3.19.2017

St. Josemaria on St. Joseph


Love Saint Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who has most loved our Blessed Lady and been closest to God. He is the person who has most loved God, after our Mother. He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God. (The Forge, 554)

In human life, Joseph was Jesus’ master in their daily contact, full of refined affection, glad to deny himself to take better care of Jesus. Isn’t that reason enough for us to consider this just man, this holy patriarch, in whom the faith of the old covenant bears fruit, as a master of interior life? Interior life is nothing but continual and direct conversation with Christ, so as to become one with him. And Joseph can tell us many things about Jesus. Therefore, never neglect devotion to him — Ite ad Ioseph: “Go to Joseph” — as christian tradition puts it in the words of the Old Testament.

A master of interior life, a worker deeply involved in his job, God’s servant in continual contact with Jesus: that is Joseph. Ite ad Ioseph. With St Joseph, the Christian learns what it means to belong to God and fully to assume one’s place among men, sanctifying the world. Get to know Joseph and you will find Jesus. Talk to Joseph and you will find Mary, who always sheds peace about her in that attractive workshop in Nazareth. (Christ is passing by, 56)

The whole Church recognizes St Joseph as a patron and guardian. For centuries many different features of his life have caught the attention of believers. He was a man ever faithful to the mission God gave him. That is why, for many years now, I have liked to address him affectionately as “our father and lord.”

St Joseph really is a father and lord. He protects those who revere him and accompanies them on their journey through this life — just as he protected and accompanied Jesus when he was growing up. (Christ is passing by, 39)

3.18.2017

St. Josemaria on God and Daring


Don't be narrow-minded men or women who are immature, short-sighted and incapable of embracing our supernatural Christian outlook as children of God. God and daring! (Furrow, 96)

As the years go by, you will have to face (perhaps sooner than you think) situations that are especially difficult and which will call for a great spirit of sacrifice and an even greater forgetfulness of self. Foster then the virtue of hope and boldly make your own that cry of the Apostle: ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us.’ Reflect in peace and security on what it will be like to have the infinite Love of God poured out on this poor creature that we are.

The time has come, amid your ordinary occupations, to exercise your faith, awaken your hope and revive your love; that is, to activate the three theological virtues, which help us to banish immediately (without dissimulation, deceit or evasion) any ambiguities in our professional conduct or in our interior life. (Friends of God, 71)

Classes help professionals integrate faith into their work

St. Josemaria on the Apostolic Concern


The Lord wants a definite apostolate from you, such as catching those one hundred and fifty-three big fish -- not others -- taken on the right-hand side of the boat. And you ask me: How is it I know myself to be a fisher of men, can live in contact with many companions, and be able to distinguish towards whom I should direct my specific apostolate, but still catch nobody? Is it Love that is lacking? Do I lack interior life? Listen to the answer from Peter's lips, on the occasion of that other miraculous draught: -- ``Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.'' In the name of Jesus Christ, begin again. And being strengthened, rid yourself of that indolence! (Furrow, 377)

The apostolic concern which burns in the heart of ordinary Christians is not something separate from their everyday work. It is part and parcel of one’s work, which becomes a source of opportunities for meeting Christ. As we work at our job, side by side with our colleagues, friends and relatives and sharing their interests, we can help them come closer to Christ who awaits us on the shore. Before becoming apostles, we are fishermen. After becoming apostles, we are fishermen still. The same profession, before and after.

Jesus passes by, close to his Apostles, close to those souls who have given themselves to him and they don’t realise he is there. ‘Cast to the right of the boat, and you will have a catch. So they cast the net, and found before long they had no strength to haul it in, such a shoal of fish was in it.’ Now they understand. They, the disciples, recall what they have heard so often from their Master’s lips: fishers of men, apostles. And they realise that all things are possible, because it is He who is directing their fishing.

'The other disciples followed in the boat (they were not far from land, only some hundred yards away), dragging their catch in their net behind them.’ They bring in the catch and immediately place it at Our Lord’s feet, because it is his. This is a lesson for us, so that we may learn that souls belong to God; that no one on earth has that right over souls; and that the Church’s apostolate, by which it announces and brings about salvation, is not based on the prestige of any human beings but on the grace of God. (Friends of God, 264-267)

A Renewed Faithfulness

Letter from the Prelate (14 February 2017)

St. Josemaria on Apostolate


You have got to be a 'man of God', a man of interior life, a man of prayer and sacrifice. Your apostolate must be the overflow of your life 'within'. (The Way, 961)

Interior life. Sanctity in our ordinary tasks, sanctity in the little things we do, sanctity in our professional work, in our daily cares...; sanctity, so that we may sanctify others. A friend of mine was dreaming once. (He is someone I've never really managed to get to know!) He was flying very high, but he was not inside the plane, in the cabin. He was outside, on the wings. Poor soul, how he suffered! What anguish! It was as if Our Lord was showing him that just such insecurity and danger faces apostolic souls who would fly up to the heights of God, but have no interior life, or else neglect it. They are full of anxiety and doubt, and in constant danger of coming to grief.

