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[Other people and me]]> Our Lord says: ‘I give you a new commandment: Love one another. By this love everyone will know that you are my disciples’.
And Saint Paul: ‘Carry each other’s troubles and you fulfil the law of Christ’.
I have nothing to add.
The Way, 385

How very insistent the Apostle Saint John was in preaching the mandatum novum, the new commandment that we should love one another!
I would fall on my knees, without putting on any act — but this is what my heart dictates — and ask you, for the love of God, to love one another, to help one another, to lend one another a hand, to know how to forgive one another.
And so, reject all pride, be compassionate, show charity; help each other with prayer and sincere friendship.
The Forge, 454

Children of God! A condition which transforms us into something that goes far beyond our being people who merely put up with each other. Listen to what the Lord says: Vos autem dixi amicos! We are his friends who, like him, give our lives for each other, when heroism is needed and throughout our ordinary lives.
Furrow, 750

At times, in their behaviour, some Christians don’t give the commandment of charity the full scope and value it has. In that last wonderful discourse of his, we find Christ surrounded by his chosen ones and leaving them these words as a form of testament: Mandatum novum do vobis, ut diligatis invicem — a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.
Then he went further: In hoc cognoscent omnes quia discipuli mei estis — by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
If only we would make up our minds to live as he wants!
The Forge, 889

Heroism, sanctity, daring, require constant spiritual preparation. You can only ever give to others what you already have. And, to give God to them, you yourself need to get to know him, to live his Life, to serve him.
The Forge, 78

With Respect
Practising charity means respecting other people’s way of thinking. It means rejoicing at their road to God, without trying to make them think like you or joining you.
It occurred to me to put this consideration to you. These other ways are different, but parallel; each person will reach God by following his own way. Don’t get sidetracked in comparisons, or in wanting to know who is higher. That does not matter; what does matter is that we should all attain the end.
Furrow, 757

It’s easier said than done. With that cutting, hatchet-like tongue, have you ever tried, even by chance, to do ‘well’ what, according to your ‘considered’ opinion, others do less well?
The Way, 448

Do not forget that in human affairs other people may also be right: they see the same question as you, but from a different point of view, under another light, with other shades, with other contours.
Only in faith and morals is there an indisputable standard: that of our Mother the Church.
Furrow, 275

My son, where is the Christ that people look for in you? In your pride? In your desire to impose yourself on others? In those defects of character which you don’t wish to overcome? In your stubbornness?... Is Christ to be found there? No, he is not!
You need to have your own personality, agreed. But you should try to make it conform exactly to Christ’s.
The Forge, 468

Think of the good that has been done you throughout your lifetime by those who have injured or attempted to injure you.
Others call such people their enemies. You should imitate the saints, at least in this. You are nothing so special that you should have enemies; so call them “benefactors”. Pray to God for them: as a result, you will come to like them.
The Forge, 802

I would like — help me with your prayer — all of us within Holy Church to feel that we are members of the same body, as the Apostle asks of us. I would like us to be vividly and profoundly aware, without any lack of interest, of the joys, the troubles, the progress of our Mother who is one, holy, catholic, apostolic, Roman.
I would like us to live in unison with one another and all of us with Christ.
The Forge, 630

You show bad spirit if it hurts you to see others work for Christ without regard for what you are doing. Remember this passage in Saint Mark: ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us’.
The Way, 966

With Responsibility
Child of God, what have you done up to now to help the souls around you?
You cannot be content with that passiveness, with that idleness of yours. He wants to reach others through your example, through your words, through your friendship, through your service...
The Forge, 880

Apostolic soul: first of all, yourself. Our Lord has said, through Saint Matthew: ‘When the day of Judgment comes, many will say to me: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: “I have never known you; away from me, you evil men”‘.
God forbid — says Saint Paul — that I, who have preached to others, should myself be rejected.
The Way, 930

Yes, that abuse can be eradicated. It shows lack of character to let it continue as something hopeless, with no possible remedy.
Don’t shirk your duty. Carry it out conscientiously, even though others neglect theirs.
The Way, 36

It is you — in spite of your passions — who have the responsibility for the sanctity of the others, for their Christian behaviour and for their effectiveness.
You are not on your own. If you stop you could be holding up or harming so many people!
The Forge, 470

