Josemaria Escriva. Founder of Opus Dei - Opus Dei founder St Josemaria Escriva, his life day by day, teachings on holiness, apostolate, laity, Catholic Church. Testimonies from Opus Dei members <![CDATA[Masses Around the World on the Occasion of the Feast of St Josemaría Escriva]]> Just one month away from June 26, the day when the Church commemorates the feast of St Josemaria Escriva, an interactive map is available with information about the Masses to be celebrated on or around his feast-day. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Opus Dei founder's death in Rome on June 26, 1975, and for the first time a Mass of St Josemaria will be celebrated in Athens, Greece.]]> <![CDATA[Marriage: a christian vocation]]> Download pdf of the homily "Marriage: a christian vocation", given by St Josemaria in Christmas 1970.

"For a Christian marriage is not just a social institution, much less a mere remedy for human weakness. It is a real supernatural calling. A great sacrament, in Christ and in the Church, says St Paul. At the same time, it is a permanent contract between a man and a woman. Whether we like it or not, the sacrament of matrimony, instituted by Christ, cannot be dissolved. It is a permanent contract that sanctifies in cooperation with Jesus Christ. He fills the souls of husband and wife and invites them to follow him. He transforms their whole married life into an occasion for God's presence on earth.

Husband and wife are called to sanctify their married life and to sanctify themselves in it. It would be a serious mistake if they were to exclude family life from their spiritual development. The marriage union, the care and education of children, the effort to provide for the needs of the family as well as for its security and development, the relationships with other persons who make up the community, all these are among the ordinary human situations that christian couples are called upon to sanctify.

They will achieve this aim by exercising the virtues of faith and hope, facing serenely all the great and small problems which confront any family, and persevering in the love and enthusiasm with which they fulfil their duties. In this way they practice the virtue of charity in all things. They learn to smile and forget about themselves in order to pay attention to others. Husband and wife will listen to each other and to their children, showing them that they are really loved and understood. They will forget about the unimportant little frictions that selfishness could magnify out of proportion. They will do lovingly all the small acts of service that make up their daily life together.

The aim is this: to sanctify family life, while creating at the same time a true family atmosphere. Many christian virtues are necessary in order to sanctify each day of one's life. First, the theological virtues, and then all the others: prudence, loyalty, sincerity, humility, industriousness, cheerfulness.... But when we talk about marriage and married life, we must begin by speaking clearly about the mutual love of husband and wife."

Read complete.
<![CDATA[The Blessed Trinity]]> Learn to praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Learn to have a special devotion to the Blessed Trinity: I believe in God the Father, I believe in God the Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit; I hope in God the Father, I hope in God the Son, I hope in God the Holy Spirit; I love God the Father, I love God the Son, I love God the Holy Spirit. I believe in, I hope in and I love the most Holy Trinity.
This devotion is much needed as a supernatural exercise for the soul, expressed by the movement of the heart, although not always in words.
The Forge, 296

God is with you. The Blessed Trinity dwells in your soul in grace.
That is why, in spite of your wretchedness, you can and should keep up a continuous conversation with the Lord.
The Forge, 261

Talking to each of the divine Persons
We started out with the simple and attractive vocal prayers that we learned as children, prayers we want never to abandon. Our prayer, which began so child-like and ingenuous, now opens out into a broad, smooth-flowing stream, for it follows the course of friendship with him who said: ‘I am the way.’ If we so love Christ, if with divine daring we take refuge in the wound opened in his side by the lance, then the Master’s promise will find fulfilment: ‘Whoever loves me, keeps my commandments, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our dwelling in him.’
Our heart now needs to distinguish and adore each one of the divine Persons. The soul is, as it were, making a discovery in the supernatural life, like a little child opening his eyes to the world about him. The soul spends time lovingly with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and readily submits to the work of the life-giving Paraclete, who gives himself to us with no merit on our part, bestowing his gifts and the supernatural virtues!
Friends of God, 306

God our Father
Children... How they seek to behave worthily in the presence of their parents.
And the children of kings, in the presence of their father the king, how they seek to uphold the royal dignity!
And you? — Don’t you realize that you are always in the presence of the great King, God, your Father?
The Way, 265

Jesus Christ
Jesus is the way, the mediator. In him are all things; outside of him is nothing. In Christ, taught by him, we dare to call God our Father — he is the Almighty who created heaven and earth, and he is a loving Father who waits for us to come back to him again and again, as the story of the prodigal son repeats itself in our lives.
Christ is Passing By, 91