I really do believe that a serious danger of losing the way threatens those who launch out into action — activism! — while neglecting prayer, self denial and those means without which it is impossible to achieve a solid piety: receiving the Sacraments frequently, meditation, examination of conscience, spiritual reading and constant recourse to Our Lady and the Guardian Angels... Besides, all these means contribute in a way that nothing else can, to making the Christian's daily life a joyful one, for, from their hidden riches, flow out the sweetness and joy of God, like honey from the comb.

In our inner life, in our external behavior, in our dealings with others, in our work, each of us must try to maintain a constant presence of God, conversing with him, carrying on a dialogue in a way that does not show outwardly. Or, rather, which as a rule does not express itself in audible words, but which certainly should show itself in the determination and loving care we put into carrying out all our duties, both great and small. (Friends of God, 18-19)

3.15.2017

St. Josemaria on the Spirit of Mortification


A spirit of mortification, rather than being just an outward show of Love, arises as one of its consequences. If you fail in one of these little proofs, acknowledge that your love for the Love is wavering. (Furrow, 981)

For parents and, in general, for those whose work involves supervision or teaching, penance is to correct whenever it is necessary. This should be done bearing in mind the type of fault committed and the situation of the person who needs to be so helped, not letting oneself be swayed by subjective viewpoints, which are often cowardly and sentimental.

A spirit of penance keeps us from becoming too attached to the vast imaginative blueprints we have made for our future projects, where we have already foreseen our master strokes and brilliant successes. What joy we give to God when we are happy to lay aside our third‑rate painting efforts and let him put in the features and colours of his choice! (Friends of God, 138)

The joy of a sincere and true love

3.14.2017

St. Josemaria on Mortification


These are the ripe fruits of the mortified soul: tolerance and understanding for the defects of others; intolerance for one's own. (The Way, 198)

Penance means being very charitable at all times towards those around you, starting with the members of your own family. It is to be full of tenderness and kindness towards the suffering, the sick and the infirm. It is to give patient answers to people who are boring and annoying. It means interrupting our work or changing our plans, when circumstances make this necessary, above all when the just and rightful needs of others are involved.

Penance consists in putting up good‑humoredly with the thousand and one little pinpricks of each day; in not abandoning your job, although you have momentarily lost the enthusiasm with which you started it; in eating gladly whatever is served, without being fussy. (Friends of God, 138)

St. Josemaria on Penance


Here is a recipe for your way as a Christian: pray, do penance, work without rest, fulfilling your duty lovingly. (The Forge, 65)

And if you can’t think of anything by way of a definite answer to the divine guest who knocks at the door of your heart, listen well to what I have to tell you.

Penance is fulfilling exactly the timetable you have fixed for yourself, even though your body resists or your mind tries to avoid it by dreaming up useless fantasies. Penance is getting up on time and also not leaving for later, without any real reason, that particular job that you find harder or most difficult to do.

Penance is knowing how to reconcile your duties to God, to others and to yourself, by making demands on yourself so that you find enough time for each of your tasks. You are practicing penance when you lovingly keep to your schedule of prayer, despite feeling worn out, listless or cold. (Friends of God, 138)

3.12.2017

St. Josemaria on Genuine Charity


You have to live in harmony with your fellow men and understand them as a brother would. As the Spanish mystic says, you have to put love where there is no love to obtain love. (The Forge, 457)

Christ, who came to save all mankind and who wishes Christians to be associated with him in the work of redemption, wanted to teach his disciples — you and me — to have a great and sincere charity, one which is more noble and more precious: that of loving one another in the same way as Christ loves each one of us. Only then, by imitating the divine pattern he has left us, and notwithstanding our own rough ways, will we be able to open our hearts to all men and love in a higher and totally new way.

Tertullian writing in the second century tells us how impressed the pagans were by the behavior of the faithful at that time. So attractive was it both supernaturally and humanly that they often remarked: 'See how they love one another.'

If you think, looking at yourself now or in so many things you do each day, that you do not deserve such praise; that your heart does not respond as it should to the promptings of God, then consider that the time has come for you to put things right.

The principal apostolate we Christians must carry out in the world, and the best witness we can give of our faith, is to help bring about a climate of genuine charity within the Church. For who indeed could feel attracted to the Gospel if those who say they preach the Good News do not really love one another, but spend their time attacking one another, spreading slander and quarrelling? (Friends of God, 225-226)

Unity in the Church

St. Josemaria on Loving Your Neighbor


You must not destroy the souls of your fellow human beings through your neglect or your bad example. In spite of your passions, you have a responsibility for the Christian life of your neighbor, for the spiritual effectiveness of everyone, indeed for their very sanctity. (The Forge, 955)

Physically far away and yet feeling very close to them all, ``very close to them all'' you cheerfully repeated. You were happy thanks to that communion of charity which I spoke to you about, and which you must not get tired of keeping alive. (The Forge, 956)

You asked me what you could do to prevent the loneliness of that friend of yours. I will tell you what I always say, because we have at our disposal a marvelous weapon which is the answer to everything: prayer. In the first place, you must pray. And then you must do for him what you would like others to do for you if you were in similar circumstances. Without humiliating him, you must help him in such a way that the things he finds difficult can be made easy for him. (The Forge, 957)

