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[I learnt from him the true meaning of Love for the Church]]> Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, simply Don Alvaro, was truly a mentor and a father to all his children in Opus Dei. While loving all, it also was obvious the opportunities he sought to address priests, and more specially his priest sons, who he knew play such an important role in the spiritual formation of all the faithful of the Prelature. At the core of his message to all priests, after underlining the need for personal struggle for Holiness, he always spoke softly yet forcefully on the need for loyalty and Love for the Church.

In the over six years I was blessed to live fairly close to Don Alvaro, while undertaking my studies in the University of the Holy Cross and formation at the Roman College of the Holy Cross, I was one of many who learnt from his example and life, the true meaning of “Love for the Church”.

It wasn’t merely an intellectual issue, nor an abstract concern for the Church. Soon after the canonization of St Josemaría, someone commented to him in those family getogethers, that it was amazing how God had used the Holy Father John Paul II to bring about many blessings for the Work. He was referring to the erection of Opus Dei as a Personal Prelature, the Ordination of the Prelate, Don Alvaro as a bishop, and the celebration of the canonization of St Josemaría presided by the Holy Father. It then seemed only natural, the person suggested, that we should have a great affection for the Holy Father John Paul II. Don Alvaro’s reaction was immediate, going to lengths to explain that our love for the Holy Father must be theological and not merely sentiments.

It must be a consequential love that knows to sacrifice ourselves for him, to seek to know him and his writings, a love that leads us to pray incessantly for his person and intentions, to bring joys to him... whoever he may be. Yet he also added, no doubt we do feel especially grateful towards Pope John Paul II who has been Gods instrument for these blessings. It was customary for him to encourage those living in Rome, to go to the Sunday angelus messages, to listen to the Pope and show him our love.

During the UNIV encounters of the university student in Rome, I personally recall the encouragement to make presentations in the show –without any inhibitions- in the various pop songs we sang, to make the Holy Father have a good time, as he watched the young people enjoying. That meant dancing, and even wearing some fancy clothes.

A moment of joy and laughter for the Holy Father was a practical way of Love for the Church. He would also urge us to give the Holy Father good news of apostolate and so lighten his burden.

Following the spirit of St Josemaría, he never ceased to remind all in Opus Dei of the duty we have to Love the Church. In the Beatification ceremony of St Josemaría in May 1992, he reiterated and reminded all during the mass of thanksgiving, of nurturing the desire to “Serve the Church as the Church wishes to be served”, using the words of Our beloved founder. This he lived and instilled in us forcefully in the many encounters we had with him.

Love for the Church meant not only love of the Magisterium, and orthodoxy, but moreover, making constant efforts to deepen our doctrinal and theological understanding. In encounters with priests he always insisted that we must find time every day, for some theological and doctrinal study. Something he lived himself, and I confess, difficult to live within the demanding schedule of the apostolate.

Love for the Church also meant an exquisite attention, as a person in love, to the liturgical celebrations. Don Alvaro always paid a lot of attention to the preparation of liturgical ceremonies, up to the little details. Needless to say how obedient he was to the master of ceremonies. Now, as a bishop, I know how hard that can be. Following our Founders spirit, he insisted on rehearsals before even the simplest ceremonies. At times he would come to acquaint himself with the place and give suggestions of improvements. In one occasion as a deacon, just before the solemn benediction I was serving in, I told him how nervous I was. His answer was simply, “do it thinking only of God presence” (Hazlo cara a Dios) and don’t worry. It wasn’t efficiency he was urging me to, but piety and love for God, in loving the Church’s liturgy.

His love for the Church also showed in the tender affection and reverence towards the Bishops of the Church. Most eloquent is the evidence of the many postcards he sent to ecclesiastics during his last trip in Holy Land, at the eve of his life, many of which arrived after his death. His affection was genuine, first at the human level, but moved more by reverence towards the bishops. He never visited a town in his trips without seeking to met and listen to the bishop of the diocese who in later years was often younger then himself, promising him prayers, which he actually did.

During my stay in Cavabianca, the See of the Roman college of the Holy Cross, on several occasions, he asked us the students, to host and entertain Cardinals and bishops who may have been far from their homes on great feast-days or may have been a bit tired. I remember more vividly the shows we prepared for Cardinal Cassidy on a Easter time and Cardinal Bernadine Gantin on the anniversary of his ordination, just as examples. Other bishops were also invited for dinner and a lively getogether telling them of various apostolic anecdotes and humorous interesting stories...

Finally, for this brief relation, his Love for the Church showed in the urgency to make Christ’s message reach all over, even to the remotest corners. He loved to hear anecdotes of apostolic nature, always responding with a meaningful “thanks be to God” and encouraging words to do even more! Following invitations from the Holy Father and also from various bishops, the apostolic work of Opus Dei started in the most unexpected places, judging humanly. I myself recall the time he told us the apostolic work would be starting in Kazakhstan, a country of so few Catholics. It seemed to beat human reason, until we learnt that it was on suggestion of the Holy Father.

That was the love of Don Alvaro for the Church, and still is. We who are somehow his heirs, as heirs and spiritual children of St Josemaría, seek to propagate it through ages, and certainly Don Alvaro will assist us through his intercession to be even more faithful in this.