The Holy Spirit
Get to know the Holy Spirit, the great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification.
Don’t forget that you are God’s temple. The Advocate is in the centre of your soul: listen to him and be docile to his inspirations.
The Way, 57

Don’t confine yourself to speaking to the Paraclete. Listen to him as well.
When you pray, consider how the life of childhood which enabled you to realise more deeply that you are a son of God filled you with a filial love for the Father. Think how, before that, you have gone through Mary to Jesus, whom you adore as his friend, as his brother, as his lover, for that is what you are.
After receiving this advice you realised that until now you had known that the Holy Spirit was dwelling in your soul, to sanctify it. But you hadn’t really grasped this truth about his presence. You needed that advice. Now you feel his Love within you, and you want to talk to him, to be his friend, to confide in him. You want to facilitate his work of polishing, uprooting, and enkindling.
I wouldn’t know how to set about it, you thought. Listen to him, I insist. He will give you strength. He will do everything, if you so want. And you do want!
Pray to him: Divine Guest, Master, Light, Guide, Love, may I make you truly welcome inside me and listen to the lessons you teach me. Make me burn with eagerness for you, make me follow you and love you.
The Forge, 430

Our Lady
Talk to the Three Persons, to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit. And so as to reach the Blessed Trinity, go through Mary.
The Forge, 543

How people like to be reminded of their relationship with distinguished figures in literature, in politics, in the army, in the Church!... Sing to the Immaculate Virgin, reminding her: Hail Mary, daughter of God the Father: Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son: Hail Mary, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit...
Greater than you, none but God!
The Way, 496 ]]>
<![CDATA[The Visitation]]> Gospel of St. Luke
Now in those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town of Juda. And she entered the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe in her womb leapt. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished.”
(Luke 1:39-45)

Keep Mary Company
By now, my little friend, you have no doubt learned to get along by yourself. —Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary company... and you will hear the traditions of the House of David:
You will hear of Elizabeth and Zachary, you will be moved by Joseph’s pure love, and your heart will pound whenever there is mention of the Child who will be born in Bethlehem...
We walk in haste towards the mountains, to a town of the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:39).
We arrive. —It is the house where John the Baptist is to be born. —Elizabeth gratefully hails the Mother of her Redeemer: Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! —How have I deserved to be thus visited by the Mother of my Lord? (Luke 1:42-43)
The unborn Baptist quivers... (Luke 1:41) —Mary's humility pours forth in the Magnificat... —And you and I, who are proud —who were proud—, promise to be humble.
Holy Rosary, 2

“Blessed are you for believing”, said Elizabeth to our Mother. Union with God, supernatural virtue, always brings with it the attractive practice of human virtues: Mary brought joy to her cousin's home, because she brought Christ.
Furrow, 566

Turn your eyes towards the Blessed Virgin and see how she practises the virtue of loyalty. When Elizabeth needs her, the Gospel says that she went cum festinatione, — joyfully making haste. Learn from her!
Furrow, 371

She teaches us to have faith
She teaches us to have faith. 'Blessed art thou for thy believing,' were the words of greeting uttered by her cousin Elizabeth when Our Lady went up into the hill country to visit her. Mary's act of faith had been a wonderful one, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.'
Friends of God, 284

It is a peace that comes from knowing that our Father God loves us, and that we are made one with Christ. It results from being under the protection of the Virgin, our Lady, and assisted by St Joseph. This is the great light that illuminates our lives. In the midst of difficulties and of our own personal failings, it encourages us to keep up our effort. Every christian home should be a place of peace and serenity. In spite of the small frustrations of daily life, an atmosphere of profound and sincere affection should reign there together with a deep-rooted calm, which is the result of authentic faith that is put into practice.
Christ is Passing By, 22]]>
<![CDATA[The Message of Saint Josemaria]]> Videoclip documentary about Opus Dei and its founder, St Josemaria. It starts with the voice of St John Paul II on the day of St Josemaria’s beatification, May 17, 1992. Includes previously unpublished clips of the Mass that St Josemaria celebrated on the campus of the University of Navarre, October 8, 1967.

Images from the documentary “Dialogues with a Saint”, Betafilms 2005.]]>
<![CDATA[Bishop Romero was a Man of God]]> By Rodrigo Ayude.

Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified on May 23rd in San Salvador. Msgr. Joaquin Alonso recalls a meeting in Rome in 1974 between Archbishop Oscar Romero and Saint Josemaria, which gave him the opportunity to get to know the future Blessed quite well.

Msgr. Joaquin Alonso (Seville, 1929) studied law at the university and holds a doctorate in canon law. He lived alongside Saint Josemaria in Rome and has worked closely with the current Prelate of Opus Dei for many years. A consultor theologian for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, he has spent the last 62 years of his life in Rome.

Msgr. Alonso, how did you come to know the future Blessed Oscar Romero?

I met him in Rome, in 1974. On October 30 of that year he came to Rome (it wasn't his first trip here). Saint Josemaria had agreed to meet with him on November 8, and he asked me to do all I could to assist him. He had just been named bishop of Santiago de Maria, in El Salvador, a few days before undertaking the trip.

Bishop Romero remarked to me that his trip to the Eternal City was providential, since it was an opportunity to leave behind his habitual environment and get a broader perspective, as he put it, on the small corner of the world that was his responsibility back home. He felt keenly the weight of his responsibility for his new episcopal see, and he needed someone who could listen to his concerns and give him encouragement.

Do you have any specific memories of those days?

For me this visit was an opportunity to speak with Bishop Romero at length and get to know him quite well. Our conversations were fraternal and very priestly. Among other things, Bishop Oscar Romero told me that, since the early 60s, he had been receiving spiritual direction from a priest of Opus Dei, Fr. Juan Aznar, who died in March 2004.

Later I came to know more details about his relationship with Fr. Juan Aznar. For example, he told him in a letter written in 1970: “You are the only person who truly understands my soul." And in 1973, when sending Christmas greetings, he remarked: “I never forget your wise counsels." Blessed Oscar Romero was a priest filled with gratitude, and I was moved to learn that he had died precisely when celebrating the Eucharist, the highest act of thanksgiving.

How did the meeting between Bishop Romero and Saint Josemaria go?

Saint Josemaria received him on the 8th of November. Their conversation lasted almost an hour and, when it ended, Bishop Romero told me that he had been deeply moved. He said that he had felt strengthened in his faith by Saint Josemaria's words and that the founder of Opus Dei had embraced him, making him feel loved and accompanied. Bishop Romero called Saint Josemaria a “man of God" and took advantage of their meeting to invite him to come to Central America, which in fact became a reality in 1975.

Bishop Romero also had the opportunity on that trip to greet Blessed Paul VI, and he was happy to receive some words of encouragement from him. Afterwards he told me that this trip reminded him of his first years as a priest and seemed to him a gift from God.

Did his contact with you continue in later years?

I remember that on June 26, 1978, the third anniversary of Saint Josemaria's transit to heaven, he came to celebrate Holy Mass in the crypt of
Our Lady of Peace
, where the founder's mortal remains were then residing. I attended his Mass, along with Msgr. Francisco Vives. He gave a short homily filled with affection and gratitude to Saint Josemaria, and said that, right from the first moment of meeting him, he felt treated as a brother. And he also wrote these words in a letter.

As I said, this took place in 1978, a year after he had been named Archbishop of San Salvador. At that time, as he himself made known publicly, another priest of Opus Dei, Msgr. Fernando Saenz, was giving him spiritual guidance.

How did you react to news of his death?

The tragic news was a great shock to me, while it also led me to want to accompany him with my prayer and have recourse to his intercession to ask for the Church in Latin America. I also gave thanks to God for the opportunity to get to know personally this man of God.

<![CDATA[Who is the Holy Spirit?]]> On the feast of Pentecost, the Church celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. Who is the Holy Spirit? What was the descent of the Holy Spirit like? How does He act in the lives of Christians? What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

1. What was the descent of the Holy Spirit like?
St Luke narrates the descent of the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles, chapters 1 and 2. Before his Ascension Jesus commanded the disciples “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit. (…) When the holy Spirit comes upon you, (…) you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Some days later, St Luke continues, “they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues.”

That day, the Blessed Trinity was fully revealed, and from then on the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to all who believe in Him.

