Friday, May 31, 2013

Pope Francis’ Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Here is the text of the Holy Father’s homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) which took place in the square in front of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. After the Mass, Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Procession that lead to the Papal basilica of St. Mary Major.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the Gospel we heard, there is an expression of Jesus’ that always strikes me: «You give them something to eat “(Lk 9:13). Starting from this sentence, I will allow myself be guided by three words: discipleship, communion, sharing.
1. First of all: who are those to be fed? The answer is found at the beginning of the Gospel: the crowds, the multitude. Jesus is in the midst of people, he welcomes them, speaks to them, cures them, he shows them the mercy of God; from among them he chooses Twelve Apostles to be with Him and immerse themselves, like Him, in the concrete situations of the world. And the people follow Him, they listen to Him, because Jesus speaks and acts in a new way, with the authority of someone who is genuine and consistent, who speaks and acts with truth, who gives the hope that comes from God, who is the revelation of the Face of a God who is love. And the people joyfully bless God.
Tonight we are the crowd of the Gospel, we seek to follow Jesus to listen to him, to enter into communion with him in the Eucharist, to accompany him and so that he may accompany us. Let us ask ourselves: how do I follow I Jesus? Jesus speaks in silence in the mystery of the Eucharist and each time reminds us that following him means coming out of ourselves and making our life not our own, but a gift to him and to the others.
2. Let’s go further: where does Jesus’ invitation come from, for the disciples themselves to feed the multitude? It stems from two factors: first of all from the crowd that, following Jesus, finds itself outdoors, away from the towns, while evening is approaching, and then from the disciples’ concern to ask Jesus to dismiss the crowd so that they can go into the neighboring territories to find food and lodging (cf. Lk 9:12). Faced with the needs of the crowd, this is the disciples’ solution: every man for himself; dismiss the crowd! Every man for himself; dismiss the crowd! How often do we Christians have this temptation! We do not care about other’s needs, and dismiss them with a pitiful: “May God help you”, or with a not so pitiful: “Good luck”, and if I don’t see you anymore … But Jesus’ solution goes in another direction, one that surprises his disciples: “You yourselves give them something to eat.” But how can we feed a multitude? “We only have five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people» (Lk 9:13). But Jesus is not discouraged: he asks the disciples to make the people sit in communities of fifty people, raises his eyes to heaven, recites the blessing, breaks the loaves and gives them to the disciples to distribute them (cf. Lk 9:16).
It is a moment of profound communion: the crowd, quenched by the word of the Lord, is now nourished by his bread of life. And all of them were filled, notes the Evangelist (cf. Lk 9:17). This evening, we too are around the Lord’s table, the table of the Eucharistic sacrifice, in which he gives us once again his body, he makes present the one sacrifice of the cross. It is in listening to his Word, in nourishing ourselves on his body and his blood, that he makes us go from a multitude to being a community, from anonymity to communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion, that makes us come out from our individualism to live together our discipleship, our faith in him. Then we should all ask ourselves before the Lord: how do I live the Eucharist? Do I live it anonymously or as a moment of true communion with the Lord, but also with all our brothers and sisters who share this same table? What are our Eucharistic celebrations like?
3. One last element: what generates the multiplication of the loaves? The answer lies in Jesus’ invitation to the disciples “You give… “, “give “, share. What do the disciples share? What little they have: five loaves and two fishes. But it is precisely those loaves and fishes in the hands of the Lord that feed the whole crowd. And it is precisely these disciples, distressed when faced with the inability of their means, the poverty of what they can offer, who get the people to sit down and who distribute – trusting Jesus’ word – the loaves and fishes that feed the crowd. And this tells us that in the Church, but also in society, one keyword that we must not fear is ‘solidarity’, i.e. to put at God’s disposal what we have, our humble capacities, because only in sharing, in the gift, will our lives be fruitful, will they bear fruit. Solidarity: a word frowned upon by the worldly spirit!
Tonight, once again, the Lord distributes for us the bread which is his Body, he makes himself gift. And we, too, experience the “solidarity of God” with man, a solidarity that never runs out, a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us: God is near us, in the sacrifice of the cross he stoops to enter into the darkness of death to give us his life, defeating evil, selfishness and death. Jesus also this evening gives himself to us in the Eucharist, he shares our same journey, indeed, he makes himself food, the real food that sustains our lives even in times when the road becomes tough, the obstacles slow our steps. And in the Eucharist, the Lord makes us travel his path, that of service, of sharing, of gift, and what little we have, what little we are, if shared, becomes wealth, because the power of God, which is that of love, descends into our poverty to transform it.
Let us ask ourselves then this evening, worshiping Christ really present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by Him? Do I let the Lord who gives himself to me, guide me to come out more and more from behind my little fence, to go out and not be afraid to give, to share, to love him and others?
Brothers and sisters: discipleship, communion, sharing. Let us pray that the participation in the Eucharist leads us to always follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion, to share what we are with him and with our neighbor. Then our lives will be truly fruitful. Amen.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pope Francis Explains Why He Chose to Live Away From the Papal Apartments

Pope Francis has revealed for the first time the reasons for his decision to shun the official papal apartments and instead live in a much more modest Vatican ‘hotel’.

He has told a friend that he likes being in daily contact with ordinary people, does not want to be isolated and enjoys sitting down to meals with visiting clergy.

The Pope, 76, who on first seeing the papal apartments reportedly exclaimed “But there is room here for 300 people!” hinted that the arrangement may be permanent.

The Pope broke with Vatican tradition when he decided, after being elected on March 13 during a secret conclave of cardinals, not to live in the apostolic apartments.

Instead he opted to remain in the Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican residence which accommodates visiting clergy and lay people, where he had stayed with his fellow cardinals during the conclave.
He lives in a suite of rooms in the residence, which sits in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica, on the other side of the Vatican city state to the apostolic apartments.

He explained his choice in a letter written two weeks ago to an old friend, Father Enrique Martinez, a priest at the Church of the Annunciation in La Rioja.

