1.30.2017

St. Josemaria on Detachment and Naturalness


Do not fix your heart on anything that passes away. Imitate Christ, who became poor for us, and had nowhere to lay his head. Ask him to give you, in the midst of the world, a real detachment, a detachment that has nothing to soften it. (The Forge, 523)

It is we, men walking in the street, ordinary Christians immersed in the blood‑stream of society, whom Our Lord wants to be saints and apostles, in the very midst of our professional work; that is, sanctifying our job in life, sanctifying ourselves in it and, through it, helping others to sanctify themselves as well. Be convinced that it is there that God awaits you, with all the love of a Father and Friend. Consider too that, by doing your daily work well and responsibly, not only will you be supporting yourselves financially you will also be contributing in a very direct way to the development of society, you will be relieving the burdens of others and maintaining countless welfare projects, both local and international, on behalf of less privileged individuals and countries.

When we behave this way, acting quite normally (just the same as our fellow men do) and with a supernatural outlook, we are simply following the example set by Jesus Christ who is true God and true Man. See how full of naturalness his life is. For thirty years he passes unnoticed as just another workman, without calling attention to himself, and he is known in his village as the son of the carpenter. The same is true of his public life. There is nothing off‑key about it, nothing odd or eccentric. He had his group of friends like any one of his compatriots. There was nothing distinctive in his bearing: so much so, in fact, that Judas had to arrange a sign in order to single him out: 'Whomever I kiss, that is he.' There was nothing peculiar about Jesus and I must say that I am greatly touched by this rule of behaviour of Our Lord who passed through life as just one more among men. (Friends of God, 120-121)

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1.28.2017

St. Josemaria on Prestige


You too have a professional vocation which spurs you on. Well, that spur is the hook to fish for men. Rectify your intention, then, and be sure you acquire all the professional prestige you can for the service of God and of souls. The Lord counts on this too. (Furrow, 491)

And so, as the motto of your work, I can give you this one: If you want to be useful, serve. For, in the first place, in order to do things properly, you must know how to do them. I cannot see the integrity of a person who does not strive to attain professional skills and to carry out properly the task entrusted to his care. It's not enough to want to do good; we must know how to do it. And, if our desire is real, it will show itself in the effort we make to use the right methods, finishing things well, achieving human perfection.

But human service and technique, our knowledge of our job, should have a feature which was basic to St Joseph's work and should be so for every Christian: the spirit of service, the desire to contribute to the well‑being of other people. Joseph's work was not self‑centred, even though his active life made him a strong and forceful personality. When he worked, he was aware that he was carrying out God's will; he was thinking of his people, of Jesus and Mary, and of everyone in Nazareth. (Christ is passing by, 50-51)

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Evenings of Recollection for February 2017 DC Area


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

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

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

The Heights School:
Wednesday, Feb 8, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb 18, 8:15 a.m. (with Mass)                                

Tenley Study Center:
Tuesday, Feb 14, 7:30 p.m. (young adults)
Wednesday, Feb 8, 10:00 a.m. (with Mass)
Monday, Feb 20, 7:30 p.m.

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

St. Josemaria on Serving God and Humanity


Every activity - be it of great human importance or not - must become for you a means to serve Our Lord and your fellow men. That is the true measure of its importance. (The Forge, 684)

I am not at all stretching the truth when I tell you that Jesus is still looking for a resting‑place in our heart. We have to ask him to forgive our personal blindness and ingratitude. We must ask him to give us the grace never to close the door of our soul on him again.

Our Lord does not disguise the fact that his wholehearted obedience to God's will calls for renunciation and self‑sacrifice. Love does not claim rights, it seeks to serve. Jesus has led the way. How did he obey? “Unto death, death on a cross." You have to get out of yourself; you have to complicate your life, losing it for love of God and souls. “So you wanted to live a quiet life. But God wanted otherwise. Two wills exist: your will should be corrected to become identified with God's will: you must not bend God's will to suit yours."

It has made me very happy to see so many souls spend their lives — like you, Lord, “even unto death" — fulfilling what God was asking of them. They have dedicated all their yearnings and their professional work to the service of the Church, for the good of all men.