Contemplating the mystery
St Luke tells us that after St Peter had spoken and proclaimed Christ’s resurrection, many of those present came up to him and asked: “Brethren, what shall we do?” The Apostle answered: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And on that day, the sacred text tells us, about three thousand were added to the Church.
Having just read in the Acts of the Apostles about Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit came down on the Lord’s disciples, we are conscious of being present at the great display of God’s power with which the Church’s life began to spread among all nations. The victory Christ achieved through his obedience, his offering of himself on the Cross and his Resurrection – his triumph over death and sin – is revealed here in all its divine splendour. Christ is Passing By, no. 127

A sure way to be humble is to contemplate how, even without talents, fame or fortune, we can be effective instruments if we go to the Holy Spirit so that He may grant us his gifts. The apostles, though they had been taught by Jesus for three years, fled in terror from the enemies of Christ. But after Pentecost they let themselves be flogged and imprisoned, and ended up giving their lives in witness to their faith.
Furrow, no. 283

Help me to pray for a new Pentecost, which will once again set the world on fire.
Furrow, no. 213

2. Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. He is God with the Father and the Son, and “with the Father and the Son [he] is adored and glorified”, as the Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed has proclaimed from of old. Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Church’s faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 687-689

Contemplating the mystery
Our heart now needs to distinguish and adore each one of the divine Persons. The soul is, as it were, making a discovery in the supernatural life, like a little child opening his eyes to the world about him. The soul spends time lovingly with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and readily submits to the work of the life-giving Paraclete, who gives himself to us with no merit on our part, bestowing his gifts and the supernatural virtues!
Friends of God, no. 306

The disciples, witnesses of the glory of the risen Christ, were filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Their minds and hearts were opened to a new light. They had followed Christ and accepted his teachings with faith, but they were not always able to fathom the full meaning of his words. The Spirit of truth, who was to teach them all things, had not yet come. They knew that Jesus alone could give them words of eternal life, and they were ready to follow him and to give their lives for him. But they were weak, and in the time of trial, they fled and left him alone. On Pentecost all that is a thing of the past. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of strength, has made them firm, strong, daring. The word of the Apostles resounds forcefully through the streets of Jerusalem.
Christ is Passing By, no. 127

3. What is the proper name for the Holy Spirit and what are his titles?
The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. On the other hand, “Spirit” and “Holy” are divine attributes common to the three divine Persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible Person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms “spirit” and “holy.”

The titles of the Holy Spirit
When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the “Paraclete,” literally, “he who is called to one’s side,” advocatus or advocate. “Paraclete” is commonly translated by “consoler,” and Jesus is the first consoler. The Lord also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth.” Besides the proper name of “Holy Spirit,” which is most frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the promise, the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirit of God – and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 691-693

Contemplating the mystery
Get to know the Holy Spirit, the great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification. Don’t forget that you are God’s temple. The Advocate is in the centre of your soul: listen to him and be docile to his inspirations.
The Way, no. 57

4. What symbols of the Holy Spirit are there in Sacred Scripture?
Water: the water of Baptism signifies the action of the Holy Spirit in the soul. Fire, because in the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself. Spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions. The dove, because when Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. This image is the one that is most used in art to represent the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 694-701

Contemplating the mystery
As a bookmark for whatever book he happened to be reading, he always used a strip of paper with this motto written on it in a bold and energetic hand: Ure igne Sancti Spiritus! You could almost say that, rather than writing the words, he had engraved them: “Inflame with the fire of the Holy Spirit!” O Christian, I would like to leave that divine fire engraved on your soul and burning on your lips and blazing in your works.
The Forge, no. 923

Interior dryness is not lukewarmness. When a person is lukewarm the waters of grace slide over him without being soaked in. In contrast, there are dry lands which seem arid but which, with a few drops of rain at the right time, yield abundant flowers and delicious fruit. That is why I ask: When are we going to be convinced? How important it is to be docile to the divine calls which come at each moment of the day, because it is precisely there that God is awaiting us!
The Forge, no. 224

5. What is the mission of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in the history of the Redemption?
Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world. He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus, to the Samaritan woman, and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles. To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer, as St Luke tells us at chapter 11, verse 13 of his Gospel: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” And when he explains to them the witness they will have to bear, he says: “When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10:19-20).
Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 728, 689-690

Contemplating the mystery
This is what Our Lord wants, for we need it if we are to follow him closely. There is no other way. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in each soul – in yours. Be docile and present no obstacles to God, until he makes your poor flesh like that of Jesus on the Cross.
Furrow, no. 978