“I didn’t want to go and live in the apostolic palace. I go over there just to work and for audiences.
“I’ve remained living in the Casa Santa Marta, which is a residence which accommodates bishops, priests and lay people.” There he feels “part of a family” he wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Clarin, an Argentinian daily.

“I’m visible to people and I lead a normal life – a public Mass in the morning, I eat in the refectory with everyone else, et cetera. All this is good for me and prevents me from being isolated.

“I’m trying to stay the same and to act as I did in Buenos Aires because if you change at my age you just look ridiculous.” The Pope, the first Jesuit pontiff in history and the first to come from the Americas, said his election was “something totally surprising” which he considers “a gift from God”.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Francis and the Feast of Corpus Christi - June 2, 2013

2 June 2013, , Feast of Corpus Christi, historical event for the Church: the Eucharistic Adoration will be broadcast for the first time worldwide from St. Peter’s Basilica, from 5:00pm-6:00pm local time. 

“It will be an event,” Archbishop Fisichella explained, “occurring for the first time in the history of the Church, which is why we can describe it as ‘historical’. The cathedrals of the world w
ill be synchronized with Rome and will, for an hour, be in communion with the Pope in Eucharistic adoration. There has been an incredible response to this initiative, going beyond the cathedrals and involving episcopal conferences, parishes, lay associations, and religious congregations, especially cloistered ones.”

From the Cook Islands to Chile, Burkina Faso, Taiwan, Iraq, Bangladesh, the United States, and the Philippines, the dioceses will be synchronized with St. Peter’s and will pray for the intentions proposed by the Pope. The first is: “For the Church spread throughout the world and united today in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist as a sign of unity. May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”

Pope Francis’ second intention is: “For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Positive - Corrective - Approach to the New Boy Scout Policy

May 26th, 2013
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Dear Parishioners of Our Lady Star of the Sea,

Although I am not at all surprised, I am certainly disappointed in the recent decision of the Boy Scouts of America to change their membership policy. The incredible legacy of the Boy Scouts of America and the amount of good they have done for so many years, creates a particular sadness that they would compromise the good of their mission and the good of the boys they serve for the sake of political correctness.

The exact policy change is this: “to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone.” That is to say that those young men aged 10 to 18 who identify themselves as “gay” or “homosexual” will not be excluded from scouting based on the fact of that self-identification.

I do not feel that it is possible for us to live out, and to teach, the authentic truth about human sexuality within the confines of the Boy Scout’s new policy and so I would like to give an explanation as to why it will be necessary for our parish to part ways with the New Boy Scouts.

For many years we have seen headlines that proclaim a genetic origin for homosexuality. Various groups in concert with a willing media have tried to convince people that being “gay” is a genetically defined trait, as if being sexually attracted to a person of the same sex is no different an expression of DNA than one’s height or the color of one’s skin. The reality however, is that there is nothing scientific or logical in such a position.

The genesis of same-sex attraction is much more complicated. As the Catholic Medical Association pointed out in their document, Homosexuality and Hope (November, 2000):

“Individuals experience same-sex attractions for different reasons. While there are similarities in the patterns of development, each individual has a unique, personal history. In the histories of persons who experience same-sex attraction, one frequently finds one or more of the following:
  • Alienation from the father in early childhood, because the father was perceived as hostile or distant, violent or alcoholic(Apperson 1968 ; Bene 1965 ; Bieber 1962 ; Fisher 1996 ; Pillard 1988 ; Sipova 1983 )
  • Mother was overprotective (boys), (Bieber, T. 1971 ; Bieber 1962 ; Snortum 1969 )
  • Mother was needy and demanding (boys), (Fitzgibbons 1999 )
  • Mother emotionally unavailable (girls), (Bradley 1997 ; Eisenbud 1982 )
  • Parents failed to encourage same-sex identification, (Zucker 1995 )
  • Lack of rough and tumble play (boys), (Friedman 1980 ; Hadden 1967a )
  • Failure to identify with same/sex peers, (Hockenberry 1987 ; Whitman 1977 )
  • Dislike of team sports (boys), (Thompson 1973 )
  • Lack of hand/eye coordination and resultant teasing by peers (boys), (Bailey 1993 ; Fitzgibbons 1999 ; Newman 1976 )
  • Sexual abuse or rape, (Beitchman 1991 ; Bradley 1997 ; Engel 1981 ; Finkelhor 1984; Gundlach 1967 )
  • Social phobia or extreme shyness, (Golwyn 1993 )
  • Parental loss through death or divorce, (Zucker 1995)
  • Separation from parent during critical developmental stages. (Zucker 1995)
 Through no fault of their own, through the breakdown of families, through the failures of society at large young people can find themselves struggling with same-sex attraction. The question is, what is the best way to help them? How do we offer hope and healing?

The New Boy Scouts are basically offering a program of ratifying a label of “gay”, which the young man has placed on himself, and which so many elements of society also are happy to place on him.

A survey was done to poll the scouting community as to their opinions concerning the possibility of a policy change, following is one of the questions (the questions were extremely leading, as you can see):

Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?"
Pretty obvious what answer they are looking for.

Based on the more scientific and research backed approach of the Catholic Medical Association here would be a series of more pointed questions which would actually get to the issues that could lead to hope and healing for the boy, rather than imprisoning him in that self-identification for the sake of political correctness:

Tom’s father was an alcoholic; he abandoned the family when Tom was five. To compensate, Tom’s mother was overprotective and began to depend upon Tom even from a very young age. Because of this, Tom never got to play with other boys his age and never played sports. Tom was molested by one of his mother’s boyfriends. Since the age of 12 Tom has been confused about his sexual desires and fantasies and thinks he might be gay. Is all of this acceptable? Should we all tell Tom that this is normal? 

Should we affirm that this 16 year old boy is, in fact, “gay”?
Or should we not have the courage and the love to stand up and say this is a tragedy, an all too common heartbreaking disaster? Should we not admit that it is sad and wrong from beginning to end– and that we are going to do everything we can to help kids like Tom?