Many people ask with an air of self-justification: Why should I get involved in the lives of others?
Because it is your Christian duty to get involved in their lives, in order to serve them!
Because Christ has got involved in your life and in mine!
The Forge, 24

Here is a thought to help you in difficult moments. “The more my faithfulness increases, the better will I be able to contribute to the growth of others in that virtue.” How good it is to feel supported by each other!
Furrow, 948

An indispensable requirement in the apostolate is faith, which is often shown by constancy in speaking about God, even though the fruits are slow to appear.
If we persevere and carry on in the firm conviction that the Lord wills it, signs of a Christian revolution will appear around you, everywhere. Some will follow the call, others will take their interior life seriously, and others — the weakest — will at least be forewarned.
Furrow, 207

Once you used to “enjoy” yourself a lot. But now that you bear Christ within you, your whole life has been filled with a sincere and infectious joy. That is why you attract other people.
Get to know Him better, so that you can reach all people.
Furrow, 673

]]>
<![CDATA[A physics question]]> In 2012 I was 16 and was in the fourth year of the Baccalaureate. I failed a very important section of fundamental physics, which I found especially difficult. I began to re-do it and everything went well until the problems got progressively more difficult and there was one that I had to spend a lot of time on. I had attempted it 5 times already and I could not get the solution. I was getting more and more desperate, using the eraser until the piece of paper ended up grey and crumpled. I burst into tears at my own inability to get the solution. Then I remembered that I had a prayer-card of St Josemaria in my pencil-case. I got it out with a lot of faith and, still crying, began praying it in the certainty that he was going to help me. When I finished praying, I dried my tears, took a new piece of paper, sharpened my pencil, took a deep breath, and began to work through the problem again. I was astonished at the way I was able to solve it using a method that maybe I hadn’t applied before. When I got to the solution, it matched the correct answer. I was so excited I started jumping and dancing for joy. I thanked St Josemaria from the bottom of my heart for the favor received. ]]> <![CDATA[I am now working for a finance company]]> I am writing from Medellin, in Colombia. I prayed a novena to St Josemaria Escriva, and I have now been working for a month in a finance company. I give thanks to this wonderful saint. Now I understand that when you pray for something with faith, it is granted. I am writing about this because I found the address on the back of the prayercard and it said to write in with favors received to the office for the causes of the saints of the Opus Dei Prelature. Have a good day!]]> <![CDATA[Thomas, USA ]]> Thomas, 21, lives in Tampa, Florida. He is studying history and literature at Harvard and this year is working for a Real Estate firm. “God keeps me grounded.” ]]> <![CDATA[Chinasa, Nigeria]]> Chinasa is currently living with her husband and two lovely children in Lagos, Nigeria: "God is My Friend. He lives in my heart in grace."]]> <![CDATA[Dasum, Corea]]> Dasom is studying for a Master’s in public administration. She became a Catholic two years ago. “I tell my friends I don't know everything about God, but one thing is clear - He is generous!”]]> <![CDATA[Sofia, Mexico]]> Sofia, 27, is from Monterrey, Mexico. She works as a lawyer, wife and mother: Life "It’s a time God gives us to be happy, do his Will and follow the path that will take us to Heaven at the end of it." ]]> <![CDATA[ St. Josemaria at Work before Sunrise]]> Since 2012, the Mass of St. Josemaría Escrivá has been an annual event at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in V&G Subdivision, Tacloban City, Philippines. In the days leading up to the mass, the parish also has the custom of praying a novena to St. Josemaria’s intercession for work, the family, and the sick. The novena consists in praying together for nine days, meeting in the church a half an hour before the 5:30 daily Mass. It ends on the last day with the celebration of the Mass on June 26th, the feast day of St. Josemaria. For this year’s feast, Margot de Leon, a cooperator of Opus Dei, invited the parishioners to take breakfast with her family at their house following the Mass.