Like the men and women who came up to Peter on Pentecost, we too have been baptized. In baptism, our Father God has taken possession of our lives, has made us share in the life of Christ, and has given us the Holy Spirit. Holy Scripture tells us that God has saved us “through the baptism of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit; whom he has abundantly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour, in order that, justified by his grace, we may be heirs in hope to life everlasting” (Titus 3:5-7).
Christ is Passing By, no. 128

6. How does the Holy Spirit act in Christian’s lives?
“No-one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless the Spirit moves him,” says St Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians. And in the Letter to the Galatians he says, “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba! Father!’” Knowledge of the Faith is not possible except in the Holy Spirit. To come in contact with Christ we must first have been drawn to him by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit – the whole of the Blessed Trinity – comes to dwell in our souls through the sacrament of Baptism. The Holy Spirit with his grace is the one who first awakens faith in us and initiates us into the new life that consists of coming to know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 737-742

Contemplating the mystery
It is worth while putting our lives on the line, giving ourselves completely, so as to answer to the love and the confidence that God has placed in us. It is worth while, above all, to decide to take our Christian life seriously. When we recite the Creed, we state that we believe in God the Father Almighty, in his Son Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life. We affirm that the Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, is the body of Christ, enlivened by the Holy Spirit. We rejoice in the forgiveness of sins and in the hope of the resurrection. But do those words penetrate to the depths of our own hearts? Or do they remain only on our lips? The divine message of victory, the joy and the peace of Pentecost, should be the unshakeable foundation for every Christian’s way of thinking and acting and living.
Christ is Passing By, no. 129

A thought which brings peace to the heart and which the Holy Spirit suggests to those who seek the will of God: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” What can worry the soul that sincerely repeats these words?
The Way, no. 760

7. What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
The gifts that the Holy Spirit pours into the souls of Christians complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations in their daily activity. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1830-1831

Contemplating the mystery
The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the soul’s sweet guest, pours out his gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and the fear of the Lord. Then one experiences joy and peace.
Friends of God, no. 92

Through the gift of piety, the Holy Spirit helps us to realise with certainty that we are children of God. And, being children of God, how can we be sad? Sadness is the end product of selfishness. If we truly want to live for God, we will never lack cheerfulness, even when we discover our errors and wretchedness. Cheerfulness finds its way into our life of prayer, so much so that we cannot help singing for joy. For we are in love, and singing is a thing that lovers do.
Friends of God, no. 92

Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I would say that there is one which we all need in a special way: the gift of wisdom. It makes us know God and rejoice in his presence, thereby placing us in a perspective from which we can judge accurately the situations and events of this life. (…) Not that the Christian should neglect to see all that is good in humanity, appreciate its healthy joys or participate in its enthusiasm and ideals. On the contrary, a true Christian will vibrate in unison with all the good he finds in the world. And he will live in the midst of it with a special concern, since he knows, better than anyone, the depth and the richness of the human spirit.
Christ is Passing By, no. 133

8. Why do we say that the Holy Spirit prepared Mary with his grace?
The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” should herself be “full of grace.” In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father’s loving goodness. With and through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit’s power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful. Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God’s merciful love, into communion with Christ.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 721-726

Contemplating the 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. For myself, I crown the Mother of God and my Mother with my purified failings, since I have no precious stones or virtues. Take courage!
The Forge, no. 285

Mary becomes transformed in holiness in the depths of her most pure heart on seeing the humility of God: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you; and therefore the Holy One to be born of you shall be called the Son of God.” The Blessed Virgin’s humility is a consequence of that unfathomable depth of grace which comes into operation with the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in the womb of his ever Immaculate Mother.
Friends of God, no. 96

See further: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), Chapter 3: I Believe in the Holy Spirit, nos. 683-686.
<![CDATA[A very special kind of family vacation]]> “The family is the wellspring of all fraternity, and as such it is the foundation and the first pathway to peace, since, by its vocation, it is meant to spread its love to the world around it” (Pope Francis, Message for the 47th World Day of Peace, 1 January 2014).

Lucy and her family are Mexican. For the past 15 years, they have spent every Holy Week participating in a Family Rural Project. They have discovered that vacations are primarily family activities and therefore an ideal opportunity to grow together as a family, or in other words, that after their vacations they should each be a slightly better person.

What are “Family Rural Projects”?
They are social projects that the whole family takes part in, joining up with other families. The aim is to spend some days of our vacations working together, and also sharing the religious services and celebrations of Holy Week and Easter with people in need.