Put yourself always in your neighbor's shoes. You will then see the various issues or problems calmly. You will not get annoyed. You will be more understanding. You will be able to make allowances and will correct people when and as required. And you will fill the world with charity. (The Forge, 958)

Mons. Fernando Ocáriz: “The vitality of the Church depends on total openness to the Gospel”

St. Josemaria on Divine Filiation


A son of God fears neither life nor death, because his spiritual life is founded on a sense of divine filiation. So he says to himself: God is my Father and he is the Author of all good; he is all Goodness. But, you and I, do we really act as sons of God? (The Forge, 987)

Our being children of God, I insist, leads us to have a contemplative spirit in the midst of all human activities; to be light, salt and leaven through our prayer, through our mortification, through our knowledge of religion and of our profession. We will carry out this aim: the more within the world we are, the more we must be God's. (The Forge, 740)

When we're working for God we have to have a superiority complex, I told you. But isn't that a sign of pride? you asked me. No. It is a consequence of humility; the humility which makes me say: Lord, you are who you are. I am nothingness itself. You have all the perfections: power, strength, love, glory, wisdom, authority, dignity|... If I unite myself to you, like a child who goes to the strong embrace of his father or sits on his dear mother's knee, I will feel the warmth of your divinity, I will experience the light of your wisdom, I will sense your strength coursing through my veins. (The Forge, 342)

Examples of Faith: Abraham

St. Josemaria on the Nearness of God


We've got to be convinced that God is always near us. We live as though he were far away, in the heavens high above, and we forget that he is also continually by our side. He is there like a loving Father. He loves each one of us more than all the mothers in the world can love their children--helping us, inspiring us, blessing... and forgiving. How often we have misbehaved and then cleared the frowns from our parents' brows, telling them: I won't do it any more!--That same day, perhaps, we fall again. And our father, with feigned harshness in his voice and serious face, reprimands us, while in his heart he is moved, realizing our weakness and thinking: poor child, how hard he tries to behave well! We've got to be filled, to be imbued with the idea that our Father, and very much our Father, is God who is both near us and in heaven. (The Way, 267)

Rest and repose in the fact of being children of God. God is a Father who is full of tenderness, of infinite love. Call him 'Father' many times a day and tell him — alone, in your heart — that you love him, that you adore him, that you feel proud and strong because you are his son. All this implies a genuine programme of interior life, which needs to be channelled through your relationship of piety with God, through these acts (which should be few, I insist, but constant) which will enable you to develop the attitudes and manner of a good son.

I must also warn you against the danger of routine — the real sepulchre of piety. Routine is often disguised as an ambition to do or to embark upon great feats, while daily duties are lazily neglected. When you see this beginning to happen, look at yourself sincerely before Our Lord: ask yourself if the reason why you may have become tired of always struggling on the same thing, is not simply that you were not seeking God; check if your faithful perseverance in work has not fallen off, due to lack of generosity and a spirit of sacrifice. It is then that your norms of piety, your little mortifications, your apostolic efforts that are not reaping an immediate harvest, all seem to be terribly sterile. We find ourselves empty and perhaps we start dreaming up new plans merely to still the voice of our Heavenly Father who asks us to be totally loyal to him. And with this dream, or rather nightmare, of mighty wonders in our soul, we become oblivious to reality, forgetting the way that will lead us most certainly straight towards sanctity. It is a clear sign that we have lost our supernatural outlook, our conviction that we are tiny children and our confidence that our Father will work wonders in us, if we begin again with humility. (Friends of God, 150)

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3.08.2017

St. Josemaria on Perseverance


You who tend to lose heart, I will tell you something that is very consoling: when a person does what he can, God will not deny his grace. Our Lord is a Father, and if, in the silence of his heart, one of his sons says to him: ‘My Father in Heaven, here am I, help me...’ If he goes to the Mother of God, who is our Mother, he will get through. But God is demanding. He asks us to love him truly; he does not want traitors. We must be faithful in this supernatural struggle, which makes us happy on earth by dint of sacrifice. (The Way of the Cross, Tenth Station, 3)

I would like to see you going to the holy Sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of divine forgiveness, every week, and indeed whenever you need it, without giving in to scruples. Clothed in grace, we can cross mountains, and climb the hill of our Christian duty, without halting on the way. If we use these resources with a firm purpose and beg Our Lord to grant us an ever increasing hope, we will possess the infectious joy of those who know they are children of God: 'If God is with us, who can be against us?' Let us be optimists. Moved by the power of hope, we will fight to wipe away the trail of filth and slime left by the sowers of hatred. We will find a new joyful perspective to the world, seeing that it has sprung forth beautiful and fair from the hands of God. We will give it back to him with that same beauty, if we learn how to repent.