By Bishop Anthony Muheria (Kitui, Kenya ) at the Study Conference in the Centennial of Msgr. Álvaro del Portillo, Vir fidelis multum laudabitur, at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, March, 2014. ]]>
<![CDATA[An African Smile]]> Video. Less than a month remains for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, the first successor of St. Josemaria. We offer a trailer of the video: "An African smile". In this video Nigerians talk about what Don Alvaro means to them. He visited Nigeria in 1989 and made lasting impressions that still reverberate in the lives of many Nigerians.]]> <![CDATA[www.alvaro14.org ]]> All the information about the Beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, the first successor of St. Josemaria, is available here.]]> <![CDATA[That's how Bishop Alvaro was]]> Video. A teacher, a father, a man of God, a faithful man... these are the memories different people who met Bishop del Portillo.]]> <![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[Prayer card in Turkish]]> The new prayer card of Saint Josemaria en Turkish has just come out. In the download section of the website, we offer the prayer card of the Founder of Opus Dei in more than 75 languages, such as in Tamil (India), Kazakh, Armenian, etc. ]]> <![CDATA[St Peter in Gallicantu]]> In the Footprints of our Faith
“The band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people” (John 18: 12-14).

All four Evangelists relate the interrogation of Jesus by the chief priests and the Sanhedrin. It took place in the house of Caiaphas (see Matthew 26:57). Two exceptional witnesses managed to get as far as this point: Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus there. This other disciple was known to the High Priest and went into the court with Jesus. Peter, however, stayed outside at the door. Then the other disciple went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door and brought Peter in (see John 18:15-16).

During the trial there was a strong contrast between the behaviour of Jesus and Peter. Confronted with unjust accusations, unfounded charges, false witness and insults, Jesus kept silent. Then, when the time came for him to proclaim the truth, he spoke calmly. Peter, terrified by the servants, denied having anything to do with Jesus. “I do not know him” (Luke 22:58); “I do not know what you are saying” (Matthew 26:70); “I do not know this man” (Mark 14:71).

“And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62).

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The House of Caiaphas
The part of Jerusalem where this episode took place was on the eastern slope of Mount Sion, not far from the Cenacle (the room of the Last Supper). In the time of Jesus this was a residential district, looking over the Cedron and Hinnom valleys. Scholars offer two or more possible locations for the house of Caiaphas within this district, but archaeological excavations incline slightly in favour of the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu. This church stands on a site which has belonged to the Augustinians of the Assumption since the nineteenth century. Excavations carried out from 1888 to 1909 and from 1992 to 2002 brought to light the remains of a house dating to the Herodian era with mills, cisterns and cellars. A further find was a finely-carved stone lintel, with an inscription indicating where to deposit sin-offerings, and collections of weights and measures as used in the Temple. This house had later been venerated by Christians, who built a church over it in the fifth century; some pieces of mosaic flooring still survive. The centre of the basilica was a deep cistern, which must originally have been a ritual Jewish bath.

There is a sixth-century text which probably refers to that shrine: “From Golgotha it is 200 paces to holy Sion, the mother of all churches, which Sion our Lord Christ founded with His apostles. It was the house of S. Mark the Evangelist. From holy Sion to the house of Caiphas, now the Church of S. Peter, it is 50 paces more or less” (Theodosius, On the Topography of the Holy Land, 7 (CCL 175, 118).

The Byzantine building suffered the same fate as many other churches in the Holy Land: destroyed by the Persians in the seventh century, it was afterwards rebuilt, and then this second building was demolished in the eleventh century. The crusaders built a third basilica there in the twelfth century; this was pulled down in its turn, and later a small chapel was built on the spot, which finally disappeared in the fourteenth century. The remnants of these successive stages remained buried until 1887 when the Assumptionists took charge of the site.



The Church
The present church was consecrated in 1931, and completely renovated in 1997. It has two levels and a crypt. The upper chapel, covered with a dome decorated with mosaics and stained-glass windows, commemorates the trial of Jesus; the mid-level chapel, in which the rocky ground appears through the flooring at some points, commemorates St Peter’s denials, his tears of repentance, and his meeting with the Risen Lord at the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus confirmed him in his mission. The lower level or crypt includes several caves whose use down through the centuries cannot be ascertained with any certainty, and the cistern venerated since the Byzantine era which is known as the “Sacred Pit”.

This pit was part of the original house, and was a focus of attention for Christians from the earliest times. The original entrance to the pit was by a stairway and a double door, and shows that it was used for Jewish ceremonial washing. At some point it was deepened and turned into a cistern, and a circular opening was made in the roof. The signs added by the faithful – three crosses carved into the wall of the pit, the outline of a praying figure, and another seven crosses painted on the walls – show that in the fifth century this was believed to be the prison cell where Jesus awaited the dawning of Good Friday. In continuity with this tradition, pilgrims today meditate on the sufferings of Christ in this same place, following the words of the psalm:


Thou hast put me in the depths of the Pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Thy wrath lies heavy upon me,
and thou dost overwhelm me with all thy waves.
Thou hast caused my companions to shun me;
thou hast made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon thee, O Lord;
I spread out my hands to thee.
(Psalm 88[87]:6-9)

Outside the church other archaeological discoveries may be seen, including in particular a street composed of steps going up the hillside. This connected the wealthy upper part of the city with the poorer parts that lay along the Kedron brook, around the points where water was available: the Spring of Gihon and the Pool of Siloam. The street must already have existed in our Lord’s time, though its steps may not have been of stone at that time. He probably waLukeed up and down it plenty of times, and in particular on the night of Holy Thursday, first with the Apostles on the way from the Cenacle to Gethsemane, and afterwards dragged along by those who had arrested him in the Garden of Olives and were taking him to the High Priest’s house.