The idea is for everyone in the family to pitch in, from the youngest to the grandparents if they want to. We’ve had 4-month-old babies with us, because when you’ve got 100 people there are always some arms to look after them. Grandparents have a lot they can contribute. The first year, a lovely grandmother took charge of giving a homely touch to the camp, and she organised the cooking, the housework, tidying up, all of that. Another year, a grandfather brought fruit-tree saplings and went round all the houses in the village with his spade, planting the young trees, with his grandchildren. Everyone has a skill to offer, and teams are quickly formed: painters, bricklayers, hairdressers, dressmakers, teachers, family counsellors, doctors and more.

Why do you and your family choose to spend Holy Week “on the peripheries”, as Pope Francis puts it?
We realised that in the city, the Holy Week vacation was turning into yet another time of entertainment in unchristian surroundings, and that the religious meaning and practice of Holy Week and Easter were being ignored. So we thought of going to the countryside, so that we could take part in the religious ceremonies and celebrate together with friends. Generally speaking, in Mexican country villages the Holy Week ceremonies are beautifully done and each has its own local tradition. Then we saw a way of making the best of them, and if we also find that the poorest people are living in those little villages, then we could do something to help and not just ignore them.

Pope Francis has given a new impetus to all of this, because he keeps shaking us up with his teachings on charity and setting us an example himself on how to overcome our indifference and go out to people who are lonely, sick, and in need – to get out of ourselves.

What difference has this project made to your family?
It’s a way of teaching virtue without saying a single word. Virtues like sobriety, resilience, generosity, piety, etc. The kids see that their dads and moms can sleep in tents, and repair the roof her house for an old lady, make up a sick person’s bed for them, eat the food that has been cooked for 100 people without any rude remarks or asking for anything special for themselves, look after someone else’s children to give them a chance to rest or pray or take part in some other activity. So there are very many ways of putting into practice all the virtues involved in living together and getting on with others, in charity.

When the children are young they quickly get interested in coming on the project, and they always come home saying it was the best vacation ever. When they get a bit older, you need to find other ways to persuade them to come – by inviting some of their friends, or their boyfriend or girlfriend, to come too. Like that the number of people taking part keeps going up, because then those friends get their own families to start going. This year Tomas, 13, invited several of his classmates along, and their moms called us saying that they wanted to come with the whole family because of Tomas’s invitation.

What do St Josemaria’s teachings add to your family life?
His teachings are like the compass that orientates my spiritual life, and they provide the drive for my family, social and professional life. In St Josemaria’s life and work I find an answer to every situation I go through, a helpful suggestion in times of success or failure – plenty of those for me! – and a word of timely advice whenever I have to take a decision.

Many of St Josemaria’s teachings are about helping those in need, and teaching catechism, which is exactly what we are doing in these Family Rural Projects. From the time when he was a very young man, St Josemaria used to visit the poorest districts of Madrid to teach catechism classes and visit the poor and the sick. He would often take a group of university students and pass on to them his own experience: what sort of services they could offer on the material plane, what advice and consolation they could give, etc. All of that is contained in his teachings.

Pope Francis talks about how the Church needs happy families, and he is asking all Christians to pray for the upcoming Synod on the Family. What can families do to build their own happiness?
You build happiness in the family by filling the ordinary everyday things with love, so that things that look insignificant actually become unique, marking the lives of every family member. Vacations and trips can be filled with love and affection. And if you take them together with other families, each contributing their own uniqueness, then you’ve got stories and memories to laugh over for the rest of the year.

<![CDATA[May, the Month of Mary]]> The Catholic faith sees Mary as a sign of God's special love. God calls us his friends; his grace acts in us, winning us from sin, enabling us to reflect in some way the features of Christ. We start wanting to speak to her, who is also our mother. ]]> <![CDATA[What is a Pilgrimage? How do You do One?]]> In the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, pilgrimages are frequently organized to her shrines, to visit her and honour her as our Mother.]]> <![CDATA[Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage]]> Download pdf.

The Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage is a publication from the St. Josemaria Institute, inspired by Saint Josemaria's desire to help all married couples, and those preparing for marriage, to find meaning and encouragement in their vocation through a commitment to daily prayer and friendship with God, especially when facing inevitable difficulties and times of trial.