Let us grow in hope, thereby strengthening our faith which is truly 'that which gives substance to our hopes, which convinces us of things we cannot see'. Let us grow in this virtue, let us beg Our Lord to increase his charity in us; after all, one can only really trust that which one loves with all one's might. And it is certainly worthwhile to love Our Lord. You and I know from experience that people in love surrender themselves unhesitatingly. Their hearts beat in a wonderful unison, with a single love. What then will the Love of God be like? Do you not realize that Christ has died for each and every one of us? Yes, for this poor little heart of ours, Jesus consummated his redeeming sacrifice.

Our Lord speaks frequently to us of the reward which he won for us by his Death and Resurrection. 'I am going away to prepare a home for you. And though I do go away, to prepare you a home, I am coming back; and then I will take you to myself, so that you too may be where I am.' Heaven is the final destination of our path on earth. Jesus has gone ahead of us and awaits us there, in the company of Our Lady and of St Joseph, whom I so much revere, and of all the angels and saints. (Friends of God, 219-220)

Father of famously large family dies in Barcelona (leaving behind 15 children)

God is my Father

3.07.2017

St. Josemaria on the Communion of Saints


Communion of Saints.--How shall I explain it? You know what blood-transfusions do for the body? Well that is more or less what the Communion of Saints does for the soul. (The Way, 544)

Live a special Communion of Saints: and, in the moments of interior struggle just as in the hours of professional work, each of you will feel the joy and the strength of not being alone. (The Way, 545)

We are here, consummati in unum! united in prayer and intention, and ready to begin this period of conversation with Our Lord, having renewed our desires to be effective instruments in his hands. Before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament — how I love to make an act of explicit faith in the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist! — use your prayer to stir up in your hearts the eagerness to spread the fervour of their resolute beating to every part of the earth, to the utmost corner of the planet where even one man may be found generously spending his life in the service of God and souls. Thanks to the ineffable reality of the Communion of Saints, we are indeed all joined together — 'fellow workers', St John says— in the task of spreading the truth and the peace of the Lord. (Friends of God, 154)

Guadalupe Ortiz and the "Tilma" of Guadalupe

3.06.2017

St. Josemaria on Being Lamps in the Darkness


Many years ago now, I saw most clearly a truth which will always be valid: the whole web of society needs to live anew and spread the eternal truths of the Gospel, since it has departed from Christian faith and morals. Children of God at the very heart of that society, of the world, have to let their virtues shine out like lamps in the darkness -- quasi lucernae lucentes in caliginoso loco. (Furrow, 318)

If we accept the responsibility of being children of God, we will realize that God wants us to be very human. Our heads should indeed be touching heaven, but our feet should be firmly on the ground. The price of living as Christians is not that of ceasing to be human or of abandoning the effort to acquire those virtues which some have even without knowing Christ. The price paid for each Christian is the redeeming Blood of Our Lord and he, I insist, wants us to be both very human and very divine, struggling each day to imitate him who is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo.

I don't know if I could say which is the most important human virtue. It depends on the point of view from which they are considered. In any case, this question doesn't really get us anywhere, for it is not a matter of practicing one or even a number of virtues. We have to try to acquire and to practice all of them. Each individual virtue is interwoven with the others and, thus, our effort to be sincere will also make us upright, cheerful, prudent and composed.

At the same time, we must bear in mind that decision making and responsibility derive from the personal freedom of each individual. Virtues are therefore also radically personal, they pertain to the person. Nevertheless, in this great battle of love no one fights alone. None of us, I like to say, is a floating line of verse. In some way we are always either helping or hindering each other. We are all links in the same chain. Join with me now in asking Our Lord to grant that this chain may anchor us to his Heart until that day comes when we shall contemplate him face to face for ever in Heaven. (Friends of God, 75-76)

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3.05.2017

St. Josemaria on the Happiness of Saintly Souls


I was telling you that even people who had not received baptism had been moved to say, "I can well understand that saintly souls must be happy, for they look at events with a vision that is above the things of this world. They see things with the eyes of eternity.'' May you not lack that same vision, I added afterwards, so that you can respond to the special love with which the Blessed Trinity has treated you. (The Forge, 1017)

I assure you that if we want to, as children of God, we can make a powerful contribution towards lighting up the work and the lives of men with the divine and eternal splendour which it has pleased the Lord to place in our souls. But ``he who says he abides in Jesus ought to walk the same way He walked'' as Saint John teaches. It is a path which always leads to glory. But it also always passes through sacrifice. (The Forge, 1018)

“We do not want this man to reign over us"? There are millions of people in the world who reject Jesus Christ in this way; or rather they reject his shadow, for they do not know Christ. (Christ is Passing By, 179)

My Lord Jesus, grant that I may feel your grace and second it in such a way that I empty my heart, so that you, my Friend, my Brother, my King, my God, my Love... may fill it! (The Forge, 913)

Rechristianising society

3.04.2017

St. Josemaria on Family Life


You laugh because I tell you that you have a 'vocation for marriage'? Well, you have just that: a vocation. Commend yourself to the Archangel Raphael that he may keep you pure, as he did Tobias, until the end of the way. (The Way, 27)

It is very important that the idea of marriage as a real call from God never be absent, either from the pulpit and the religion class or from the conscience of those whom God wishes to follow this way. Couples should be convinced that they are really and truly called to take part in the fulfillment of God's plan for the salvation of all men.