Our Lady Star of the Sea parish and our youth programs are willing to accept Tom as a casualty in the disaster that is so often the modern family. We are willing to accept him as confused, as unsure of his masculinity, as having had a hard life, as a kid who needs help, compassion, love, mentoring, guidance – and most importantly we are willing to share the love and healing of Jesus Christ with him. But I’m not willing to put the definitive label “gay” on him.

The CMA document continues with some very important points, which guide my thinking on this issue:
“While a number of studies have shown that children who have been sexually abused, children exhibiting the symptoms of GID (gender identification disorder), and boys with chronic juvenile unmasculinity are at risk for same-sex attractions in adolescence and adulthood, it is important to note that a significant percentage of these children do not become homosexually active as adults. (Green 1985 ; Bradley 1998)

For some, negative childhood experiences are overcome by later positive interactions. Some make a conscious decision to turn away from temptation. The presence and the power of God's grace, while not always measurable, cannot be discounted as a factor in helping an at-risk individual turn away from same-sex attraction. The labeling of an adolescent, or worse a child, as unchangeably "homosexual" does the individual a grave disservice. Such adolescents or children can, with appropriate, positive intervention, be given proper guidance to deal with early emotional traumas.”
So what are we going to do?

Our parish cannot be involved with a group that has decided to ratify or approve the self-identification of a 10-18 year old boy as “gay” or “homosexual”. To me it is cruel, and abusive and absolutely contrary to the Gospel to in any way confirm a teenager in the confusion of same-sex attraction, which is what the New Boy Scout policy will do.

And so, we are going to redouble our efforts to create a community that is supportive of happy, healthy, holy marriages. In our marriage preparation we are going to try to get women to stop marrying such loser men who will never be capable of being good dads and husbands, and vice versa. We are going to teach the full truth of human sexuality – especially the truth about contraception as the greatest destroyer of marriage and family life.

We are going to continue to preach the truth from natural law and Sacred Scripture that kids should have a mom and a dad who love each other and who love them – that kids do best in that environment. But we are also going to try to help the great number of families, who, through no fault of their own, or through past mistakes find themselves in difficult situations and in less than optimal circumstances – and we are going to do our best to help them and to provide whatever we can for them to be as successful as possible. We are going to try to provide family activities for moms and dads, single parents, divorced parents, grandparents raising their grandkids – really for anyone who is striving to live the Catholic faith in the mixed up mess of a modern world that we live in.

We  are going to provide youth activities for any and all youth. And in our programs we will have strong mentors, good examples of Christian men and women; we will teach the Gospel; we will challenge kids to live the virtues; we will teach the truth in a very confused world; and we will invite our youth into a friendship with Jesus Christ that can heal any past hurts. Our current Fraternus andFidelis programs are well equipped to help cultivate authentically masculine and feminine identities. We will also develop new programs to help replace what we will be losing from the legacy of Scouting.

 I am very aware that my objection to the change in the New Boy Scouts is increasingly considered bigoted and backward. I know that there are many good people within the Catholic Church who will disagree with me. I am aware that in many people’s minds “homosexual” identity is the new civil-rights issue and that there has been huge swing in public opinion on this issue over the past few years.
 But I won’t put public opinion ahead of the good of the boys and young men in my parish, and I won’t pretend that polls can trump the truths about sexuality and humanity that are revealed to us, first of all by natural law, and confirmed in Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church.

In Christ, 

Fr. Derek Lappe
Pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea

Father Derek Lappe
Written on Sunday, 26 May 2013 12:53 by Father Derek Lappe 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Archdiocese Pays for Health Plan That Covers Birth Control

Published: May 26, 2013

As the nation’s leading Roman Catholic bishop, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York has been spearheading the fight against a provision of the new health care law that requires employers, including some that are religiously affiliated, to cover birth control in employee health plans.

But even as Cardinal Dolan insists that requiring some religiously affiliated employers to pay for contraception services would be an unprecedented, and intolerable, government intrusion on religious liberty, the archdiocese he heads has quietly been paying for such coverage, albeit reluctantly and indirectly, for thousands of its unionized employees for over a decade.