In the courtyard of the church, pilgrims can also study a large-scale model of Jerusalem in the Byzantine era. It includes detailed models of the seven churches built between the fourth and sixth centuries: the Holy Sepulchre; Holy Sion, which covered the churches of the Dormition and the Cenacle; Mary of the Probatic Pool, which is more or less on the same spot as St Anne’s Church today; St John the Baptist, built on the site of Herod’s palace and where the citadel now stands; Siloam, over the pool; Holy Mary, also known as the New Church, which has also since disappeared; and St Peter.

During his stay in the Holy Land in 1994, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo prayed in St Peter In Gallicantu on the evening of March 21, the day before he returned to Rome.

God’s mercy never forsakes us
When the cock crowed, “the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62). Only St Luke records Jesus’ act of mercy: “The Lord converted Peter, who had denied him three times, without even a reproach, with a look full of Love. Jesus looks at us with those same eyes, after we have fallen. May we also be able to say to him, as Peter did: ‘Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you,’ and amend our lives” (Furrow, 964).

St Ambrose, referring to this passage, explained: “Those whom Jesus looks at, weep. The first time Peter denied him, he did not weep: this was because our Lord had not looked at him. He denied him a second time: he did not weep, because our Lord had still not looked at him. He denied him for the third time: Jesus looked at him, and he wept very bitterly (…). Peter wept, and wept bitterly; he wept so that with his tears he might wash away his sin. You too, if you want to obtain forgiveness, should wash your fault with your tears: that very moment, Christ looks at you. If it happens that you fall into sin, he who is with you as a witness in the very depth of your being, looks at you, to make you remember and confess your fall” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam, 10, 89-90).

Although mortal sin destroys charity in our hearts and separates us from God (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1855), our Lord’s mercy does not abandon us: conversion is always possible. “I invite all Christians,” the Pope exhorts us, “everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. (…) Whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: ‘Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.’ 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” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24 November 2013, no. 3).

“As we fight this battle, which will last until the day we die, we cannot exclude the possibility that enemies both within and without may attack with violent force. And, as if this burden were not enough, you may at times be assailed by the memory of your own past errors, which may have been very many. I tell you now, in God’s name: don’t despair. Should this happen (it need not happen; nor will it usually happen) then turn it into another motive for uniting yourself more closely to Our Lord, for he has chosen you as his child and he will not abandon you. He has allowed that trial to befall you so that you may love him the more and may discover even more clearly his constant protection and Love. (…)
Forward, no matter what happens! Cling tightly to Our Lord’s hand and remember that God does not lose battles. If you should stray from him for any reason, react with the humility that will lead you to begin again and again; to play the role of the prodigal son every day, and even repeatedly during the twenty-four hours of the same day; to correct your contrite heart in Confession, which is a real miracle of God’s Love. In this wonderful Sacrament Our Lord cleanses your soul and fills you with joy and strength to prevent you from giving up the fight, and to help you keep returning to God unwearied, when everything seems black. In addition, the Mother of God, who is also our Mother, watches over you with motherly care, guiding your every step” (Friends of God, no. 214).

The Evangelists do not tell us whether St John remained in the house of Caiaphas or went out after St Peter; nor do we know where they each went afterwards. But we find St John later standing at the foot of the Cross, with our Lady. “Before, by yourself, you couldn’t. Now you have turned to our Lady, and with her help, how easy it is!” ( The Way, no. 513).


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<![CDATA[Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gloriae, ut misericordiam consequamur]]> Only rarely did the Father mention these supernatural events; he would not do it unless he considered it necessary for the good of the Work and of his children. So we know little about the extraordinary graces that he received. But we do know some of them: for instance, that of August 23, 1971.

He was spending a few days in Caglio, a little village near the town of Como, in northern Italy. That morning, after celebrating Mass, he was reading the newspaper, and suddenly, with great clarity and irresistible force, there was imparted to his soul a divine locution: Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gloriae, ut misericordiam consequamur*. Let us confidently approach the throne of glory, to obtain mercy.

This is Hebrews 4:16, with one difference: “throne of glory,” instead of “throne of grace.” The founder explained that our Lady is the throne of glory, in virtue of her constant and unalloyed intimacy with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is good that by means of her intercession we betake ourselves to God, appealing humbly to his mercy. (See Alvaro del Portillo, Sum. 1130.)

The founder was in the habit of doing that, and so this locution “confirmed him in his need to always go to her (Javier Echevarría, Sum. 3276).

He directed Don Alvaro to communicate this locution, in writing, to those on the General Council; this was, Ernesto Julia testifies, the only occasion on which he proceeded in this way.