For this reason, there is perhaps no better model for a christian couple than that of the christian families of apostolic times: the centurion Cornelius, who obeyed the will of God and in whose home the Church was made accessible to the gentiles; Aquila and Priscilla, who spread Christianity in Corinth and Ephesus, and who cooperated in the apostolate of St Paul; Tabitha, who out of charity attended to the needs of the Christians in Joppe. And so many other homes and families of Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Romans, in which the preaching of our Lord's first disciples began to bear fruit. Families who lived in union with Christ and who made him known to others. Small christian communities which were centers for the spreading of the Gospel and its message. Families no different from other families of those times, but living with a new spirit, which spread to all those who were in contact with them. This is what the first Christians were, and this is what we have to be: sowers of peace and joy, the peace and joy that Jesus has brought to us. (Christ is passing by, 30)

St. Josemaria on Seeking Spiritual Direction


You think you are quite important: your studies, your research work, your publications, your social standing, your name, your political activities, the positions you hold, your wealth... your age: you're no longer a child!... Just because of all that, you, more than others, need a Director for your soul. (The Way, 63)

The holiness of Christ's Spouse has always been shown — as it can be seen today — by the abundance of good shepherds. But our christian faith, which teaches us to be simple, does not bid us be simple‑minded. There are hirelings who keep silent, and there are hirelings who speak with words which are not those of Christ. That is why, if the Lord allows us to be left in the dark even in little things, if we feel that our faith is not firm, we should go to the good shepherd. He enters by the door as of right. He gives his life for others and wants to be in word and behaviour a soul in love. He may be a sinner too, but he trusts always in Christ's forgiveness and mercy.

If your conscience tells you that you have committed a fault — even though it does not appear to be serious or if you are in doubt — go to the sacrament of penance. Go to the priest who looks after you, who knows how to demand of you a steady faith, refinement of soul and true christian fortitude. The Church allows the greatest freedom for confessing to any priest, provided he has the proper faculties; but a conscientious Christian will go — with complete freedom — to the priest he knows is a good shepherd, who can help him to look up again and see once more, on high, the Lord's star. (Christ is passing by, 34)

St. Josemaria on Loving the World


The world awaits us. Yes, we love the world passionately because God has taught us to: Sic Deus dilexit mundum ... - God so loved the world. And we love it because it is there that we fight our battles in a most beautiful war of charity, so that everyone may find the peace that Christ has come to establish. (Furrow, 290)

I have taught this constantly using words from holy Scripture. The world is not evil, because it has come from God's hands, because it is His creation, because 'Yahweh looked upon it and saw that it was good' (cf Gen 1:7 ff). We ourselves, mankind, make it evil and ugly with our sins and infidelities. Have no doubt: any kind of evasion of the honest realities of daily life is for you, men and women of the world, something opposed to the will of God.

On the contrary, you must understand now, more clearly, that God is calling you to serve Him in and from the ordinary, material and secular activities of human life. He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating theatre, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.

I often said to the university students and workers who were with me in the thirties that they had to know how to 'materialise' their spiritual life. I wanted to keep them from the temptation, so common then and now, of living a kind of double life. On one side, an interior life, a life of relation with God; and on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life, full of small earthly realities. (Conversations, 114)

St. Josemaria on Unity


The Apostle wrote that "there is no more Gentile and Jew, no more circumcised and uncircumcised; no one is barbarian or Scythian, no one is a slave or a free man; there is nothing but Christ in any of us." Those words are as valid today as they were then. Before the Lord there is no difference of nation, race, class, state ... Each one of us has been born in Christ to be a new creature, a son of God. We are all brothers, and we have to behave fraternally towards one another. (Furrow, 317)

To meet the hunger for peace we have to repeat what St Paul said: Christ is our peace, pax nostra. The desire for truth should remind us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Those who aspire to unity should be shown Christ who prays that we will all be consummati in unum: “made perfectly one." Hunger for justice should lead us to the original source of harmony among mankind: the fact that we are, and know ourselves to be, sons of the Father, brothers.

Peace, truth, unity, justice. How difficult it often seems to eliminate the barriers to human harmony! And yet we Christians are called to bring about that miracle of brotherhood. We must work so that everyone with God's grace can live in a christian way, “bearing one another's burdens," keeping the commandment of love which is the bond of perfection and the essence of the law. (Christ is passing by, 157)

St. Josemaria on Calmness and Patience


If you fix your sight on God and thus know how to keep calm in the face of worries; if you can forget petty things, jealousies and envies, you will save a lot of energy, which you need if you are to work effectively in the service of men. (Furrow, 856)

The man who knows how to be strong will not be in a hurry to receive the reward of his virtue. He is patient. Indeed it is fortitude that teaches us to appreciate the human and divine virtue of patience. '“By your patience you will gain possession of your souls." (Luke 21:19) The possession of the soul is attributed to patience, which in effect is the root and guardian of all the virtues. We secure possession of our souls through patience, for, by learning to have dominion over ourselves, we begin to possess that which we are.' And it is this very patience that moves us to be understanding with others, for we are convinced that souls, like good wine, improve with time.