The Archdiocese of New York has previously acknowledgedthat some local Catholic institutions offer health insurance plans that include contraceptive drugs to comply with state law; now, it is also acknowledging that the archdiocese’s own money is used to pay for a union health plan that covers contraception and even abortion for workers at its affiliated nursing homes and clinics.
“We provide the services under protest,” said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.
As president of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Dolan has consistently rejected similar arm’s-length compromises offered by the Obama administration, which has agreed to exempt many religious institutions from the provision, but not religiously affiliated employers like schools and hospitals that employ people of many faiths and do not exist primarily to inculcate religious values.
In February, the bishops opposed a proposal that would have allowed employees of those nonexempt religious institutions to receive contraceptive coverage through policies paid for directly by insurance companies. The New York Archdiocese is also suing the federal government to stop the mandate.
“There remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities,” Cardinal Dolan said at the time.
The archdiocese agreed to cover its own health workers long before Cardinal Dolan became archbishop of New York, and even today insists that it has no choice. As a result, about 3,000 full-time workers at ArchCare, also known as the Catholic Health Care System, receive coverage for contraception and voluntary pregnancy termination through their membership in 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a powerful health care workers union, according to Dave Bates, a spokesman for the union.
ArchCare, which operates seven nursing homes and a variety of other health facilities, gives its 1199 union employees the same coverage they would get at over 100 other nonprofit hospitals or nursing homes in the New York area, because ArchCare voluntarily belongs to the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, a multi-employer organization that negotiates with the union every few years for a joint labor contract.
Bruce McIver, the president of the league since 1991, said he recalled that some Catholic organizations had expressed concern about paying for the contraception benefits in the mid- to late 1990s. But in recent years, as the number of Catholic hospitals in the city dwindled, “they just kind of stopped, from my perspective, paying attention to this issue,” he said.
“Eventually, the Catholics just said, you know, we are going to ignore the issue and pay into the fund and people are going to make their own choices about contraception and so forth,” Mr. McIver said.
During union negotiations, “I don’t remember it coming up in the last dozen years or so, ever,” he said. “In a place like New York, their employees, not all of whom are Catholic, would react pretty badly.”
ArchCare, like other employers in the league, does not directly pay for the coverage. Instead, employers contribute to the union’s National Benefits Fund, in amounts equal to roughly 25 percent of each employee’s base pay; that money is used to pay for the insurance coverage. It is not known how many ArchCare workers actually use the disputed services.
Mr. Zwilling, the spokesman for the New York archdiocese, said that Cardinal John J. O’Connor and the archdiocese “objected to these services’ being included in the National Benefit Fund’s health insurance plan” when joining the league in the 1990s. But the cardinal then decided “there was no other option if the Catholic Church was to continue to provide health care to these union-affiliated employees in the city of New York,” Mr. Zwilling said.
Since 2002, other New York Catholic agencies with standard commercial insurance have been subject to a state mandate to provide contraceptive services, Mr. Zwilling added. Fordham University, for example, covers contraception for employees and students. But rather than nullify the issue, “in fact, these rare exceptional concessions have made the bishops even more aware of the gravity of the situation and lead to the attempt to remedy the matter on a national level,” he said.
In theory, ArchCare could have negotiated independently with the union to avoid providing its 1199 employees — health support staff members ranging from physician assistants to orderlies — abortion and contraception coverage. The archdiocese avoids providing those services for 1,100 other ArchCare employees, for example, by insuring them through a special self-insurance plan that is exempt from the mandate. But in reality, “it would be very difficult,” Mr. McIver said. “It’s hard to go backwards.”
Similar skepticism was expressed by Scott LaRue, the chief executive of ArchCare. “It doesn’t matter whether you join the league or you don’t join; the league determines the contract, and then the union goes and forces the same arrangement on the other homes whether you are in the league or not,” he said.
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Religious employers nationally have often grudgingly covered contraception, whether to comply with state health care mandates or because they simply did not realize they were doing so, said Stephen S. Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, in Washington.
“It’s surprising, but a good number of employers don’t really get into the weeds that much with their insurance plans to know” if they are covering contraception and sterilization, Mr. Schneck said.
Even among the more than two dozen for-profit companies suing the Health and Human Services Department over the mandate, some were paying for contraception and other objectionable coverage until recently. They included the American Manufacturing Corporation, a mud pumping company in Minnesota whose owner, Gregory Hall, a Catholic deacon, played a pivotal role in helping to free trapped Chilean miners in 2010.
Mr. Hall’s lawyer, Tom Matthews, said his client realized that he was covering contraception for his employees only in December, when reviewing what the government would require in his next health care contract. More recently, he was “very upset” to find the plan had also been covering abortion, Mr. Matthews said. A federal court granted the company an injunction that will allow it to stop the coverage until the courts settle the matter.
Another company, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors in Illinois, found out in August that its insurance was covering abortion, contraception and sterilization “as a mistake,” according to Edward L. White, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice in Washington. Korte is one of seven companies represented by the American Center in a challenge to the mandate.
Federal courts have dismissed most of the roughly 30 lawsuits already filed against the mandate by Catholic dioceses and other nonprofit corporations, because the government is not enforcing the mandate for religiously affiliated nonprofits until this August. The case brought by the New York Archdiocese, however, is moving forward. The mandate already applies to for-profit companies, but many of those suing have been granted reprieves until the end of their legal cases.
In courtrooms, government lawyers have pointed out to judges that some of the employers challenging the mandate have already been providing similar coverage. But Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is also representing companies suing against the mandate, said that so far “the courts have not bought the argument that, aha, you must not really mean it if you haven’t caught it before now.”
Sarah Lipton-Lubet, an analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, which supports the contraception mandate, sees the matter differently.
“I can’t begin to understand the argument that coverage that has been part of the plan for however many years is suddenly anathema,” she said.

Francis: Jettison the Culture Based on Economic Wellbeing and the Provisional

May 27, 2013

(Vatican Radio) In order to follow Jesus we must get rid of our culture based on economic wellbeing and of our attraction for the provisional. This was the message highlighted this morning by Pope Francis during Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Addressing those present the Pope invited us to examine our consciences and take stock of the riches that prevent us from getting close to Jesus. The Mass, that was concelebrated by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, also saw the participation of members of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers led by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski President of the Council, and a group of collaborators of the Vatican Department of Economic Services, led by Mr. Sabatino Napolitano.
Jesus asked a young man to give all his riches to the poor and then to follow him. But when the young man heard this, he went away sad. Pope Francis’ homily found inspiration in the well-known episode narrated in the Gospel, and he underlined that “riches are an impediment” that “do not facilitate our journey towards the Kingdom of God”. And he pointed out: “Each and every one of us has riches”. There is always, he said, a richness that “stops us from getting close to Jesus”. And this must be singled out. We must all, he continued, examine our conscience and pinpoint our riches because they stop us from getting close to Jesus on the path of life”. And the Pope focused on what he called two “cultural riches”: the first, a “culture of economic wellbeing that causes us to be lacking in courage, makes us lazy, makes us selfish”. Wellbeing, he said, “anaesthetizes us, it’s an anaesthetic”.
“No, no, not more than one child, because otherwise we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house. It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point. This is what economic wellbeing does to us: we all know what wellbeing is, but it deprives us of courage, of the courage we need to get close to Jesus. This is the first richness of the culture of today, the culture of economic wellbeing”.
There is also, he added, “another richness in our culture”, another richness that prevents us from getting close to Jesus: it’s our fascination for the temporary”. We, he observed, are “in love with the provisional”. We don’t like Jesus’s “definitive proposals”. Instead we like what is temporary because “we are afraid of God’s time” which is definitive.
“He is the Lord of time; we are the masters of the moment. Why? Because we are in command of the moment: I will follow the Lord up to this point, and then I will see… I heard of a man who wanted to become a priest - but only for ten years, not any longer…” Attraction for the provisional: this is a richness. We want to become masters of time, we live for the moment. These two riches are the ones that, in this moment, prevent us from going forward. I think of so many men and women who have left their land to work throughout their lives as missionaries: that is definitive!”.
And, he said, I also think of so many men and women who “have left their homes to commit to a lifelong marriage”, that is “to follow Jesus closely! It’s the definitive”. The temporary, Pope Francis stressed, “is not following Jesus”, it’s “our territory”.
Before Jesus’ invitation, before these two cultural riches, let us think of the disciples: they were disconcerted. We too can be disconcerted by Jesus’ request. When Jesus explained something, people listened in amazement. Let us ask the Lord to give us the courage to go forward, to rid ourselves of this culture of economic wellbeing, hoping in time – at the end of the journey where He awaits us. Not with the small hope of the moment that will no longer be of any use. And so be it”.