Archbishop Julian Herranz tells us something interesting. He heard about this supernatural incident from the founder himself, shortly after the return from Caglio. At this time the work on Cavabianca (the definitive seat of the Roman College of the Holy Cross) had already begun, and the Father asked that they put there a stone bas-relief which would show our Lady seated on a throne and being crowned by the Blessed Trinity. At its base would be engraved the words of the locution. The Father suggested that while they awaited the juridical solution to the institutional problem of the Work, those words should be prayed as an aspiration, to obtain from our Lady the desired solution. That was a suggestion that his children acted on for years.

And so, concludes Archbishop Herranz, “very great were our joy and our gratitude to the Blessed Virgin when the Pope (who knew nothing about this) made public his decision to establish Opus Dei as a personal prelature on August 23,1982—the anniversary of the special divine light received by the founder eleven years earlier” (Sum. 4030).

Andrés Vázquez de Prada, The Founder Opus Dei, (III): The Divine Ways on Earth, Ed. Rialp, Madrid, 2002]]>
<![CDATA[Our Lady, Queen of Heaven]]> “Thou art all fair and in thee there is no stain. Thou art a garden enclosed, my sister, Spouse, an enclosed garden, a sealed fountain. Veni: coronaberis. Come: thou shalt be crowned” (Song 4:7, 12 and 8). If you and I had had the power, we too would have made her Queen and Lady of all creation. (…) And the Angels pay her homage as her subjects... and the patriarchs and the prophets and the Apostles... and the martyrs and the confessors and the virgins and all the saints... and all sinners and you and I.
Holy Rosary, Fifth glorious mystery

It is indeed just that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit should crown the Blessed Virgin as Queen and Lady of all created things. You have to make use of her power! With the daring of a child join in this celebration in Heaven. I myself crown the Mother of God and my Mother with my purified failings, since I have no precious stones or virtues. Take courage!
The Forge, 285

The divine Motherhood of Mary is the source of all the perfections and privileges with which she is endowed. Because of it, she was conceived immaculate and is full of grace; because of it, she is ever virgin, she was taken up body and soul to heaven and has been crowned Queen of all creation, above the angels and saints. Greater than she, none but God. “The Blessed Virgin, from the fact that she is the Mother of God, has a certain infinite dignity which comes from the infinite good which is God.” There is no danger of exaggerating. We can never hope to fathom this inexpressible mystery; nor will we ever be able to give sufficient thanks to our Mother for bringing us into such intimacy with the Blessed Trinity.
Friends of God, 276

Fill yourself with confidence. The Mother we have is the Mother of God, the Most Blessed Virgin, the Queen of Heaven and the World.
The Forge, 273

Dear Lady, Mother of God and my Mother, not in the remotest way do I wish that you may ever be anything less than Mistress and Empress of the whole of creation.
The Forge, 376

She intercedes
Holy Mary is the Queen of peace, and thus the Church invokes her. So when your soul or your family are troubled, or things go wrong at work, in society or between nations, cry out to her without ceasing. Call to her by this title: Regina pacis, ora pro nobis – Queen of peace, pray for us. Have you at least tried it when you have lost your calm?... You will be surprised at its immediate effect.
Furrow, 874

When you see yourself with a dry heart, without knowing what to say, go with confidence to the Virgin Mary. Say to her, “My Mother Immaculate, intercede for me.”
If you invoke her with faith, she will make you taste, in the midst of your dryness, the proximity of God.
Furrow, 874

If our faith is weak, we should turn to Mary. St John tells us that it was because of the miracle at the marriage feast at Cana, which Christ performed at his Mother’s request, that “his disciples learned to believe in him.” Our Mother is always interceding with her Son so that he may attend to our needs and show himself to us in such a way that we can cry out, “You are the Son of God.”
Friends of God, 276

Be daring. Count on the help of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Without ceasing to be a mother, our Lady is able to get each of her children to face their own responsibilities. Mary always does the immense favour of bringing to the cross, of placing face to face with the example of the Son of God, those who come close to her and contemplate her life. It is in this confrontation that Christian life is decided. And here Mary intercedes for us so that our behaviour may lead to a reconciliation of the younger brother — you and me — with the firstborn Son of the Father.
Many conversions, many decisions to give oneself to the service of God, have been preceded by an encounter with Mary. Our Lady has encouraged us to look for God, to desire to change, to lead a new life. And so “Do whatever he tells you” has turned into real self-giving, into a Christian vocation, which from then on enlightens all our personal life.
Christ is Passing By, 149
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<![CDATA[Two Loves, One Heart]]> “I have preached on countless occasions that we do not have one heart to love God with and another with which to love men. This poor heart of ours, made of flesh, loves with an affection which is human and which, if it is united to Christ’s love, is also supernatural. This, and no other, is the charity we have to cultivate in our souls, a charity which will lead us to discover in others the image of Our Lord.” St. Josemaria Escriva, Friends of God, no. 229

“One love and two precepts; … it is not one charity which loves the neighbor and another which loves God. Hence, there is not another charity: we love God with that same charity with which we love our neighbor. In spite of the fact that God as one object of love and the neighbor as another are loved with one love, those who are loved do not constitute only one object of love. The love of God, therefore, must be granted the first place in our esteem; the love of neighbor, the second place. Yet, we must begin with the second love in order to arrive at the first, ‘for if you do not love your brother whom you see, how can you love God whom you do not see?’” St. Augustine of Hippo, Sermon no. 265


I don’t know if St Josemaria took his inspiration from St Augustine on the numerous occasions when he preached this message. But whether or not the Founder of Opus Dei was inspired by the great Doctor of the Church, the echo is undeniable. Each Saint puts his finger on the tension within every Christian heart between human and divine love. But what each Saint also shows us, as much by their lives as by their preaching, is that the very conflict which threatens to divide the believer’s heart can become the means of a deeper integration if the rift is healed by the grace of Christ.