We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed, but not with the composure of the man who buys his own tranquility at the expense of ignoring his brothers or neglecting the great task (which falls to us all) of tirelessly spreading good throughout the world. We can keep calm because there is always forgiveness and because there is a solution for everything, except death; and for the children of God, death is life. We must try to keep our peace, even if only so as to act intelligently, since the man who remains calm is able to think, to study the pros and cons, to examine judiciously the outcome of the actions he is about to undertake. He then plays his part calmly and decisively. (Friends of God, 78-79)

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St. Josemaria on Being Salty


You are salt, apostolic soul. 'Salt is a useful thing', we read in the holy Gospel; but if the salt loses its taste, it is good for nothing, neither for the land nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out as useless. You are salt, apostolic soul. But if you lose your taste... (The Way, 921)

We Catholics have to go through life being apostles, with God's light and God's salt. We should have no fear, and we should be quite natural; but with so deep an interior life and such close union with Our Lord that we may shine out, preserving ourselves from corruption and from darkness, and spread around us the fruits of serenity and the effectiveness of Christian doctrine. (The Forge, 969)

In times of general confusion it may seem as though God is not listening to your pleading with him on behalf of his souls, and is turning a deaf ear to your calls. You even reach the point of thinking that all your apostolic labors have been in vain. Don't worry! Carry on working with the same cheerfulness, the same energy, the same zeal. Allow me to insist: when you work for God, nothing is unfruitful. (The Forge, 978)

My child, all the seas of this world are ours and the places where it is harder to fish are the places where it is all the more necessary. (The Forge, 979)

Through your Christian doctrine, your upright life and your work well done, you have to give good example to the people around you ‑‑ relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbors, pupils ‑‑ in the way you carry out your profession and fulfill the duties your job entails. You cannot be a shoddy worker. (The Forge, 980)

15 LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

Evenings of Recollection for March 2017 DC Area


Catholic Information Center:
Tuesday, March 7, 5:30 p.m.

Reston Study Center:
Thursday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11, 7:30 a.m.  (with Mass)
Monday, , March 13, 7:30 p.m.

St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill: Monday, March 13, 6:15 p.m.

The Heights School:
Wednesday, March 8, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 18, 8:15 a.m. (with Mass)
                                   
Tenley Study Center:
Tuesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m. (young adults)
Wednesday, March 8, 10:00 a.m. (with Mass)
Monday, March 20, 7:30 p.m.

Allview Center:
Wednesday, March 8, 7 p.m.

3.03.2017

St. Josemaria on Dedication and Devotion


Why don't you give yourself to God once and for all... really..., now? (The Way, 902)

If you see your way clearly, follow it. Why don't you shake off the cowardice that holds you back? (The Way 903)

'Proclaim the Good News. .. I shall be with you...' It is Jesus who has said this... and he has said it to you. (The Way, 904)

Et regni ejus non erit finis. His kingdom will have no end. Doesn't it fill you with joy to work for such a kingdom? (The Way, 906)

'Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father's affairs?' The reply of Jesus the youth. And a reply made to a mother like his Mother, who had been seeking him for three days, believing him to be lost. A reply which has as complement those words of Christ that Saint Matthew records: 'Any who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me'. (The Way, 907)

Novena to the Venerable Montse Grases

Pope Francis Receives New Prelate in Audience

How do I join Opus Dei?

Photos of Ordination of Two New Deacons

Growth: A Family Project (2)

3.02.2017

St. Josemaria on Lent


Coming closer to God means being ready to be converted anew, to change direction again, to listen attentively to his inspirations - those holy desires he places in our souls - and to put them into practice. (The Forge, 32)

We are at the beginning of Lent: a time of penance, purification and conversion. It is not an easy program, but then Christianity is not an easy way of life. It is not enough just to be in the Church, letting the years roll by. In our life, in the life of Christians, our first conversion — that unique moment which each of us remembers, when we clearly understood everything the Lord was asking of us — is certainly very significant. But the later conversions are even more important, and they are increasingly demanding. To facilitate the work of grace in these conversions, we need to keep our soul young; we have to call upon our Lord, know how to listen to him and, having found out what has gone wrong, know how to ask his pardon.

“If you call upon me, I will listen to you," we read in this Sunday's liturgy. Isn't it wonderful how God cares for us and is always ready to listen to us — waiting for man to speak? He hears us at all times, but particularly now. Our heart is ready and we have made up our minds to purify ourselves. He hears us and will not disregard the petition of a “humble and contrite heart." (Christ is passing by, 57)

St. Josemaria on Attachment


Ask the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and your Mother, to make you know yourself and weep for all those foul things that have passed through you, and which, alas, have left such dregs behind.. And at the same time, without wishing to stop considering all that, say to him: Jesus, give me a Love that will act like a purifying fire in which my miserable flesh, my miserable heart, my miserable soul, my miserable body may be consumed and cleansed of all earthly wretchedness. And when I have been emptied of myself, fill me with yourself. May I never become attached to anything here below. May Love always sustain me. (The Forge, 41)

The Lord listens to us. He wants to intervene and enter our lives to free us from evil and fill us with good. “I will rescue him and honour him" [1], he says of man. So we must hope for glory. Here again we have the beginning of the interior movement that makes up our spiritual life. Hope of glory increases our faith and fosters our charity; the three theological virtues, godly virtues which make us like our Father God, have been set in motion.