Trinity Sunday - The Pope As Bishop of Rome Left the Pope in the Vatican and Preached to the Children + Heard Confessions: WOW

Today the Pope paid his first visit to a Roman diocese, in the city’s Prima Porta suburb. In his homily Francis spoke about Mary's haste to help us and about the ability to see reality more clearly from a distance and from within a different context. He also explained the Trinity to children

The Pope held a lively question and answer session with children of the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, in the Prima Porta suburb of Rome, who came to see Francis on his first visit to a Roman parish this morning. The Pope started off commenting on the part of the Gospel that describes Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. He then went on to explain the meaning of the Trinity in the Christian faith, asking the children questions and waiting for their responses.

Francis’ pre-mass address to the faithful and the parish priest of this church on the far northern suburb of Rome was a blend of humour and sober reflection. He referred to the congregation as the city’s guards.

 “Dear first guard and dear second guard, I like what you say about guards; one gets a far clearer perspective of reality from the peripheries than they do from the centre. We need to be guards, just like you said. I give thanks to you for the work you do as a guard and I give thanks for the hospitality given to me on Trinity Sunday. Present here today are the priests you know so well, the Pope’s two secretaries, and the Bishop of Rome. The Pope stayed behind in the Vatican. These last two work well together. One of them, Fr. Alfred is celebrating the 29th anniversay of his priestly ordination. Let us pray for him and hope he will serve for at least another 29 years,” Francis said.

“Mary is always in a hurry because she wants to help us not because she wants to brag about the fact she is the mother of God. She goes to help Elizabeth: “She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says “Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!”” “This makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. Our Lady also helps us to understand God well.” The Pope then asked the children present about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in order to explain the Trinity (today is the feast of the Holy Trinity) to them.

“I ask you, children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? 1? But they told me that there are 3: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How do we explain this? Is there 1 or is there 3? 1? 1? And how do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other Holy Spirit? Louder, louder! Good answer. They are 3 in 1, 3 persons in 1. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin, the Father, who created everything, created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who knows how to say what Jesus does? He loves us? And what else? What did Jesus do on the earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! The first one: he helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, he helps us, he guides us and he teaches us how to go forward. And Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. Is that right? He supports us! Good! In difficulties, right? And even in school work! He supports us, he helps us, he guides us, he supports us. Okay! Jesus is always with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart. Well, let’s all think about this,” the Pope said.  “Let us ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, always quick to help us, that she help us always to understand well how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is and how the Holy Spirit is,” the Pope said, concluding his homily.

Before celebrating mass in the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, Francis also listened to the confessions of eight faithful. During last Saturday’s vigil with religious movements, he said: “When I go to listen to confession, I mean when I used to – I can’t any more because I can’t leave this place…” Today he was able once again to listen confessions in a parish outside the Vatican.

Testimony of Henry Adams Concerning the Virgin – Grandson of John Quincy, and Great Grandson of John Adams. Not Catholic - Yet Penetrating Insight Into The Blessed Virgin Mary: Mont-Saint Michel and Chartres Doubleday Anchor (1959) 307-308.

   "True it was, although one should not say it jestingly, that the Virgin embarrassed the Trinity; and perhaps this was the reason, behind all the other excellent reasons, why men loved and adored her with a passion such as no other deity has ever inspired: and why we, although utter strangers to her, are not far from getting down on our knees and praying to her still. Mary concentrated in herself the whole rebellion of man against fate; the whole protest against divine law; the whole contempt for human law as its outcome; the whole unutterable fury of human nature beating itself against the walls of its prison-house, and suddenly seized by a hope that in the Virgin man had found a door of escape. She knew that the universe was as unintelligible to her, on any theory of morals, as it was to her worshipers, and she felt, like them, no sure conviction that it was any more intelligible to the Creator of it. To her, every suppliant was a universe in itself, to be judged apart, on his own merits, by his love for her - by no means on his orthodoxy, or his conventional standing in the Church, or according to his correctness in defining the nature of the Trinity. The convulsive hold which Mary to this day maintains over human imagination - as you can see at Lourdes - was due much less to her power of saving soul or body than to her sympathy with people who suffered under law - divine or human - just or unjustly, by accident or design, by decree of God or by guile of Devil. She cared not a straw for conventional morality, and she had no notion of letting her friends be punished, to the tenth or any other generation, for the sins of their ancestors or the peccadilloes of Eve.

  So Mary filled heaven with a sort of persons little to the taste of any respectable middle-class society, which has trouble enough in making this world decent and pay its bills, without having to continue the effort in another. Mary stood in a Church of her own, so independent that the Trinity might have perished without much affecting her position,; but, on the other hand, the Trinity could look on and see her dethroned with almost a breath of relief....." (p. 307)

The "Juggler (Tambeor - acrobat) of Notre Dame” who could do nothing well but did his acrobatics before the Blessed Sacrament and the image of Our Lady (after which she came down and wiped the sweat from his forehead) is pp. 312-318 in poetry. 