St Josemaria’s reflection on the right ordering of our ‘two loves’ within a single heart comes from “The Strength of Love,” a homily based on the classic Gospel text in which the Lord Himself makes the distinction between the one love and two precepts: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).

Precisely because our Lord partitions our powers of love between heart, soul, and mind do we need His grace to make them all co-operate, for “Charity is not something we ourselves build up. It invades us along with God’s grace…” (Friends of God, 229). The fact is, fallen people like ourselves are often tempted to compartmentalize areas of life that we find difficult to put together—most especially loving God and neighbor. Since “we must begin with the second love in order to arrive at the first,” special attention must be paid to how well we love our neighbors as ourselves.

St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), with an insight born from personal experience, attests that it is by one’s personal struggle to be pure in heart and chaste in body that this integration of love takes place both within a man and in his relationships with God and neighbor. “Truly it is by continence that we are made as one and regain that unity of self which we lost by falling apart in the search for a variety of pleasures. For a man loves You so much the less if, besides You, he also loves something else which he does not love for Your sake” (Confessions X, 29).

Chastity is true love of self, which cannot help but overflow into a more selfless love of neighbor. But St Augustine does not simply promote the discipline of virtue, he also witnesses to the only power that makes chastity possible. The grace of our Savior is the lone power than can reunite diverging loves in the heart of a redeemed sinner. “There can be no hope for me except in your great mercy. Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will! You command us to control our bodily desires. And, as we are told, when I knew that no man can be master of himself, except of God’s bounty, I was wise enough already to know whence the gift came” (X, 29).

In many ways St Augustine is the icon of the restored man, of the heights to which the grace of Christ can bring fallen man. Although an exceptionally brilliant rhetorician and philosopher, Augustine was held bound for most of his young adult life by the chains of lust, which he graphically described as an “itching sore” (IX, 1). Over time, he kept several mistresses and even fathered a child out of wedlock. Augustine was searching and falling apart in his search.

Interestingly, he describes his search in terms of the very disordered love that Jesus would heal in him: “I searched for you outside myself and, disfigured as I was, I fell upon the lovely things of your creation. You were with me, but I was not with you. The beautiful things of this world kept me far from you and yet, if they had not been in you, they would have had no being at all” (X, 27).

Isn’t this exactly the division that grace needs to heal in all of us? God puts man into a world furnished with an hierarchical order of beautiful creatures, all of which were intended to speak ceaselessly to man about the perfections of God, all of which should lead man’s heart to desire God. After the original sin, however, man became blinded to the inherently divine orientation of creation, so that the world now has the awful power to keep us far from God.

St Josemaria would preach frequently and vigorously not only that this unnatural separation must end but that the Incarnation itself has already put a stop to it. Christians need to receive this fact with open arms and let it transform their lives, as it so profoundly changed the lives of the first generations of disciples. His famous homily Passionately Loving the World is perhaps where these themes are distilled most forcefully: “There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God. We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things. There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him. That is why I can tell you that our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occurrences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them to the service of the Kingdom of God, to spiritualize them, turning them into a means and an occasion for a continuous meeting with Jesus Christ” (114).

St Josemaria does not deny the challenge we face in working against our fallen nature. But both he and Augustine would propose grace as the lens through which Christians must begin to view themselves and the world around them. Grace reveals to human eyes what sin had previously obscured. St Josemaria calls it “discovering that divine something which is hidden in small details,” when we “love God and [our] fellow men by putting love in the little things of everyday life.”
Grace heals our tendency to want to be satisfied with external appearances and passing feelings and challenges us to go deeper into people and situations where the God of love is waiting to be found.

God has so fashioned our hearts that they cannot be entirely satisfied with anything found on this earth: “For You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You” (Confessions 1, 1). This deep-seated tension within “this poor heart of ours, made of flesh,” is God’s doing, as is the grace that heals it.

St Augustine responded so wholeheartedly to the graces of conversion, that traditional Christian iconography has always depicted him with an unusual feature: holding aloft a flaming heart—unusual because it his own heart, and not that of the Savior. Next to images of the Sacred Heart, it is most extraordinary for any saint to be so portrayed, so closely imaging the Savior’s own Heart, invoked in the Litany as the “burning furnace of charity.”
Augustine’s love for God assumed such a fiery tone because his own heart had been healed by the touch of the divine Physician, to whose care he repeatedly submits himself throughout the pages of his Confessions. Augustine very often speaks of his experience of God as a kind of hearth, within which fires are enkindled and cries of love go up like sparks. To take only a few examples: “Come, O Lord, and stir our hearts. Call us back to yourself. Kindle your fire in us and carry us away. Let us scent your fragrance and taste your sweetness. Let us love you and hasten to your side” (VIII, 4).