Let us learn to obey, let us learn to serve. There is no better leadership than wanting to give yourself freely, to be useful to others. When we feel pride swell up within us, making us think we are supermen, the time has come to say “no". Our only triumph will be the triumph of humility. In this way we will identify ourselves with Christ on the cross — not unwillingly or restlessly or sullenly, but joyfully. For the joy which comes from forgetting ourselves is the best proof of love. (Christ is passing by, 19)

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St. Josemaria on the Blessed Sacrament


Go perseveringly to the Tabernacle, either bodily or in your heart, so as to feel safe and calm: but also in order to feel loved... and to love. (The Forge, 837)

I copy some words which a priest wrote for those who followed him in an apostolic enterprise: ``When you contemplate the Sacred Host exposed on the altar in the monstrance, think how great is the love, the tenderness of Christ. My way to understand it is by thinking of the love I have for you: if I could be far away, working, and at the same time at the side of each one of you, how gladly I would do it! But Christ really can do it! He loves us with a love that is infinitely greater than the love that all the hearts of the world could hold; and he has stayed with us so that we can join ourselves at any time to his most Sacred Humanity, and so that he can help us, console us, strengthen us, so that we may be faithful.'" (The Forge, 838)

The external signs of love should come from the heart and find expression in the testimony of a christian life. If we have been renewed by receiving our Lord's body, we should show it. Let us pray that our thoughts be sincere, full of peace, self-giving and service. Let us pray that we be true and clear in what we say — the right thing at the right time — so as to console and help and especially bring God's light to others. Let us pray that our actions be consistent and effective and right, so that they give off “the good fragrance of Christ," evoking his way of doing things. (Christ is passing by, 156)

1.26.2017

St Josemaria on the Holy Mass


When you receive him, tell him: Lord, I hope in you: I adore you, I love you, increase my faith. Be the support of my weakness: You, who have remained defenseless in the Eucharist so as to be the remedy for the weakness of your creatures. (The Forge, 832)

I will not surprise anyone if I say that some Christians have a very poor concept of the holy Mass. For them it is a purely external rite, if not a mere social convention. This is because our poor hearts are capable of treating the greatest gift of God to man as routine. In the Mass, in this Mass that we are now celebrating, the most Holy Trinity intervenes, I repeat, in a very special way. To correspond to such great love, we must give ourselves completely, in body and in soul. We hear God, we talk to him, we see him, we taste him. And when words are not enough, we sing, urging our tongue — Pange, lingua! — to proclaim to all mankind the greatness of the Lord.

To “live" the holy Mass means to pray continually, and to be convinced that, for each one of us, this is a personal meeting with God. We adore him, we praise him, we give thanks to him, we atone for our sins, we are purified, we experience a unity with Christ and with all Christians. (Christ is passing by, 87-88)

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1.25.2017

St. Josemaria on Conversion


Your relatives, colleagues and friends have noticed the change, and realized that it is not a temporary phase, but that you are no longer the same. Don't worry, carry on. Vivit vero in me Christus -- it is now Christ that lives in me -- that's what is happening. (Furrow, 424)

“He that dwells in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven." This is the risky security of the Christian. We must be convinced that God hears us, that he is concerned about us. If we are, we will feel completely at peace. But living with God is indeed a risky business, for he will not share things: he wants everything. And if we move toward him, it means we must be ready for a new conversion, to take new bearings, to listen more attentively to his inspirations — those holy desires that he provokes in every soul — and to put them into practice.

Since our first conscious decision really to follow the teaching of Christ, we have no doubt made good progress along the way of faithfulness to his word. And yet isn't it true that there is still much to be done? Isn't it true, particularly, that there is still so much pride in us? We need, most probably, to change again, to be more loyal and humble, so that we become less selfish and let Christ grow in us, for “He must become more and more, I must become less and less."

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." 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, 58)

“’If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross daily and follow me’ (Lk 9:23). Christ is saying this again, to us, whispering it in our ears: the cross each day. As St Jerome puts it: ‘Not only in time of persecution or when we have the chance of martyrdom, but in all circumstances, in everything we do and think, in everything we say, let us deny what we used to be and let us confess what we now are, reborn as we have been in Christ.’

“It's an echo of St Paul's words: ‘Once you were all darkness. Now, in the Lord, you are all daylight. You must live as children of the light. Where light has its effect, men walk in all goodness, holiness and truth, seeking those things which please God’ (Eph 5:8-10).