Testimonials by JPII and BXVI on St. Josemaria Escriva

Speech to the Participants of the Canonization of Josemaria Escriva. October 7, 2002
(At the end of the Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of the Founder of Opus Dei, the Holy Father John Paul II granted an audience with the participants of the canonization. The following is the speech given by the Holy Father at the audience.)

Dear brothers and sisters!

With joy I extend to you my cordial greetings, on the day after blessed Josemaría Escriva de Balaguer's canonization. I thank Bishop Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei, for what he said on behalf of all of you here. I greet affectionately the many cardinals, bishops and priests who have decided to take part in this celebration.

This festive encounter brings together a wide variety of the faithful, proceeding from many countries and belonging to the most diverse social and cultural environments: priests and laity, men and women, young and old, intellectuals and manual workers. This is a sign of the apostolic zeal that burned in Saint Josemaria's soul.

In the Founder of Opus Dei, love for the will of God was an outstanding characteristic. Here is a sure criterion of holiness: faithfulness to the fulfillment of the divine will, even to the last consequences. For each one of us the Lord has a plan, to each one he entrusts a mission on earth. The saint cannot even conceive of himself outside God's plan: he lives only to carry it out.
Saint Josemaria was chosen by the Lord to proclaim the universal call to holiness and to indicate that everyday life, its customary activities, are a path towards holiness. It could be said that he was the saint of the ordinary. He was really convinced that, for whoever lives with an outlook of faith, everything offers an opportunity for a meeting with God, everything becomes a stimulus for prayer. Seen in that way, daily life reveals an unsuspected greatness. Holiness is really put on everyone's doorstep.

Escriva de Balaguer was a saint of great humanity. All those who dealt with him, of whatever level of education or social condition, felt him to be a father, totally dedicated to the service of the others, because he was convinced that each soul is a marvelous treasure; in fact, each person is worth all the Blood of Christ. This attitude of service is plain to see in his dedication to priestly ministry and in the magnanimity with which he pushed ahead so many works of evangelization and of human development to help the poorest.

The Lord made him understand deeply the gift of our divine filiation. Blessed Josemaria taught how to contemplate the tender face of a Father in God, who speaks to us through the most varied vicissitudes of life. A Father who loves us, who follows us step by step and protects us, understands us and waits for a response of love from each one of us. The consideration of this paternal presence, which accompanies him everywhere, gives the Christian an unshakable confidence; at every moment he should confide in the heavenly Father. He never feels alone, nor is he afraid. In the Cross, when it appears, he does not see a punishment but rather a mission entrusted by the Lord himself. The Christian is necessarily optimistic, because he knows that he is a son of God in Christ.

Saint Josemaria was profoundly convinced that Christian life entails a mission and an apostolate: we are in the world to save it with Christ. He loved the world passionately, with a "redemptive love" (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 604). It is precisely for this reason that his teachings have helped so many ordinary members of the faithful discover the redemptive power of faith, its capacity to transform the earth.

This is a message that has abundant and fruitful implications for the evangelizing mission of the Church. It fosters the Christianization of the world "from within," showing that there can be no conflict between the divine law and the demands of genuine human progress. This saintly priest taught that Christ must be the apex of all human activity (cf. Jn12:32). His message impels the Christian to act in places where the future of society is being shaped. From the laity's active presence in all the professions and at the most advanced frontiers of development, there can only come a positive contribution to the strengthening of that harmony between faith and culture which is one of the great needs of our time.
Saint Josemaria Escriva spent his life in the service of the Church. In his writings, priests, laypersons who follow the most diverse ways, and men and women religious find a stimulating source of inspiration. Dear brothers and sisters, in imitating him with an openness of spirit and of heart, with availability to serve the local Churches, you contribute to giving force to the "spirituality of communion" which the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte identifies as one of the most important aims of our times (cf. nos. 42-45).
It is a joy for me to conclude with an appeal to the liturgical feast of this day, Our Lady of the Rosary. Saint Josemaria wrote a fine short work entitled Holy Rosary, which is inspired in spiritual childhood, a disposition of spirit proper to those who want to reach total abandonment to the divine will. I wholeheartedly entrust all of you to the maternal protection of Mary, along with your families and your apostolate, thanking you for your presence.

I thank once again all those present, especially those who have come from far away. I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to give clear witness of faith everywhere, following your holy founder's example and teaching. I accompany you with my prayer and give you, your families and your activities my heartfelt blessing.


Cardinal Ratzinger. Rome, May 19, 1992

St John’s Apocalypse, which tells us of so many terrible events both past and future, also opens up Heaven upon the earth and shows us that God still holds the world in his hands. However great the power of evil, God’s victory is assured in the end. From the depths of the world’s misery there rises a song of praise. God’s throne is surrounded by an ever-growing choir of souls who have achieved salvation, who, forgetful of self, have made their lives into a movement of joy and glory. This choir does not sing only in the next world, but is being prepared in the midst of the history of this world, and is already present among us, though hidden. This is clearly shown by the voice that comes from the throne of God himself: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great” (Apoc 19:5). This is a call to our world, a call to commit ourselves to the one thing that matters and so form part of the eternal liturgy here and now. The beatification of Josemaría Escrivá tells us that this priest of our times now forms part of the choir that is praising God in Heaven, and that in him too the words of today’s reading are fulfilled: “Those whom he predestined (…) he also glorified” (Rm 8:30). This glorifying does not belong to the future but has already taken place, as beatifications remind us. “Praise our God (…) small and great”: Josemaría Escrivá heard this voice, and understood it as the vocation of his life, but he did not only apply it to himself and his own life. He considered it his mission to pass on the “voice which comes from the throne”, and make it heard in our times. He invited great and small to praise God, and by that very fact he glorified God.