“The message of your Holy Scriptures has set my heart throbbing, O Lord, and with the meager powers that are mine in this life I struggle hard to understand it” (XII, 1).

“You called me; you cried aloud to me; you broke my barrier of deafness…. I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am inflamed with love of your peace” (X, 27).

“O Love ever burning, never quenched! O Charity, my God, set me on fire with your love!” (X, 29).

After his conversion, we find the same ardor which had kept him entangled in carnal pleasures zealously redirected toward the love of God. Only a heart that has fully surrendered to Christ’s touch, to His searching and probing, can regain the power to love rightly.

________________________________________
Father John Henry Hanson, O.Praem., is a Norbertine priest of St Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California. He entered the community in 1995, earned his STB and Masters in Theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2006. He teaches English and Religion at St Michael's Preparatory School, the boarding school operated by the Norbertine Fathers, preaches retreats, and is part-time chaplain to the cloistered Norbertine Nuns in Tehachapi, California. He and his community are cooperators of Opus Dei.

www.stjosemaria.org
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<![CDATA[Change of workplace]]> The possibility arose that I might move to a different workplace still with the same company. It would be closer to home and with different responsibilities. A friend gave me the Novena for Work and told me to ask St. Josemaria for this favor. At first I just prayed like a spoilt child, “I want, I want, I want…” but on the second day my heart started to change, and I realised that I was in God’s hands. On the fourth day of the novena, I told my coworkers about how I was changing, and said I realised that I was usually taken up with my own needs and never helped others because I was dulled by my own selfishness. By the final days of the prayer, my petition had changed. I did not obtain the change in workplace, but I am absolutely convinced that I’m meant to stay where I am, being the person God wants me to be, being happy in the work I do and with my coworkers, who are so dear to me. So I thank St. Josemaria for being with me, teaching me and guiding me in this process.]]> <![CDATA[The campus restaurant]]> I want to bear witness to a favor from Saint Josemaria that has been granted to me today. I suffer from severe lactose intolerance, and since I could hardly eat anything on offer, I decided not to pay the charge for the university campus restaurant. In support of this decision I submitted to the University a medical certificate of my condition. Last year they sent me three demands for payment saying that they no longer accepted that type of certificate, because there was provision made for lactose intolerance in the campus restaurant (in my opinion, it was totally inadequate). I protested against this demand for payment, because I felt I was being treated unjustly, but I got no reply. I thought the matter had been solved, but two days ago I received a new demand for payment, this time including interest charged on the outstanding amounts. I explained my situation again, and confidently invoked St Josemaria’s intercession, for the University to understand me and cancel the payment demands. I have just received an email saying that I don’t have to pay. Thank you! Thank you, St Josemaria!
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<![CDATA[What is the Church?]]> 1. What is the Church?
The word “Church” (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people (cf. Exodus 19). By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord.”

In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly, but also the local community or the whole universal community of believers. These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 751-752.

Contemplating the mystery
What is most important in the Church is not how we humans react but how God acts. This is what the Church is: Christ present in our midst, God coming toward men in order to save them, calling us with his revelation, sanctifying us with his grace, maintaining us with his constant help, in the great and small battles of our daily life.
Christ is Passing By, no. 131.

People from different countries, different races, and very different backgrounds and professions... When you speak to them about God, you become aware of the human and supernatural value of your vocation as an apostle. It is as if you are re-living, in its total reality, the miracle of the first preaching of Our Lord’s disciples. Phrases spoken in a strange tongue, which open up new ways, have been heard by each one, in the depth of his heart in his own language. And in your mind you can see that scene taking on a new life, in which “Parthians, Medes and Elamites” have come joyfully to God.
Furrow, no. 186.

2. Why was the Church born?
The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life, to which he calls all men in his Son. “The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.”

This “family of God” is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan. In fact, “already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Alliance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, she will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time” (Lumen Gentium, 2).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 759.

Contemplating the mystery
Let us love the Lord our God; let us love his Church, Saint Augustine writes. Let us love Him as our Father, and her as our Mother. (…) What use will it be to someone not to offend his Father, if his Father will avenge his Mother whom he offends? (St Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 88, 2, 14; PL 37, 1140). And Saint Cyprian puts it more briefly: No one can have God as his Father who does not have the Church as his Mother (St Cyprian, De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, 6, PL 4, 502).
The Supernatural Aim of the Church, no. 29

The same thing applies to the lives of institutions, and in a very special way to the life of the Church, which does not follow a precarious human plan but a God-given design. The world’s redemption and salvation are the fruits of Jesus Christ’s loving filial faithfulness to the will of the heavenly Father who sent him, and of our faithfulness to him.
Conversations with Msgr. Escriva, no. 1.

The Church belongs to God and has only one aim, the salvation of souls. Let us draw near to Our Lord and speak to him face to face in our prayer. Let us ask him forgiveness for our personal weaknesses and let us make reparation for our sins and for those of other men who may not realize in this climate of confusion, how gravely they are offending God.
The Supernatural Aim of the Church, no. 33.

3. Who founded the Church?
It was the Son’s task to accomplish the Father’s plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent. “The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures.” To fulfill the Father’s will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church “is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.”

“This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ.” To welcome Jesus’ word is to welcome “the Kingdom itself.” The Church is born primarily of Christ’s total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. “The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus” (Lumen Gentium, 3)
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 763, 764, and 766.