Nida Catubao and her husband Gaudencio helped organize the celebration of the Mass of St. Josemaria in 2012 and continue to attend each year. During the days of the novena, they woke up at 4:00 a.m. to be able to get ready for the day and make it to the novena and mass before work. At the end of the novena, Nida received a very timely favor. Apart from the “official” intentions of the novena, Nida was also praying that she finally be given her birth certificate so that she could obtain her passport and visa for her trip to Spain and Rome for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, in September. She had started processing it in March of this year, but had run into some technical difficulties, complicated furthermore by the fact that Nida was born outside the city. In addition, the various consequences of typhoon Yolanda which hit last November are still very much felt in the province, not least by the governmental offices that process these documents. Things were definitely not in Nida’s favor, and on June 23rd she learned that the earliest she could expect the birth certificate would be in 3 months! This would be too late to make the trip in September.

But Nida was not beset by this news and trusted confidently that St. Josemaría would help her. Then on June 26, in the wee hours of the morning, she was awakened by a telephone ring. It was a call from someone working in a government office, who communicated to her that she would no longer have to wait for 3 more months and would be able to get her birth certificate now! This early call was not an expected one nor is it a common thing. Perhaps St. Josemaría just wanted to show that he works even earlier than the novena before sunrise!
]]>
<![CDATA[Meeting with St Josemaria Escriva in Peru ]]> St. Escriva: Questions & Answers in Cañete, Peru (July, 9 1974)

These are only excerpts of the question and answer portion of the meeting. It shows the fraternal and jovial nature of St. Escriva.

In July 1974, Saint Josemaría Escrivá was in Peru, where he had several informal meetings and get-togethers with people who worked on the land there. A meeting in Valle Grande (http://www.irvg.org/en.html).

Condoray (http://www.josemariaescriva.info/article/condoray-women92s-training-center) had been open since 1963. It is a women's training center situated 145 km from Lima, whose goal is to train people who can then stimulate development among other Cañete Valley families. In Condoray Saint Josemaría told them, among other things, «We have to work joyfully, enthusiastically. You can do that, partly because you are earning money and raising your family; but especially to please God, because work is prayer, work dignifies the worker.»
]]>
<![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.
]]>
<![CDATA[Detachment]]> We read in St Luke’s Gospel (9:59-61): “To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But he said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

Some passages taken from St Josemaría’s homily “Detachment”, published in Friends of God, can help us to meditate on this virtue.

You might say that Our Lord's approach to the mission he received from his Father was to live from day to day, just as he advised his hearers in one of the most divinely challenging statements of his teaching: “Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall clothe it with. Life is a greater thing than food, the body than clothing. See how the ravens never sow nor reap, have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them; have you not an excellence far beyond theirs? ... See how the lilies grow; they do not toil, or spin, and yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God, then, so clothes the grasses which live today in the fields and will feed the oven tomorrow, will he not be much more ready to clothe you, men of little faith?”

Lords of Creation
If only we could live with more trust in divine Providence, strong in faith, in the certainty of God's daily protection which never fails, how many worries and anxieties we would be spared! Then that fretfulness which, as Jesus said, is typical of pagans, of 'the heathen world', that is, of people who lack a supernatural outlook on life, would disappear.

Now that I am confiding in you as a friend, as a priest and as a father, I would like to remind you that in every circumstance of our lives we are, by God's mercy, children of our almighty Father, who is in heaven but who also dwells in the intimacy of our hearts. I would like to engrave upon your minds the conviction that since “your Father well knows what you need,” we have every reason to be optimistic on our journey through this life, with our souls completely detached from those earthly things that seem so very necessary. God will provide.

Believe me, this is the only way to be lords of creation and to avoid the pitiful slavery into which so many people fall because they forget that they are children of God and spend their time worrying about tomorrow or a future that they may never see.

My own experience
Once again, let me share with you a tiny bit of my own experience. I open my heart to you in the presence of God, utterly convinced that I am not a model for anyone, that I am but a piece of old rag, a poor instrument — a deaf and clumsy instrument — which Our Lord has used to show conclusively that He can and does write perfectly, even with the leg of a table.

So, when I am talking about myself, it never occurs to me — in no way whatsoever — to think that there is any merit of mine in what I have done. Even less would I try to press you into following the paths where Our Lord has led me, since it may well be that the Master will not ask you for that which has helped me so much to work unhindered in this Work of God, to which I have dedicated my entire life.

