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[How did St Josemaria imagine St Joseph?]]> I see him as a strong young man, perhaps a few years older than our Lady, but in the prime of his life and work. We know that he was not well-to-do: he was just a worker, like so many millions of people throughout the world. He worked at the same demanding and humble job which God chose for himself when he took our flesh and came to live just like the rest of us for thirty years. Scripture tells us St Joseph was a craftsman. The Gospels give us a picture of Joseph as a remarkably sound man who was in no way frightened or shy of life. On the contrary, he faced up to problems, dealt with difficult situations and showed responsibility and initiative in whatever he was asked to do.
Christ is Passing By, no. 40

The custom of the Seven Sundays of St Joseph
A long-standing tradition in the Church is to prepare for the feast of St Joseph on March 19 by dedicating the seven Sundays before it to St Joseph, in memory of his seven sorrows and joys. Pope Gregory XVI encouraged this devotion to St Joseph by attaching many indulgences to it, and Blessed Pope Pius IX asked the faithful to petition St Joseph to alleviate the afflictions of the universal Church in those times.

Downloadable leaflet on the seven sorrows and joys of St Joseph with illustrations from the shrine of Torreciudad, Spain.

]]>
<![CDATA[Message of Pope Francis for Lent 2016]]> MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR LENT 2016

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13).
The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee


1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized

In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17). By calling for an attentive listening to the word of God and encouraging the initiative “24 Hours for the Lord”, I sought to stress the primacy of prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word. The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand. For this reason, during the season of Lent I will send out Missionaries of Mercy as a concrete sign to everyone of God’s closeness and forgiveness.

After receiving the Good News told to her by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, in her Magnificat, prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her. The Virgin of Nazareth, betrothed to Joseph, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful. In the prophetic tradition, mercy is strictly related – even on the etymological level – to the maternal womb (rahamim) and to a generous, faithful and compassionate goodness (hesed) shown within marriage and family relationships.

2. God’s covenant with humanity: a history of mercy

The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel. God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth. Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride. These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.

This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son. In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him “mercy incarnate” (Misericordiae Vultus, 8). As a man, Jesus of Nazareth is a true son of Israel; he embodies that perfect hearing required of every Jew by the Shema, which today too is the heart of God’s covenant with Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Dt 6:4-5). As the Son of God, he is the Bridegroom who does everything to win over the love of his bride, to whom he is bound by an unconditional love which becomes visible in the eternal wedding feast.

This is the very heart of the apostolic kerygma, in which divine mercy holds a central and fundamental place. It is “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (Evangelii Gaudium, 36), that first proclamation which “we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment” (ibid., 164). Mercy “expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe” (Misericordiae Vultus, 21), thus restoring his relationship with him. In Jesus crucified, God shows his desire to draw near to sinners, however far they may have strayed from him. In this way he hopes to soften the hardened heart of his Bride.

3. The works of mercy

God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. For this reason, I expressed my hope that “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; this will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty, and to enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy” (ibid., 15). For in the poor, the flesh of Christ “becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us” (ibid.). It is the unprecedented and scandalous mystery of the extension in time of the suffering of the Innocent Lamb, the burning bush of gratuitous love. Before this love, we can, like Moses, take off our sandals (cf. Ex 3:5), especially when the poor are our brothers or sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.

In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow. It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf. Lk 16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5) which is the root of all sin. This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited. This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor.

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.

Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38).

From the Vatican, 4 October 2015
Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

FRANCIS]]>
<![CDATA[Have Recourse to Divine Mercy]]> Have recourse to divine mercy: this is one of the things that the Prelate of Opus Dei suggests in the Pastoral Letter he has written about the Year of Mercy.

Download the text of the letter here


]]>
<![CDATA[God’s Mercy]]> How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy]]> <![CDATA[Novena for forgiveness]]> Written by Fr Francisco Faus, is available in pdf, epub and Kindle formats, in which, while meditating on texts by St Josemaria, we ask God through his intercession for the grace of learning to forgive.]]> <![CDATA[A brief biography]]> Saint Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro, Spain, on 9 January 1902. He was ordained to the priesthood in Saragossa on 28 March 1925. On 2 October 1928, by divine inspiration, he founded Opus Dei. On 26 June 1975, he died unexpectedly in Rome in the room where he worked, after a last affectionate glance at a picture of Our Lady. Opus Dei had by then spread to five continents, with over 60.000 members of 80 nationalities, serving the Church with the same spirit of complete union with the Pope and the Bishops which characterised Saint Josemaría. His Holiness Pope John Paul II canonised the Founder of Opus Dei on 6 October 2002. His feast is celebrated on 26 June. The body of Saint Josemaría rests in the prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, Viale Bruno Buozzi 75, Rome.

More information
]]>
<![CDATA[The power of prayer]]> I am writing to give testimony on the power of praying the St Josemaria prayer card nine times. I prayed for a job and my prayer was answered even though I had no relevant experience in Human Resource Management. I have now been confirmed in my job and received a prorated bonus too. Thank you St Josemaria. Please continue to help and guide me in my job.]]> <![CDATA[Help with study]]> I am an Ecuadorian doctor, 26 years old, and every Sunday I go to the church of Saint Josemaria which is near my house here in Guayaquil. I have sometimes read the leaflet about favours that Saint Josemaria obtains for people, and that’s why I am writing about the help I received through his intercession.
I graduated just a year ago. I am in general practice, and I have always wanted to become a surgeon. Ever since being at university, I have always asked Saint Josemaria for favours. I noticed his help constantly when I had really difficult exams, and I always got good marks. I am really responsible about studying and my commitment has always been total, but the favours I received from him were especially about keeping calm and maintaining serenity. I have now been studying for a month to get onto a postgraduate General Surgery course, with very little time and a book full of questions to learn. All month I have prayed to Saint Josemaria at Mass and in my night prayers. As the exam drew close I never felt scared, but always got up with such a great sense of faith and tranquillity that I said to myself that someone was helping me with it. I did not doubt that Saint Josemaria was there and was listening to my prayers. One month before the exam I was sacked from my job. I was really upset, but then I thought that this was part of God’s plans for me, that everything that happened was what he wanted to happen.
I began saying the prayer to Saint Josemaria every day, not asking for a miracle, because I studied until I was exhausted, but asking him to enlighten me during the exam and grant me the serenity I needed so that I wouldn’t make any mistakes. The day of the exam I was a little nervous, but felt basically peaceful, knowing that I was being looked after. I got 79 on 80, and was beside myself with joy.
I am grateful, and will be forever, for the favour granted. Once again my dear Saint Josemaria supported me. And finally the favour reached even further, not only because I got a place on the postgraduate course, but because God granted me the grace of coming first out of more than 160 medics.
]]>
<![CDATA[1981.2.5]]> Pope John Paul II confirmed the opening of the process of beatification of Josemaria Escriva. In his homily at the beatification in St Peter’s Square [...]]]> <![CDATA[Pope Francis: Human justice only limits evil, divine justice overcomes it]]> Video (Rome Reports). At the general audience, Pope Francis explained that God is infinite mercy and perfect justice, two realities that would seem in opposition. He said that God's mercy is what makes true justice happen. He then reflected on the differences between human and divine justice.]]> <![CDATA[Have a great devotion to St Joseph]]> St Josemaria explains how St Joseph helps us to know Jesus Christ in his Humanity, because he was chosen by God to be Jesus’ foster-father on earth.]]>