Contemplating the mystery
Christ has given his Church sureness in doctrine and a flow of grace in the sacraments. He has arranged things so that there will always be people to guide and lead us, to remind us constantly of our way. There is an infinite treasure of knowledge available to us: the word of God kept safe by the Church, the grace of Christ administered in the sacraments and also the witness and example of those who live by our side and have known how to build with their good lives a road of faithfulness to God.
Christ is Passing By, no. 34.

Become more Roman day by day. Love that blessed quality which is the ornament of the children of the one true Church, for Jesus wanted it to be so.
The Forge, no. 586.

Christ is alive in his Church. “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” That was what God planned: Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave us the Spirit of truth and life. Christ stays in his Church, her sacraments, her liturgy, her preaching – in all that she does.
Christ is Passing By, no. 102.

4. How does the Church continue Christ’s mission through history?
The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ’s mission and his power, but also in his lot. By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 765.

As the Acts of the Apostles narrates, the twelve Apostles are the most obvious sign of Jesus’ will for the Church’s existence and mission, the guarantee that between Christ and the Church there is no conflict or opposition: they are inseparable, in spite of the sins of those who make up the Church.
The Apostles were aware, because this was what they had received from Jesus, that their mission had to be continued in perpetuity. Accordingly they made sure that they found successors, so that the mission that had been entrusted to them would be continued after their deaths, as the Acts of the Apostles bears witness. They left behind a community that is structured through the apostolic ministry, under the guidance of the legitimate pastors, who build up and sustain the Church in communion with Christ and the Holy Spirit, in whom all men are called to experience the salvation offered by God the Father. (Anon.)

Contemplating the mystery
But what is the Church? Where is the Church? Bewildered and disoriented, many Christians do not find sure answers to these questions. And they come to believe that perhaps the answers which the Magisterium has formulated for centuries – and which good catechisms have proposed with the necessary precision and simplicity – have now been superseded and must be replaced by new ones. (…)
The Church today is the same one Christ founded. It cannot be any other. The Apostles and their successors are the vicars of God with regard to the rule of the Church as instituted through faith and with regard to the sacraments of the faith Hence, just as it is not lawful for them to constitute any other Church, so too it is not lawful for them either to hand down any other faith or to institute any other sacraments. Rather, the Church is said to have been built up with the “sacraments which flowed from the side of Christ hanging on the Cross” (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3, q. 64, a. 2 ad 3).
The Church must be recognised by the four marks in the profession of faith of one of the first Councils, as we pray in the Creed of the Mass: One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed).
These are the essential properties of the Church, which are derived from its nature as Christ intended it. And, being essential, they are also marks, signs, which distinguish it from any other human gathering, even though in the others the name of Christ may be pronounced.
Loyalty to the Church, no. 2.

5. Who belongs to the Church?
The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one (Code of Canon Law, canon 204, 1; cf. Lumen Gentium, 31).

In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each one’s own condition and function (Code of Canon Law, canon 208; cf. Lumen Gentium, 32).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 871-872.

Contemplating the mystery
God’s call, the character conferred by Baptism, and grace mean that every single Christian can and should be a living expression of the faith. Every Christian should be ‘another Christ, Christ himself’, present among men. (…) “It is necessary to restore to Holy Baptism its full significance. By means of this sacrament we are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church... To be a Christian, to have received Baptism, should not be looked upon as something indifferent or of little importance. It should be imprinted deeply and joyously on the conscience of every baptized person” (Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, part 1).
Conversations with Msgr. Escriva, no. 58.

Seeing how so many Christians express their affection for the Virgin Mary, surely you also feel more a part of the Church, closer to those brothers and sisters of yours. It is like a family reunion. Grown-up children, whom life has separated, come back to their mother for some family anniversary. And even if they have not always got on well together, today things are different; they feel united, sharing the same affection.
Christ is Passing By, no. 139.

6. Is it necessary to belong to the Church to be saved?
Christ himself is the mystery of salvation (…). The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church’s sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call “the holy mysteries”). The seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. The Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a “sacrament.”

“The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men” (Lumen Gentium, 1). The Church’s first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men’s communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this unity is already begun, since she gathers men “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues” (Rev 7:9); at the same time, the Church is the “sign and instrument” of the full realization of the unity yet to come.

As sacrament, the Church is Christ’s instrument. “She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all,” “the universal sacrament of salvation,” by which Christ is “at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God’s love for men” Lumen Gentium, 9). The Church “is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 774-776.

Contemplating the mystery
In the Church there is a diversity of ministries, but there is only one aim: the sanctification of men. And in this task all Christians participate in some way, through the character imprinted by the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. We must all feel responsible for the mission of the Church, which is the mission of Christ. He who does not have zeal for the salvation of souls, he who does not strive with all his strength to make the name and doctrine of Christ known and loved, will not understand the apostolicity of the Church.
Loyalty to the Church, no. 15.

The Church has no reason to try to pander to men, since they, individually or in community, cannot save themselves. The only one who saves is God.
The Supernatural Aim of the Church, no. 27

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who founded the holy Church, expects the members of this people to strive continually to acquire sanctity. Not all respond loyally to his call. And in the spouse of Christ, at one and the same time, both the marvel of the way of salvation, and the failings of those who take up that way, are visible.
Loyalty to the Church, no. 6.