Let me assure you, it's something which I have touched with my own hands and seen with my own eyes, that, if you trust in God's Providence, if you abandon yourselves in his all-powerful arms, you will never lack the means to serve God, his Holy Church and the souls of men; and this without having to neglect any of your duties. You will then rejoice in the joy and peace which mundus dare non potest, which possessing all the goods of the world cannot give.

From the very beginning of Opus Dei in 1928, apart from the fact that I had no human resources whatever, I have never personally controlled even a penny. Nor have I intervened directly in the financial aspects which naturally arise in any project that involves people — men of flesh and blood, not angels — who need material instruments to do their work efficiently.

Opus Dei has needed, and I think it's safe to assume that to the end of time it will always need the generous cooperation of many people in order to maintain its apostolic works. One reason for this is that such activities never show a profit. Another reason is that, even though the number of helpers increases and the work done by my children expands, if there is love of God the apostolate grows and the requests multiply.

And so, more than once I have made my children laugh for, while strongly urging them to respond faithfully to God's grace, I was encouraging them to go to Our Lord and fearlessly ask him for more grace and for the money, the ready cash, that we needed so badly.

Workers, clerks, university students…
In the early years we were short of everything, even the most basic necessities. Attracted by the fire of God, there came to my side workers, clerks, university students, etc., who had no idea of the straits we were in, because in Opus Dei we have always managed, with God's help, to work in such a way that both our sacrifices and our prayers have been both abundant and unnoticed.

When I now look back on those times my heart overflows in humble thanksgiving. What certainty we felt in our souls! We knew that in seeking first the Kingdom of God and his justice, we would be given all the rest as well. And I can assure you that not a single apostolic initiative had to be abandoned for lack of material resources. Wherever it was necessary our Father God, through his ordinary providence, would ensure in one way or another that we got what we required so that we could see that He is always a 'generous paymaster'.

If you want to be your own masters at all times, I advise you to make a very real effort to be detached from everything, and to do so without fear or hesitation. Then, when you go about your various duties, whether personal, family or otherwise, make honest use of upright human means with a view to serving God, his Church, your family, your profession, your country, and the whole of mankind.

Remember that what really matters is not whether you have this or lack that, but whether you are living according to the truth taught us by our Christian faith, which tells us that created goods are only a means, nothing more. So, do not be beguiled into imagining that they are in any way definitive: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where there is rust and moth to consume it, and where there are thieves to break in and steal it. Lay up treasure for yourselves in heaven, where there is no moth or rust to consume it, no thieves to break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart is too.”

When a man tries to build his happiness exclusively around the things of this world, and in this I have witnessed some real tragedies, he perverts their proper use and destroys the order so wisely established by the Creator. As a consequence the heart is left sad and unsatisfied. It starts following paths which lead to everlasting unhappiness and it ends up, even in this world, a slave, the victim of the very same goods which had perhaps been gained at the cost of countless efforts and renunciations.

Where God cannot find a place
But, above all, I recommend you never to forget that God cannot find a place, that he cannot dwell in a heart which is bogged down by a coarse, disorderly and empty love. “No man can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will devote himself to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” “Let us then anchor our hearts in a love that can make us happy... Let us desire the treasures of heaven.”

I am not, of course, encouraging you to give up fulfilling your duties or claiming your rights. On the contrary, for any of us in normal circumstances to retreat on this front would be tantamount to a cowardly desertion from the battle for sanctity to which God has called us.

You should therefore, with a sure conscience, endeavour (above all through your work) to ensure that neither you nor your family lack what is necessary to live with Christian dignity. If at times you feel the pinch of poverty, don't get dejected and don't rebel against it. I do however insist that you should try to use all the upright means available to get over such a situation, because to do otherwise would be to tempt God's providence.

But while you are so fighting, remember too that omnia in bonum! All things, even scarcity and poverty, work together unto the good of those who love God. Get into the habit, from now on, of facing up cheerfully to little shortcomings and discomforts, to cold and heat, to the lack of things you feel you can't do without, to being unable to rest as and when you would like to, to hunger, loneliness, ingratitude, lack of appreciation, disgrace...