The novena reflections are all taken from the homily by Saint Josemaria Escriva, Marriage: A Christian Vocation, published in the book Christ is Passing By (Scepter Publishers, 1974).

Who should pray the Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage?
The Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage is ideal for those who are thinking about marriage as a vocation, for engaged couples, and for married couples.

How to pray the Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage:
- Choose a date and time (e.g. end of day, after dinner) to start the novena.
- Read the reflection of the day slowly in front of a crucifix or image of the Holy Family.
- Meditate on the reading and ask God to let you see what you need to understand.
- Pray one of the two prayers indicated for the day (for the married or engaged).
- End with the Prayer for the Family and ask God for your specific request(s).

Printed copies can be ordered from:
St. Josemaria Institute
4340 Cross Street, Suite 1
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 541-9742]]>
<![CDATA[A Job for My Daughter]]> I live in Murcia. I am the father of three daughters: A., 25, is a doctor; L, 23, qualified as a dental hygienist last December with high marks; and C., 15, is still at school. L. received a favor from St Josemaria which I want to relate here.

As everyone knows, in Spain at present it is especially hard for young people to get jobs when they have no work experience and need to start work. For example, I have two nephews, one a journalist and the other a physiotherapist, who have had to go abroad to find work. Well, my daughter L. wanted to get a job no matter what it was, though obviously she would prefer to work at a dentist’s practice as a dental hygienist, and, if possible, near Murcia so that she would not have to spend most of her salary on travelling to and from work. She had already had two jobs, one in a fast-food outlet and one in a bar. That was before she trained as a dental hygienist. Naturally, I prayed a lot for a job for my daughter, but it seemed that there was still more to be done. Some time ago I put the St. Josemaria app on my mobile. One day I realized that it had a section about novenas, and one of them was the “Novena for work” to get a job or learn to work better, though St. Josemaria’s intercession. So I started to do the Novena for Work for St. Josemaria to find her a job as a dental hygienist and, given that I was asking for a favor in any case, I prayed that this job should be as close to Murcia as possible. I finished my novena on Sunday March 1. The next morning, Monday March 2, my daughter telephoned me, thrilled and very nervous, to say that she’d just been called for an interview that very morning. She went to a dental clinic and that same afternoon signed the work contract. Tuesday March 3 she started work as a dental hygienist at a famous clinic in the center of Murcia, just 15 minutes’ walk from home.

I am very grateful to St. Josemaria for listening to my prayers and interceding for me so promptly and granting the favor down to the last detail.

<![CDATA[A Special Favour]]> Thank you very much, Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer. Ever since I was small, whenever I needed a favor I have appealed to you for help and you always helped me. Thank you for interceding for me again and obtaining for me the special favor I asked of you. Very many thanks!
<![CDATA[1974.5.28]]> In 1974 Saint Josemaría went to pray at the shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil. He said: “How happy I was to go to [...]]]> <![CDATA[Pope on Dating: Relationships Should be Based on a Solid Foundation]]> Video (Rome Reports). In his catechesis, Pope Francis talked about dating and setting a solid foundation for marriage. Love, he explained shouldn't be improvised or based on fading emotions. "The freedom of giving oneself to another is a decision that requires a conscious harmony. It's not about a simple mutual attraction, an emotion, a moment or a phase. It's a journey.” ]]> <![CDATA[The Great Unknown]]> A downloadable audio version of St Josemaria’s homily “The Great Unknown”, given on Pentecost Sunday, May 25, 1969 and published in in the book Christ is passing by.]]> <![CDATA[The Message of Saint Josemaria]]> Videoclip documentary about Opus Dei and its founder, St Josemaria. It starts with the voice of St John Paul II on the day of St Josemaria’s beatification, May 17, 1992.]]> <![CDATA[What can I do to love our Lady?]]> St Joseph has a lot of influence with our Lady. He was her spouse, he is her spouse. He is the person who was closest to our Lady.]]> <![CDATA[How can we help our children love to work?]]> Material progress has also created a sense of being well off. How can we help our children love to work? Clips from a filmed gathering with St Josemaria Escriva during his catechetical journey to Venezuela, in February 1975.]]> <![CDATA[Pope Francis: Upcoming Jubilee an “intense and extended time” to embrace God's mercy]]> During the Regina Coeli prayer, Pope Francis discussed the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, which begins in December. "The Year of Mercy is to be an intense and extended time in which to welcome and embrace the immense riches of God's merciful love.” ]]>