7. What is the identity of Christians, the People of God?
The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:

– It is the People of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9)

– One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being “born anew,” a birth “of water and the Spirit” (Jn 3:3-5), that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.

– This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is “the messianic people.”

– “The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple” (Lumen Gentium, 9).

– “Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us” (cf. Jn 13:34). This is the “new” law of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:2; Gal 5:25).

– Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world (Mat 5:13-16). This people is “a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race.”

– Its destiny, finally, “is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 782.

Contemplating the mystery
When the Lord brought you into the Church he put an indelible mark upon your soul through Baptism: you are a son of God. Don’t forget it.
The Forge, no. 264.

God is right there in the centre of your soul, and mine, and in the soul of everyone who is in a state of grace. He is there for a purpose: so that our salt may increase, that we may acquire more light and that each one of us from his place may know how to distribute those gifts of God.
And how can we share out these gifts from God? With humility and piety, and by being very united to our Mother the Church.
Do you not recall the vine and the branches? How fruitful is each branch when united to the vine! What large bunches of grapes! And how sterile the broken-off branch that dries up and becomes lifeless!
The Forge, no. 932.

Pray to God that in the Holy Church, our Mother, the hearts of all may be one heart, as they were in the earliest times of Christianity; so that the words of Scripture may be truly fulfilled until the end of the ages: Multitudinis autem credentium erat cor unum et anima una – the company of the faithful were of one heart and one soul.
I am saying this to you in all seriousness: may this holy unity not come to any harm through you. Take it to your prayer!
The Forge, no. 632.


8. What is the mission of the Church?
The Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.
So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit “bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her” (Lumen Gentium, 4). “Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God”. “The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven” (Lumen Gentium, 48), at the time of Christ’s glorious return. Until that day, “the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world’s persecutions and God’s consolations” (St Augustine, De Civitate Dei, 18, 51; cf. Lumen Gentium, 8).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 767-769.

Contemplating the mystery
How good Christ was to leave the Sacraments to his Church! They are the remedy for all our needs. Venerate them and be very grateful both to God and to his Church.
The Way, no. 521.

Our Holy Mother the Church, in a magnificent extension of love, is scattering the seed of the Gospel throughout the world; from Rome to the outposts of the earth. As you help in this work of expansion throughout the whole world, bring those in the outposts to the Pope, so that the earth may be one flock and one Shepherd: one apostolate!
The Forge, no. 638.

A Christian can’t be caught up in personal problems; he must be concerned about the universal Church and the salvation of all souls.
Christ is Passing By, no. 145.

Charity towards everyone means, therefore, apostolate with everyone. It means we, on our part, must translate into deeds and truth the great desire of God ‘who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth’.
Friends of God, no. 230.

9. What are the Church’s characteristics?
The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf. Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfilment all divisions will be overcome.

The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is “the sinless one made up of sinners.” Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.

The Church is catholic, universal: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is “missionary of her very nature” (Ad Gentes 2).

The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf. Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.

“The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines”(Lumen Gentium 8).
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 866-870.

Contemplating the mystery
We are contemplating the mystery of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. It is time to ask ourselves: Do I share with Christ his zeal for souls? Do I pray for the Church of which I form part, in which I must carry out a specific mission which no one else can do for me? To be in the Church is already much, but it is not enough. We must be the Church, because our Mother must never be a stranger to us, something external, foreign to our deepest thoughts.
Loyalty to the Church, no. 16.

To defend the unity of the Church is to live very united to Jesus Christ who is our vine. How? By growing in fidelity to the perennial Magisterium of the Church: For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not that they should manifest a new doctrine by his revelation, but rather that with his assistance, they should religiously safeguard and faithfully teach the revelation that was handed down through the Apostles – the deposit of faith. By venerating this Mother of ours without stain, and loving the Roman Pontiff, we will preserve unity.
Loyalty to the Church, no. 3.

By seeing ourselves as part of the Church and united to our brothers in the faith, we understand more deeply that we are brothers of all mankind, for the Church has been sent to all the peoples of the earth.
Christ is Passing By, no. 139.
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<![CDATA[1950.9.1]]> “May you be a mortified and Eucharistic man of prayer,” wrote St Josemaría in a letter to Dick Rieman, the first person to join Opus [...]]]> <![CDATA[Pope: Don't be a watered-down Christian]]> Video. (Rome Reports). During Sunday's Angelus prayer, Pope Francis talked about the importance of living out the Gospel. He called on Christians to be the salt of the earth and to not be watered-down Christians. "It's sad to see watered-down Christians. It reminds me of watered-down wine. You don't know if they're Christians or if they're mundane. It's just like watered-down wine. You don't know if it's wine or just water. It's sad.” ]]> <![CDATA[You're giving money and you're giving yourself.]]> Argentina, 1974. St Josemaria was asked, "How can we help others to be more generous with their money?"]]> <![CDATA[Reading The Way in Afghanistan]]> A Portuguese girl tells the Prelate of Opus Dei about a wounded soldier reading The Way, and asks how to make the most of this book.]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> A Life of Prayer]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> The Christian's Hope]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> The Strength of Love]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> Living by Faith]]>