Relieving other people’s burdens
It is we, men walking in the street, ordinary Christians immersed in the blood-stream of society, whom Our Lord wants to be saints and apostles, in the very midst of our professional work; that is, sanctifying our job in life, sanctifying ourselves in it and, through it, helping others to sanctify themselves as well.

Be convinced that it is there that God awaits you, with all the love of a Father and Friend. Consider too that, by doing your daily work well and responsibly, not only will you be supporting yourselves financially you will also be contributing in a very direct way to the development of society, you will be relieving the burdens of others and maintaining countless welfare projects, both local and international, on behalf of less privileged individuals and countries.

Taken from the homily “Detachment” published in Friends of God

www.escrivaworks.org

]]>
<![CDATA[Mass of St Josemaria in Dubai]]> As in other places around the world, a Mass in honour of St Josemaria was celebrated in Dubai, on June 15, 2014.

Caterina is Italian and was staying in Dubai on Sunday June 15. She heard that Mass in honour of St Josemaria was being celebrated in one of the two Catholic churches in Dubai and had no hesitation in going. Afterwards she wrote to us about it.

“I had the marvelous opportunity to go to a Mass of St Josemaria in Dubai. It was so moving to take part in it and realise how difficult it is for people in some parts of the world to live up to their calling as Christians – and how much love and self-sacrifice they put into it.

Jackie, a wonderful student from the Philippines who is always energetic and smiling, was the person who organised everything. When I told them I was from Rome they were all fired with the desire to go or return there, to be able to visit the Church of Our Lady of Peace and pray where St Josemaria and Don Alvaro are buried. Some of them are going to Rome when they travel to Don Alvaro’s beatification. I hope to keep in contact with them and that we can meet again in Rome.

It was lovely to be able to take part in today’s celebration – very different from the Mass I usually go to in Sant’Eugenio’s, but with just the same family atmosphere.”]]>
<![CDATA[St. Josemaría, a Teacher of Forgiveness (Part 2)]]> This study published in no. 53 of of the journal Romana, it focuses on some aspects of St. Josemaría’s teachings on forgiveness and their relevance in fostering a peaceful co-existence.

In the first part of this study we discussed St. Josemaría’s teaching about forgiveness, its place in the message of Opus Dei, and how the Founder of the Work lived it personally. Special emphasis was placed on the “liberating newness” of forgiveness and its direct connection with charity. The Christian’s response, says St. Josemaría, should be “to drown evil in an abundance of good” and to open wide one’s arms to all humanity as did Jesus Christ the priest.

In this second part we will consider some key ideas from the homily “Christian Respect for Persons and their Freedom.” Then we will look at how St. Josemaría reacted towards calumnies in his own life. Finally, the study will end with a reference to the practice of forgiveness in contemporary society in striving to foster a culture of peace.


Excerpts of the article. Download the complete article.

1. The homily “Christian Respect for Persons and their Freedom”

This homily, a meditation on “Christian Respect for Persons and their Freedom,”, also includes a reflection on certain events that had left a deep imprint on his own heart, meditated on in the light of charity and a love for freedom and justice.

The connecting thread is the identification of the Christian with Christ in the exercise of charity. “The charity of Christ is not merely a benevolent sentiment for our neighbor... Poured out in our soul by God, charity transforms from within our mind and will. It provides the supernatural foundation for friendship and the joy of doing what is right.” St. Josemaría referred to this progressive transformation of the person who draws close to Christ as “good divinization,” which enables us to overcome evil with good.

The origin of the homily seems to be the misunderstandings that can arise from the “mistaken idea that grants to the public... the right to know and to judge the most intimate details of the lives of others.” He speaks movingly of the twisted interpretation of the actions of other people, who “time and again, over a number of years... have served as a bull’s eye for the target practice of those who specialize in gossip, defamation and calumny.”

St. Josemaría was referring here to his own experience in spreading the message of Opus Dei. The great majority of people understood him, while others who did not share his apostolic methods respected the Founder and his apostolates. “But there will always be a partisan minority who are ignorant of what I and so many of us love. They would like us to explain Opus Dei in their terms, which are exclusively political, foreign to supernatural realities, attuned only to power plays and pressure groups. If they do not receive an explanation that suits their erroneous and twisted taste they continue to allege that here you have deception and sinister designs.”