We cannot stay still. We must keep going ahead toward the goal St Paul marks out: “It is not I who live; it is Christ that lives in me" [2]. This is a high and very noble ambition, this identification with Christ, this holiness. But there is no other way if we are to be consistent with the divine life God has sown in our souls in baptism. To advance we must progress in holiness. Shying away from holiness implies refusing our christian life its natural growth. The fire of God's love needs to be fed. It must grow each day, gathering strength in our soul; and a fire is maintained by burning more things. If we don't feed it, it may die. (Christ is passing by, 57-58)

[1] Ps 90:15

[2] Gal 2:20

Stories about "The Way"

2.26.2017

St. Josemaria on Trials and Adversity


Everything may collapse and fail. Events may turn out contrary to what was expected and great adversity may come. But nothing is to be gained by being perturbed. Furthermore, remember the confident prayer of the prophet: "The Lord is our judge, the Lord gives us our laws, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us." Say it devoutly every day, so that your behavior may agree with the designs of Providence, which governs us for our own good. (Furrow, 855)

And if we are waylaid, assaulted by the temptation of discouragement, opposition, struggle, tribulation, a new dark night of the soul, the psalmist places on our lips and in our minds these words: 'I am with him in the time of trial.' Jesus, compared to your Cross, of what value is mine? Alongside your wounds, what are my little scratches? Compared with your Love, so immense and pure and infinite, of what value is this tiny little sorrow which you have placed upon my shoulders? And your hearts, and mine, become filled with a holy hunger and we confess to him — with deeds — that 'we die of Love.'

A thirst for God is born in us, a longing to understand his tears, to see his smile, his face... The best way to express this, I would say, is to repeat with Scripture: 'Like the deer that seeks for running waters, so my heart yearns for thee, my God!' The soul goes forward immersed in God, divinized: the Christian becomes a thirsty traveler who opens his mouth to the waters of the fountain.

Along with this self‑surrender, our apostolic zeal is enkindled and grows day by day; it also sets others on fire with its desire, because goodness is diffusive. It is not possible for our poor nature to be so close to God and not be fired with hunger to sow joy and peace throughout the world, to spread everywhere the redeeming waters that flow from Christ's open side, and to begin and end everything we do for Love.

I was speaking before about sorrow and suffering and tears. Without contradicting what I said then, I can affirm that the disciple who lovingly seeks the Master finds that sadness, worries and afflictions now taste very differently: they disappear as soon as we truly accept God's Will, as soon as we carry out his plans gladly, as faithful children of his, even though our nerves may seem to be at breaking point and the pain impossible to bear. (Friends of God, 310-311)

A Tribute to My Wife Caroline Ikazoboh

St. Josemaria on Giving Yourself Completely to Christ


It is Peter who speaks: Lord, do You wash my feet? Jesus answers: You do not understand what I am doing now; you will understand it later. Peter insists: You will never wash my feet. And Jesus explains: If I do not wash your feet, you will have no part with me. Simon Peter surrenders: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Faced by the call to total self-giving, complete and without any hesitation, we often oppose it with false modesty like Peter's ... May we also be men with a heart like the Apostle's! Peter allows no one to love Jesus more than he does. That love leads us to reply thus: Here I am! Wash me, head, hands and feet! Purify me completely, for I want to give myself to You without holding anything back. (Furrow, 266)

The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).

And all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them (Mark 2:13).

Jesus sees the boats on the shore and gets into one of them. How naturally Jesus steps into the boat of each and everyone of us! When you seek to draw close to our Lord, remember that he is always very close to you, that he is in you: regnum Dei intra vos est (Luke 17:21). The kingdom of God is within you. You will find him in your heart.

Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul. But in order for him to reign in me, I need his abundant grace. Only in that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my King.

'Duc in altum. Put out into deep water!' Throw aside the pessimism that makes a coward of you. And pay out your nets for a catch!

We have to place our trust in our Lord's words: get into the boat, take the oars, hoist the sails and launch out into this sea of the world which Christ gives us as an inheritance.

Et regni ejus non erit finis. His kingdom will have no end. Doesn't it fill you with joy to work for such a kingdom?

Work and Family

Sanctifying with our Work

2.25.2017

St. Josemaria on Simplicity and Naturalness


Many things, whether they be material, technical, economic, social, political or cultural, when left to themselves, or left in the hands of those who lack the light of the faith, become formidable obstacles to the supernatural life. They form a sort of closed shop which is hostile to the Church.
You, as a Christian and, perhaps, as a research worker, writer, scientist, politician or labourer, have the duty to sanctify those things. Remember that the whole universe - as the Apostle says - is groaning as in the pangs of labor, awaiting the liberation of the children of God. (Furrow, 311)

I have often spoken of it before, but let me insist once again on the naturalness and simplicity of St Joseph's life, which was in no way remote from that of his neighbors, and which raised no artificial obstacles to his dealings with them.