Josemaría Escrivá realised very early on that God had a plan for him, that God wanted something of him. But he did not know what it was. How could he find the answer, where should he look for it? He started his search primarily by listening to the Word of God, Holy Scripture. He read the Bible not as a book of the past, nor as a book of problems to be argued about, but as a word for the present, that talks to us today: a word in which we are each the protagonist, and need to look for our place in it, so that we can find our way. In this search, he was especially moved by the story of the blind man Bartimaeus, who, sitting at the roadside on the way to Jericho, heard that Jesus was passing by and shouted out his appeal for mercy (cf. Mk 10:46-52). While the disciples tried to make the blind beggar keep quiet, Jesus turned towards him and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus replied, “Lord, that I may see!” Josemaría recognised himself in Bartimaeus. “Lord, that I may see!” was his constant cry: “Lord, make me see your will!” People only begin to see truly when they learn to see God. And they begin to see God when they see his will and are ready to make it their own. The desire to see God’s will and to identify his will with God’s was always the basic motivation of Escrivá’s life. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This desire, this unceasing plea, prepared him to answer, in the moment of illumination, like Peter: “Lord, at your word I will let down the nets” (Lk 5:5). His “yes” was no less audacious than the Apostle’s, on Lake Genesareth, after a long and unproductive night. Spain was convulsed with hatred for the Church, for Christ, and for God. People were trying to rip the Church out of the country at the time when Escrivá received the call to let down his nets for God. From that moment on, and throughout his life, as a fisher of God, he kept throwing out the divine nets tirelessly in the seas of our history, to bring great and small to the light, to return their sight to them.

The will of God. Saint Paul says of it to the Thessalonians: “This is the will of God: your sanctification” (I Thess 4:3). The will of God is, ultimately, very simple, and at its core it is always the same: holiness. And holiness means, as today’s reading tells us, becoming like Christ (cf. Rom 8:29). Josemaría Escrivá considered this call as addressed not to himself alone, but above all as a message to pass on to others: to encourage them to seek for holiness, and to gather a community of brothers and sisters for Christ.

The meaning of the word “holy” has undergone a dangerous narrowing in the course of time, and this certainly still influences it today. It makes us think of the saints whose statues and paintings we see at the altars, of miracles and heroic virtues, and it suggests that holiness is for a few chosen ones, among whom we cannot be included. Then we leave holiness to the few, the unknown number, and content ourselves with being just the way we are.
Amidst this spiritual apathy, Josemaría Escrivá issued a wake-up call, shouting: “No! Holiness is not something extra, it is what is normal for every baptised person. Holiness does not consist of the sort of heroism that is impossible to imitate, but has a thousand forms and can become a reality anywhere, in any job. It is normal, and it consists of directing one’s ordinary life towards God and filling it through with the spirit of faith.”

Conscious of this message, our new Blessed journeyed untiringly through different continents, speaking to everyone to encourage them to be saints, to live the adventure of being Christians wherever their lives took them. In that way he became a great man of action, who lived by God’s will and called others to it, without ever becoming a “moralizer”. He knew that we cannot make ourselves holy. Just as love presupposes the passive – being loved –, so too holiness always goes together with the passive: accepting the fact of being loved by God.

The Work he founded was called Opus Dei, not Opus nostrum: the Work of God, not a work of ours. He did not want to create his work, the work of Josemaría Escrivá: he wasn’t aiming to build a monument to himself. “My work is not mine,” he could and did say, in line with Christ’s words and in identification with Christ (cf. Jn 7:16): he did not want anything of his own, but to make room for God to do his Work. He was certainly also aware of what Jesus tells us in St John’s Gospel: “This is the work of God, that you believe” (Jn 6:29); in other words, to surrender ourselves to God so that he can act through us.

Thus we come to another point of identification with the word of Sacred Scripture. The words of St Peter in today’s Gospel were something Josemaría Escrivá also made his own: Homo peccator sum: I am a sinful man. When our new Blessed saw the abundant catch he had achieved with his life, he was appalled, like St Peter, on seeing his own wretchedness in comparison with what God wanted to do in and through him. He used to call himself a “founder without foundation” and “a clumsy instrument”. He knew and saw clearly that all of this was not done by himself, that he could not do it, but that it was God acting through an instrument which seemed totally disproportionate. And that is what “heroic virtue” ultimately means: making a reality of what God alone can do.

Josemaría Escrivá recognised his own wretchedness, but surrendered himself to God without worrying about himself, holding himself ready, instead, for whatever God wanted. He got rid of self, and of all self-interest. Again and again he would speak of his “madnesses”: the madness of beginning without any means, beginning in impossible circumstances. They seemed to be madnesses that he had to stake everything on, and he ran the risk. In this context, the words of his great compatriot Miguel de Unamuno come to mind: “Only madmen do what is reasonable: the wise can only do foolishness.” He dared to be something like a Don Quixote of God. After all, does it not seem quixotic to teach, in the middle of today’s world, about humility, obedience, chastity, detachment from material possessions, and forgetfulness of self? God’s will was what was really reasonable to him, and that showed that the most seemingly irrational things were really reasonable.

The will of God. God’s will has a specific place and a specific shape in this world: it has a body. The Body of Christ has remained in the Church. Hence, obedience to God’s will cannot be separated from obedience to the Church. Only if I include my mission in my obedience to the Church do I have the guarantee that my own ideals can be considered God’s will, the guarantee that I am really following his call. So for Josemaría Escrivá the basic measure of his mission was always obedience to and union with the hierarchical Church. This does not imply any kind of positivism or dictatorship. The Church is not a power-structure, nor is she an association for religious, social or moral purposes that has to work out methods of achieving her aims better, updating and replacing those methods as necessary. The Church is a Sacrament. That means that she does not belong to herself. She does not do her own work, but has to be ever available to do God’s. She is bound up with God’s will. The Sacraments structure her life, and the centre of the Sacraments is the Eucharist, in which we touch the real presence of Jesus Christ in the most direct way. And so, for our new Blessed, ecclesiality meant first and foremost living in the centre of the Church, which is the Eucharist. He loved and proclaimed the Eucharist in all its dimensions: as adoration of our Lord present among us in a hidden but real way; as a gift in which Jesus gives himself to us again and again; as a sacrifice, in accordance with the words of Scripture, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me” (Heb 10:5; cf. Ps 40:6-8). Only Christ can share himself out, because he has offered himself up in sacrifice, because he has surpassed himself out of love, because he has surrendered himself, and surrenders himself still. We will only manage to become like the Image of the Son if we enter into this movement of self-giving love, if we become sacrifice. Love is not possible without the passive aspect of the passio which transforms us, opening us up.