The calumnies stemmed above all from two sources. First, the inability to understand the novelty of the message of the universal call to holiness in the middle of the world and a certain jealousy regarding the Founder’s apostolic work The second source was the tendency to confuse Opus Dei with a new political or pressure group, erroneously attributing to the Work the free actions of its members in their professional or political activity.

It is in this context that he presents his view of Christian freedom and the right to protect one’s own intimacy, and the harm done to both of these goods by others’ calumnies. At the end, he returns to the connecting thread, charity. When love for God is present, there will also be love for neighbor, respect for each person. “Christian charity cannot be limited to giving things or money to the needy. It seeks, above all, to respect and understand each person for what he is, in his intrinsic dignity as a man and child of God.”

(...)

Charity: from darkness to the light

St. Josemaría then considers the reactions of the person offended, and how to confront calumnies with a Christian spirit, with an attitude of forgiveness. He describes how, by coming to know Jesus, one begins a path of personal transformation that leads to perceiving the dignity of each person, and consequently to a change in one’s outlook and relationships. One begins to live the justice and charity that lead to respecting and loving all men and women, and showing it with deeds.

St. Josemaría compares the effect of charity to the passage from blindness to seeing with a new light. “Among those who do not know Christ, there are many honest persons who have respect for others and know how to conduct themselves properly and are sincere, cordial and refined. If neither they nor we prevent Christ from curing our blindness, if we let our Lord apply the clay which, in his hands, becomes a cleansing salve, we shall come to know earthly realities and we shall look upon the divine realities with new vision, with the light of faith. Our outlook will have become Christian.”

In the final section of the homily, St. Josemaría invites the reader to accept offenses with a Christian spirit, with the resolution “not to judge others, not to doubt their good will, to drown evil in an abundance of good ... Let us forgive always, with a smile on our lips. Let us speak clearly, without hard feelings, when in conscience we think we ought to speak. And let us leave everything in the hands of our Father God, with a divine silence ... if we are confronted with personal attacks.”

2. Attitude in the face of calumnies

a) Humility

The first attitude that we notice in St. Josemaría is the humility that characterized his entire response to the calumnies. The attacks on his reputation facilitated a progressive detachment from himself, already begun in the preceding years. God made use of the campaigns of defamation to lead him by the hand to humility, purification and identification with Christ in his suffering. Recalling a specific moment of special pain, at the beginning of the forties, he said: “There came a moment when I had to go one night to the Tabernacle... and say: Lord (and how much this cost me, since I am very proud, and the tears flowed freely) if you don’t need my honor, why should I want it? Since then I don’t give this any importance.”

Grounded on charity and humility, St. Josemaría summed up his response to these attacks in the following program: “forgive, say nothing, pray, work, and smile.”


b) Forgiving and praying

St. Josemaría strove to react to calumnies by always forgiving from the first moment and praying for those who attacked you. Well aware of his human weakness and knowing that he was capable of “every horrible deed and mistake,” he realized that God was always forgiving him, holding out his hand to lift him up. And if God is always ready to forgive us like that, Christians should do the same, and always as well.

“I could see that his reaction to the attacks, some of which were quite brutal, was always supernatural and full of charity. But I would like to make clear that this wasn’t in any sense a passive or stoic reaction. He reacted energetically, with a lot of prayer and mortification ... and with complete trust in God.”

As we have already seen, the decision to forgive brings with it a great freedom. This liberation, from the psychological point of view, is reinforced by the fact of praying for the aggressor: it displaces the center of attention from oneself to the other person. We no longer see ourselves as the “victim,” but put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and perhaps come to understand that we too may have been at fault in the souring of that relationship. Praying for those who attack us also strengthens our decision to forgive and closes the doors on vengeance.

c) A time to be quiet

St. Josemaría made a distinction between the calumnies that were directed against himself, and those aimed at the Church or Opus Dei.
If they were directed at himself, he didn’t try to defend himself. He opted for the attitude of silence, imitating Christ in his Passion: “He, personally, never defended himself, imitating in an eminent way the example of our Divine Master: Iesus autem tacebat.”