So, though it may be proper to some periods or situations, I do not like to talk of catholic workers, catholic engineers, catholic doctors and so on, as if describing a species within a genus, as if Catholics formed a little group separate from others. That creates the impression that there is a chasm between Christians and the rest of society. While respecting the contrary opinion, I think it more correct to speak of workers who are Catholics, or Catholics who are workers or engineers. For a man of faith who practices a profession, whether intellectual, technical or manual, feels himself and is in fact at one with others; he is the same as others, with the same rights and obligations, the same desire to improve, the same interest in facing and solving common problems.

The Catholic who is prepared to live in this way will, through his daily life, give a proof of his faith, hope and charity: a simple and normal testimony without need of pomp and circumstance. The vitality of his life will show the constant presence of the Church in the world, since all Catholics are themselves the Church, because they are members in their own right of the one People of God. (Christ is passing by, 53)

Message for Lent 2017

2.24.2017

St. Josemaria on the Hope of Christ


"It is a time of hope, and I live off this treasure. It is not just a phrase, Father," you tell me, "it is reality." Well then ..., bring the whole world, all the human values which attract you so very strongly - friendship, the arts, science, philosophy, theology, sport, nature, culture, souls - bring all of this within that hope: the hope of Christ. (Furrow, 293)

Wherever we may be, Our Lord urges us to be vigilant. His plea should lead us to hope more strongly in our desires for holiness and to translate them into deeds. 'Give me your heart, my son' [1], he seems to whisper in our ear. Stop building castles in the air. Make up your mind to open your soul to God, for only in Our Lord will you find a real basis for your hope and for doing good to others. If we don't fight against ourselves; if we don't rebuff once and for all the enemies lodged within our interior fortress — pride, envy, the concupiscence of the flesh and of the eyes, self‑sufficiency, and the wild craving for licentiousness; if we abandon this inner struggle, our noblest ideals will wither 'like the bloom on the grass; and when the scorching sun comes up the grass withers, and the bloom falls, and all its fair show dies away'. Then, all you need is a tiny crevice and discouragement and gloom will creep in, like encroaching poisonous weeds.

Jesus is not satisfied with a wavering assent. He expects, and has a right to expect, that we advance resolutely, unyielding in the face of difficulties. He demands that we take firm, specific steps; because, as a rule, general resolutions are just fallacious illusions, created to silence the divine call which sounds within our hearts. They produce a futile flame that neither burns nor gives warmth, but dies out as suddenly as it began.

You will convince me that you sincerely want to achieve your goals when I see you go forward unwaveringly. Do good and keep reviewing your basic attitudes to the jobs that occupy you each moment. Practice the virtue of justice, right where you are, in your normal surroundings, even though you may end up exhausted. Foster happiness among those around you by cheerfully serving the people you work with and by striving to carry out your job as perfectly as you can, showing understanding, smiling, having a Christian approach to life. And do everything for God, thinking of his glory, with your sights set high and longing for the definitive homeland, because there is no other goal worthwhile. (Friends of God, 211)

Walking Towards Christ

St. Josemaria on Being a Good Citizen


It is not true that there is opposition between being a good Catholic and serving civil society faithfully. In the same way there is no reason why the Church and the State should clash when they proceed with the lawful exercise of their respective authorities, in fulfillment of the mission God has entrusted to them. Those who affirm the contrary are liars, yes, liars! They are the same people who honour a false liberty, and ask us Catholics "to do them the favour" of going back to the catacombs. (Furrow 301)

You must foster everywhere a genuine 'lay outlook', which will lead to three conclusions: be sufficiently honest, so as to shoulder one's own personal responsibility; be sufficiently Christian, so as to respect those brothers in the Faith who, in matters of free discussion, propose solutions which differ from those which each one of us maintains; and be sufficiently Catholic so as not to use our Mother the Church, involving her in human factions.

It is obvious that, in this field as in all others, you would not be able to carry out this program of sanctifying your everyday life if you did not enjoy all the freedom which proceeds from your dignity as men and women created in the image of God and which the Church freely recognizes. Personal freedom is essential to the Christian life. But do not forget, my children, that I always speak of a responsible freedom.

Interpret, then, my words as what they are: a call to exercise your rights every day, and not merely in time of emergency. A call to fulfill honorably your commitments as citizens, in all fields — in politics and in financial affairs, in university life and in your job — accepting with courage all the consequences of your free decisions and the personal independence which corresponds to each one of you. A Christian 'lay outlook' of this sort will enable you to flee from all intolerance, from all fanaticism. To put it in a positive way, it will help you to live in peace with all your fellow citizens, and to promote this understanding and harmony in all spheres of social life. (Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá, 117)

Lent with Blessed Alvaro