Tag Archives: St Josemaria Escriva

Faith in the Church

St Peter’s Basilica

 

The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:

  • In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
  • The Church has always been made up of sinners.
  • The Church, as the Mystical Body of Christ, goes beyond the faithful on earth who make her up at any one time.
  • The Church is founded on rock and will last until the end of time.
  • The British historian Thomas Macaulay and St Josemaria Escriva examine the history of the Church and see an institution which has predated all other institutions on earth and will outlast them all.
  • Pope Francis has called on all the faithful to pray very much and do penance for the Church.

The mission of the laity in the world

The lay members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council” was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel.

They used to joke that the role of the laity was “to pray, pay and obey”! In this meditation we use the words of Our Lord in the Last Supper, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium and St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Christifideles laici to consider the great mission of the lay faithful:

  • The laity have a true vocation, a calling from God to engage in the affairs of the world and order them according to the will of God.
  • The Letter of Diognetus from the early Church describes how Christians are the soul of the world.
  • In order to be effective in their mission, the lay faithful should have a truly lay mentality consisting of seven aspects, including interest in the affairs of the world, a deep interior life, a solid doctrinal formation, an effort to be involved in secular activities and respect for the opinions of others in temporal matters.

Holiness in ordinary life

Pope Francis has given the Church the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”) on the call to holiness in today’s world. Today’s world is very much in need of holiness as it distances itself ever more from God, and the Pope proposes a way of holiness for everyone, for the “middle class”. In this meditation we use this document to consider how:

  • We are all called to holiness since God has loved each one of us and we should love him in return.
  • The Second Vatican Council stated clearly the universal call to holiness.
  • We do not need to withdraw from the world in order to be saints. We can find and love God right where we are in the world.
  • God has given us through the Church all the means we need to grow in holiness.
  • We can find and love God through the most ordinary activities of each day.

The joy of the Resurrection

The Gospels relate the joy of the disciples and the holy women when they saw Our Lord after his Resurrection. That joy can be ours too when we discover Our Lord in the ordinary circumstances of our life and we come to love him. In this meditation we use passages from the Scriptures, from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be glad” and from St Josemaria Escriva to discover how to find the joy we all seek. We consider how:

  • Christ wants everyone to be happy
  • We will be happy when we find Christ and come to love him
  • We can be joyful even in the midst of sickness, worries and misfortunes
  • Cheerfulness is attractive and draws others to God

Sorrow of love

We all offend God many times a day, yet we do not express our sorrow as we should. In this meditation we pray about how we can foster true contrition, sorrow of love, for our sins and failings. We consider:

  • That God truly loves each of us more than all the mothers in the world put together
  • That our sins offend God more than do the sins of others, because he has given us more grace
  • The difference between perfect contrition and imperfect contrition
  • That St Josemaria Escriva calls the act of contrition the best devotion
  • That we should say many acts of contrition each day
  • How we can foster true contrition for our sins

Putting Christ back in Christmas

Nativity scene icon

For more and more people, Christmas is about giving gifts, bringing the family together, having parties and going on holidays. But it is not about the birth of Christ. In this meditation we pray about how we can put Christ in the centre of our life and grow in friendship with him. We consider:

  • Who Christ really is
  • Why he became flesh
  • How he came to be born in Bethlehem
  • What we learn from his birth in a stable
  • How we can grow in love for him through prayer, the Mass, reading the Scriptures, the sacraments, penance and service to others

Knowing how to love

Jesus blessing the children.

 

St Josemaria Escriva called himself a man who knew how to love. Indeed, his great love for God overflowed into love for his fellow man. We should all be people who know how to love. In this meditation we pray about how:

 

  • We are all called to love God because he loved us first
  • Only if we truly love God will we be able to love our fellow man
  • We can grow in love for God in the same way that St Josemaria did: by spending time with him in prayer in its various forms, in Mass and Holy Communion, reading of Scripture,  spiritual reading, etc.
  • We love God with the same heart with which we love others
  • Our love for others should include our effort to help them draw closer to God