St. Josemaría wrote in The Way: “Jesus remains silent. Jesus autem tacebat. Why do you speak, to console yourself, or to excuse yourself? —Say nothing. Seek joy in contempt: you will always receive less than you deserve. —Can you, by any chance, ask: Quid enim mali feci, what evil have I done?”

The silence we are speaking of is an exterior silence. In his heart there would have been an intense dialogue with God, a progressive identification with Christ.

d) A time to speak

Therefore, when the attacks were not directed against himself, but against the Church or against Opus Dei, his sense of justice led him to intervene and speak to those responsible. St. Josemaría had a deep awareness of his responsibility before God that the foundational charism remain clear and not lose its integrity in being handed on.

The calumnies against the Work placed in danger both the spirit and the very existence of the institution, above all in the first moments of its life.

Therefore, as founder, he saw himself with a debt of justice to come to the defense of the Work and of his spiritual children. In these cases, factors distinct from himself came into play: the charism of Opus Dei, the persons who had joined the new foundation and others who participated in its apostolates. “These were moments when unbelievably some persons wanted to destroy the Work or hinder its development. Josemaría employed all the means to make the truth clear and not leave anyone in error, since this was a requirement of charity. Afterwards, towards the persons involved, he always showed understanding. I never heard him speak badly of anyone.”

e) Working and smiling

One of the effects of calumny is its paralyzing power. It acts like a poison in the central nervous system of the soul. The victims, in seeing their reputation damaged, feel as though the earth were opening under their feet and they have no solid ground to stand on. They “do not know where to turn. They are frightened. They do not believe it is possible, they wonder if the whole thing is not a nightmare.”

To respond by working overcomes the danger of paralysis that calumny can give rise to. Working helps to avoid sterile complaints, to not waste time criticizing one’s adversaries or become obsessed with the calumny. As we have already pointed out, his response was never a passive one but a dynamic response, based on “complete confidence in God,” of prayer and work. Working meant being able to defend the truth whenever necessary, and to transmit faith and confidence to his children, urging forward the development of the apostolates.

As Bishop Santos Moro testified: “I admired his patience and his determination to continue pressing forward without wavering, carrying out God’s Will, with absolute trust in Him.”


3. Forgiveness and a culture of peace

Forgiveness has to be practiced in one’s daily life, in marriage, in the family, in school, in one’s friendships, at work, in all situations. Forgiveness should be a daily experience in one’s “lifestyle” as a Christian.

The unity of life that St. Josemaría preached, which is a call to consistency in Christian life, requires living forgiveness always and from the first moment. For if one fails to practice forgiveness in one’s daily life, a small offense can quickly give rise to negative feelings and a lack of communication.

It has sometimes been said that one needs to “learn to forgive.” But perhaps, since charity is the source of forgiveness, it would be better to say that one has to learn to love: to love God and, with his love, to love our neighbor, even if he offends us. A person who doesn’t forgive doesn’t know how to love.

“Our responsibility is great, because to be Christ’s witness implies first of all that we should try to behave according to his doctrine, that we should struggle to make our actions remind others of Jesus and his most lovable personality. We have to act in such a way that others will be able to say, when they meet us: this man is a Christian, because he does not hate, because he is willing to understand, because he is not a fanatic, because he is willing to make sacrifices, because he shows that he is a man of peace, because he knows how to love.”

Download the complete article.
]]>
<![CDATA[1974.7.24]]> “Illness is a very great gift. I have seen so many people who were really happy in their sufferings. (…) When sick people learn to [...]]]> <![CDATA[Who was Josemaria Escrivá]]> A brief bio of Saint Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. ]]> <![CDATA[Pope calls for prayers for Iraq and Ukraine]]> Pope Francis conveyed his concern, during the Sunday Angelus, for Christians in the Middle East, especially those forced to flee form the Iraqi city of Mosul. ]]> <![CDATA[The Eucharist: "I believe that You are here."]]> Barcelona, 1972. St Josemaria reminds us that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. Praying before the tabernacle with that attitude means making an act of faith. ]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> A Life of Prayer]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> The Christian's Hope]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> The Strength of Love]]> <![CDATA[AUDIO]]> Living by Faith]]>