“Conversion is the task of a moment; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. The divine seed of charity, which God has sown in our souls, wants to grow, to express itself in action, to yield results which continually coincide with what God wants. Therefore, we must be ready to begin again, to find again — in new situations — the light and the stimulus of our first conversion. And that is why we must prepare with a deep examination of conscience, asking our Lord for his help, so that we'll know him and ourselves better. If we want to be converted again, there's no other way.” (Christ is Passing By, no. 58)

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1.24.2017

St. Josemaria on Peace



Mary, you are queen of peace, because you had faith and believed that what the angel announced would in fact happen. Help us to grow in the faith, to have a firm hope and a deeper love. For that is what your Son wants of us this day, that is why he shows us his sacred heart. (Christ is passing by, 170)

A clear mark of the man of God, of the woman of God, is the peace in their souls: they have peace and they give peace to the people they have dealings with. (The Forge, 649)

There is no excuse for protecting oneself with apparently pious reasons, in order to deprive others of their due. 'If anyone says, “Yes, I love God", while at the same time he hates his brother, he is a liar.' But they also lie who deny Our Lord the love and reverence — the adoration due to him as our Creator and Father; or who refuse to obey his commandments with the false excuse that such obedience is incompatible with serving men, since St John clearly states that 'in this we know that we love the sons of God, if we love God and keep his commandments. For loving God means keeping his commandments; and his commandments are not a burden to us.' (Friends of God, 166)

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1.23.2017

St. Josemaria on Ecumenism


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. (Christ is passing by, 157)

It is a sad ecumenism indeed when Catholics ill-treat other Catholics! (Furrow, 643)

I once told the Holy Father John XXIII, moved by the affable and fatherly kindness of his manner: 'Holy Father, in our Work all men, Catholics or not, have always found a welcome. I have not learnt ecumenism from your Holiness'. He laughed, for he knew that way back in 1950, the Holy See had authorized Opus Dei to receive in the Association as Cooperators people who are not Catholics or even Christians.

In fact there are many separated brethren who feel attracted by the spirit of Opus Dei and who cooperate in our apostolate, and they include ministers even bishops of their respective confessions. As contacts increase, we receive more and more proofs of affection and cordial understanding. And it is because the members of Opus Dei centre their spirituality simply on trying to live responsibly the commitments and demands of Christian Baptism. A desire to seek Christian perfection and to do apostolate, endeavouring to sanctify their own professional work; the fact of living immersed in secular reality and respecting its proper autonomy, but dealing with it with the spirit and love of contemplative souls; the primacy which we give in the organization of our apostolate to the individual, to the action of the Spirit upon souls, to the dignity and freedom which derive from the divine filiation of Christians. (Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá, 22)

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1.21.2017

St. Josemaria on Being Cheerful



Nobody is happy on earth until he decides not to be. This is the way the path goes: suffering -- in Christian terms -- the Cross; God's Will, Love; happiness here and, afterwards, eternally. (Furrow, 52)

Servite Domino in laetitia! -- I will serve God cheerfully. With a cheerfulness that is a consequence of my Faith, of my Hope and of my Love -- and that will last for ever. For, as the Apostle assures us, Dominus prope est! -- the Lord follows me closely. I shall walk with Him, therefore, quite confidently, for the Lord is my Father, and with his help I shall fulfill his most lovable Will, even if I find it hard. (Furrow, 53)

A piece of advice on which I have insisted repeatedly: be cheerful, always cheerful. It is for those to be sad who do not consider themselves to be sons of God. (Furrow, 54)

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St. Josemaria on Sadness


Never lose heart if you are an apostle. There is no obstacle that you cannot overcome. Why are you sad? (The Way, 660)

True virtue is not sad or disagreeable, but pleasantly cheerful. (The Way, 657)

If things go well, let us rejoice, blessing God who makes them prosper. And if they go badly? Let us rejoice, blessing God who allows us to share in the sweetness of his Cross. (The Way, 658)

You ask me to suggest a cure for your sadness. I'll give you a prescription from an expert adviser, the Apostle Saint James: Tristatur aliquis vestrum, are you sad, my son? Oret! Pray! Try it and you will see. (The Way, 663)

Don't be gloomy. Let your outlook be more 'ours',--more christian. (The Way, 664)

'Laetetur cor quaerentium Dominum. Let the hearts that seek Yahweh rejoice'. There you have light, to help you discover the reasons for your gloominess. (The Way, 666)