where he also finds Mary, his Mother.”

The Founder of Opus Dei prepared this Way of the Cross as a result of his contemplation on the scenes of Calvary. His desire was that it should serve to help people meditate on the Passion of Jesus, but he never wished to impose it on anyone as a text with which to carry out this very Christian devotion. This was because of his great love for the freedom of people’s consciences and the deep respect he felt towards the interior life of each soul, so much so that he never obliged even his own children to adopt specific ways of piety, except, naturally, those which form an essential part of the spirituality that God has wanted for Opus Dei.

This new posthumous work of Msgr. Escrivá, like the previous ones, has been prepared to help people to pray and, with the grace of God, to grow in a spirit of reparation —of love-sorrow— and of gratitude to Our Lord, who has rescued us at the cost of his Blood. For this same reason, there have been included, as points for meditation, some words of Msgr. Escrivá, taken from his preaching and his conversation which reflected his zeal to speak only about God and about nothing but God.

The Stations of the Cross is not a sad devotion. Msgr. Escrivá taught many times that Christian joy has its roots in the shape of a cross. If the Passion of Christ is a way of pain, it is also a path of hope leading to certain victory. As he explained in one of his homilies: “You should realise that God wants you to be glad and that, if you do all you can, you will be happy, very, very happy, although you will never for a moment be without the Cross. But that Cross is no longer a gallows. It is the throne from which Christ reigns. And at his side is his Mother, our Mother too. The Blessed Virgin will obtain for you the strength that you need to walk decisively in the footsteps of her Son.”

Rome, 14 September 1980, feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.]]>
<![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[A prayer-card by the steering-wheel]]> I run a pre-cooked meals business for caterers. Winter sales are always bad as many places close down outside the tourist season. One month ago I had no money for fresh supplies. I could not even get the transport agency to collect a consignment, because I couldn’t pay them. I prayed to St. Josemaria to help me over this bad time. No sooner said than done. A client called asking me to come and collect payment for a small outstanding bill. That gave me the money to pay for the consignment, but it was Friday morning and the supplier was 300 km away. I needed to use those supplies on Saturday so that I could get the products to clients on time.

The money problem was solved but an even bigger one came up. That morning my car seemed about to break down. It was very hard to start it, there was a lot of smoke from the exhaust, and there was a terrible loud knocking sound as I drove. It had got in that state because I couldn’t afford to have it repaired. Now, seeing the situation, I couldn’t think of a way out, and prayed to St. Josemaria again for his help. I found a sense of peace and tranquillity flooding through me. I got in the car, took out a prayer-card and put it by the steering-wheel. I knew he wouldn’t let me down, and that we’d travel together. We did. I prayed and thanked him for the whole of that six-hour trip. The car worked perfectly.

A promise is a debt, and I now am paying it. St. Josemaria, don’t abandon us, despite our mistakes.

<![CDATA[The Car Mechanics]]> I’ve grown up knowing and relating to St Josemaria, because at home, my parents said the prayer-card to the Servant of God (as he then was) Josemaria Escriva every evening.

I can say for a fact that although my parents faced many, many problems raising us, all the little and big problems of a family with eight children worked out in the end, with God’s help and St Josemaria’s intercession.

Currently, thanks to God and my wife, we have four wonderful children and we all keep up the custom of praying to St Josemaria every night because, although God has blessed us with great joy and happiness, we also have plenty of problems, like any family. To add to this, for some years now, because of the economic crisis, employment and money difficulties have become more acute. But with God’s help, through St Josemaria’s intercession, we have “muddled through”, thanks to the charity and especially the affection of some friends and the rest of our family.

However, not long ago I read a favour obtained through St Josemaria published on this website, which initially seemed so trivial that I thought to myself, “When there are so many really serious, major problems, how come St Josemaria wastes any time on such little difficulties?”

The following day I had to take our car to the mechanic because a light had come on warning of an electrical malfunction. The mechanic at the workshop told me it was a serious problem and that fixing it would cost a figure about ten times as much as I’d been expecting.

After this shock, I prayed to St Josemaria for some solution, because I didn’t have the money. Soon another mechanic arrived and said that they’d looked again and found that all that was needed was to change a small bulb, costing almost nothing.

Then I remembered what I’d said to St Josemaria the day before, and it made me see that St Josemaria is a saint for everything and everyone, whether their problem is big or small. Thank you, St Josemaria.
<![CDATA[Speak to you soon about more favors!]]> I thought I had cancer of the face, as this was what the doctors gave me to understand when I came out of radiology. I prayed hard to Saint Josemaria that the biopsy they took of the nodule would be OK. Two weeks later I got the result: it was a benign cyst. Thank-you, Saint Josemaria, and speak to you soon about more favors!]]> <![CDATA[1932.4.20]]> Saint Josemaría had at home a little statue of our Lady, which has not been preserved. He had a special devotion for it. He used [...]]]> <![CDATA[Pope's Audience: Jesus died humiliated, but God's victory shines]]> Video. Rome Reports. During his catechesis on Wednesday's General Audience, Pope Francis talked about the beginning of the Passion of Christ. ]]> <![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[Fr. Dick Rieman 2, behind the scenes clips from Passionately Loving the World]]> Video. In this clip from Passionately Loving the World, Fr. Dick Rieman, the first member of Opus Dei in the United States, explains how all Christians are called by God to holiness. ]]> <![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. ]]> <![CDATA[The Sacrament of Reconciliation]]> Confession is the sacrament of God’s forgiveness. In it, says St Josemaria, we find Christ, “who is both father and mother”.]]>