When Josemaría Escriva fell seriously ill at the age of two and was despaired of by the doctors, his mother decided to dedicate him to Mary. Despite huge difficulties, she took her son up the steep, rough path to the shrine of Our Lady of Torreciudad, and there she offered him to the Mother of the Lord, asking her to be his mother. So all his life Josemaria knew that he was under the protection of our Lady, who was his Mother. In the room where he worked, opposite the door, there was a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe; whenever he went in, his first glance was for her. And his last glance of all was also for her. At the moment he died, he had just gone into that room and looked at the picture of his Mother, when he collapsed on the floor. As he died, the Angelus bells were ringing, announcing Mary’s “fiat” and the grace of the Incarnation of her Son, our Saviour. Under that sign, which had been there at the beginning of his life and had shown him his road, he returned to God.
Let us thank God our Lord for this witness of faith in our times, for this untiring herald of his will, and let us ask, “Lord, may I also see! May I recognise your will and do it!” Amen.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

7 October 2002

I have always been impressed by Josemaría Escrivá's explanation of the name "Opus Dei": an explanation which we might call biographical and which gives us an idea of the founder's spiritual profile. Escrivá knew he had to found something, but he was also conscious that what he was founding was not his own work, that he himself did not invent anything and that the Lord was merely making use of him. So it was not his work, but Opus Dei (God's Work). He was only the instrument for God's action.

In thinking about this, I remember the Lord's words in John's Gospel: "My Father is working still" (5,17). These are words that Jesus spoke in a discussion with a few experts in religion who did not want to recognize that God can work even on the Sabbath. This is still an ongoing debate, in a certain way, among the men and women—also Christians—of our time. There are those who think that after creation, God "withdrew" and took no further interest in our daily affairs. To this way of thinking, God can no longer enter the fabric of our daily lives. But we have a denial of this in Jesus' words. A man open to God's presence realizes that God is always working and is still working today: we must therefore let him in and let him work. That is how things which give humanity a future and renew it are born.

All this helps us understand why Josemaría Escrivá did not claim to be the "founder" of anything, but only someone who wanted to do God's will and second his action, his work, precisely, God's. In this regard, Escrivá de Balaguer's theocentrism, consistent with Jesus' words, means being confident that God did not withdraw from the world, that God is working today, and that all we have to do is put ourselves at his disposal, make ourselves available to him, and responsive to his call, is an extremely important message. It is a message that helps to overcome what can be considered the great temptation of our time: the claim, that after the "big bang" God withdrew from history, God's action did not stop with the "big bang" but continues in time, both in the world of nature and in the human world.

Thus the founder of the Opus said: "I did not invent anything; another is acting and I am merely ready to serve him as an instrument". This is how the name and the whole reality that we call Opus Dei is profoundly linked with the interior life of the founder who, while remaining very discreet on this point, gives us to understand that he was in a permanent dialogue, a real contact with the One who created us and works for us and with us. The Book of Exodus says of Moses (33,11) "thus the Lord used to speak to Moses as to a friend". It seems to me that even if the veil of discretion may hide many of the details from us, nonetheless from those small references one realizes that the words "speaking as to a friend" can very aptly be applied to Josemaría Escrivá, who opens the doors of the world to let God come in, work and transform all things.

In this light it is also easier to understand what "holiness" and the "universal vocation to holiness" mean. Knowing a little about the history of saints, knowing that in canonization processes their "heroic" virtues are investigated, we almost inevitably slip into an erroneous concept of holiness: "It is not for me", we are inclined to think, "because I do not feel able to achieve heroic virtues: it's too exalted an ideal for me". Holiness then becomes something reserved for the "important" [people], whose images we see above the altars, worlds apart indeed from us normal sinners. However, this is an erroneous concept of holiness, a wrong perception which has been corrected—and this seems to me to be the main point—by Josemaría Escrivá.
Heroic virtue does not mean that the saint works out a "gymnastics" of holiness that ordinary people could not tackle. It means, instead, that God's presence is revealed in the life of a person; it is revealed when the person could do nothing by himself or for himself. Perhaps basically, it is a question of terminology because the adjective "heroic" was badly explained. Heroic virtue does not actually mean that someone has done great things by himself, but that situations arise in his life independently of anything he has done: he was simply transparent and available for God's work. Or, in other words, being holy is nothing other than speaking with God as a friend speaks to a friend. That is holiness.

Being holy does not mean being superior to others; indeed, a saint can be very weak and make many blunders in his life. Holiness is profound contact with God, being a friend of God; it is letting the Other act, the One who really can guarantee that the world is good and happy. If therefore St Josemaría speaks of the common vocation to holiness, it seems to me that he is basically drawing on his own personal experience, not of having done incredible things himself, but of having let God work. Therefore a renewal, a force for good was born in the world even if human weaknesses will always remain. Truly we are all able, we are all called to open ourselves to this friendship with God, not to let go of God's hands, not to give up, turning and returning to the Lord, speaking to him as to a friend, knowing well that the Lord really is the true friend of everyone, even of those who cannot do great things on their own.

All this has enabled me to discern more clearly the profile of Opus Dei, this surprising link between absolute fidelity to the great tradition of the Church and to her faith, with a disarming simplicity and unconditional openness to all the challenges of this world, in the academic world, in the world of work, in the world of economics, etc. Those who have this link with God, those who have this uninterrupted conversation with him, can dare to respond to these challenges and are no longer afraid because those who are in God's hands always fall into God's hands. This is how fear disappears and, instead, the courage is born to respond to the contemporary world.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English

9 October 2002, page 3