La charité du Christ doit te pousser

« Tu as besoin de vie intérieure et de formation doctrinale. Sois exigeant avec toi-même ! Toi, qui es un homme chrétien, une femme chrétienne, tu dois être le sel de la terre et la lumière du monde, parce que tu as l’obligation de donner le bon exemple d’une sainte imprudence. La charité du Christ doit te pousser avec urgence. Et si tu te sens, si tu te sais un autre Christ depuis le moment où tu Lui as dit que tu Le suivais, tu ne vas pas te séparer de tes semblables, tes parents, tes amis, tes collègues, tout comme l’on ne peut séparer le sel de l’aliment qu’il assaisonne. Ta vie intérieure et ta formation comportent la piété et le jugement que toi posséder un enfant de Dieu, pour que sa présence active puisse relever toute chose. Prie le Seigneur pour que tu sois toujours une épice dans la vie des autres. » – St Josémaria, La Forge, 450

« Le chrétien ne peut se contenter de s’arrêter à ses problèmes personnels, car il doit vivre en rapport avec l’Église universelle, en pensant au salut de toutes les âmes.

 

Ainsi, même les affaires que nous pourrions considérer comme les plus intimes et privées, le souci de notre progrès intérieur, ne nous sont pas personnelles, car la sanctification forme un tout indissociable avec l’apostolat. Nous devons lutter dans notre vie intérieure pour développer en nous les vertus chrétiennes, en pensant au bien de toute l’Église, car nous ne pourrions pas faire le bien et faire connaître le Christ s’il n’y avait en nous un effort sincère pour incarner pratiquement dans notre vie l’enseignement de l’Évangile.

 

Si nous sommes imprégnés de cet esprit, nos prières, même lorsqu’elles commencent par des sujets et des propos en apparence personnels, finissent toujours par s’orienter vers le service des autres. Et si nous cheminons la main dans la main avec la Sainte Vierge, Elle nous fera ressentir notre fraternité avec tous les hommes, car nous sommes tous les enfants de ce Dieu dont Elle est Fille, Épouse et Mère.

 

Il faut que les problèmes des autres soient nos problèmes ; la fraternité chrétienne doit être profondément ancrée dans nos âmes, de sorte que personne ne nous soit indifférent. Marie, la Mère de Jésus, qui l’a nourri, élevé et accompagné durant sa vie sur terre, et qui maintenant se trouve à ses côtés au Ciel, nous aidera à reconnaître ce Jésus qui passe à côté de nous, et qui se présente à travers les besoin de nos frères les hommes. » – St Josémaria, Quand le Christ passe, 145

Préoccupation pour l’apostolat

Si, par ta prière, ton esprit de sacrifice et tes actes, tu ne fais pas preuve d’une préoccupation constante pour l’apostolat, voilà une preuve évidente que tu n’es pas assez heureux, et donc que ta fidélité doit s’accroître. En effet, il s’efforce de le donner aux autres, celui qui jouit du bonheur ou du bien. Lorsque tu fouleras pour de bon aux pieds ton propre moi et que tu vivra pour les autres, c’est alors que tu sera l’instrument qu’il faut entre le mains de Dieu. Il a appelé – Il appelle – ses disciples, et Il leur commande : “ut eatis!” (“allez en chercher d’autres !”) – St Josémaria, Forge, 914

 

Pourquoi perdre votre tempérament ?

Sérénité. Pourquoi te mettre en colère, si ta colère offense Dieu, agace ton prochain, te fait passer un mauvais quart d’heure… et si, à la fin, il faut que tu te calmes ? Ce que tu dis, dis-le sur un autre ton, sans irritation ; ton raisonnement y gagnera en force et, surtout, tu n’offenseras pas Dieu. Ne réprimande pas sous le coup de l’indignation de la faute commise. Attends le lendemain, ou plus longtemps encore. Puis, une fois apaisé et ton intention purifiée, ne manque pas de faire ton observation. Tu obtiendras davantage par un mot d’affection qu’en trois heures de dispute. Maîtrise ton tempérament. – St Josémaria, Chemin, 8

Lent is a time of penance and conversion

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. – St Josemaria, 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.”

– St Josemaria, Christ is Passing, 57

Sanctification is the work of a lifetime

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. – St Josemaria, Christ is Passing, 58, 9

The power of God is made manifest in our weakness and it spurs us on to fight, to battle against our defects, although we know that we will never achieve total victory during our pilgrimage on earth. The Christian life is a continuous beginning again each day. It renews itself over and over. – St Josemaria, Christ is Passing, 114, 2

Forward, no matter what happens! Cling tightly to Our Lord’s hand and remember that God does not lose battles. If you should stray from him for any reason, react with the humility that will lead you to begin again and again; to play the role of the prodigal son every day, and even repeatedly during the 24 hours of the same day; to correct your contrite heart in Confession, which is a real miracle of God’s Love. In this wonderful Sacrament Our Lord cleanses your soul and fills you with joy and strength to prevent you from giving up the fight, and to help you keep returning to God unwearied, when everything seems black. In addition, the Mother of God, who is also our Mother, watches over you with motherly care, guiding your every step. – St Josemaria, Friends of God, 214, 5

Your interior life has to be just that: to begin … and to begin again. – St Josemaria, The Way, 292

 

To know oneself to be nothing before God

It is a great thing to know oneself to be nothing before God, because that is how things are. – St Josemaria, Furrow

St John tells us that the other enemy is the lust of the eyes, a deep‑seated avariciousness that leads us to appreciate only what we can touch. Such eyes are glued to earthly things and, consequently, they are blind to supernatural realities. We can, then, use this expression of sacred Scripture to indicate that disordered desire for material things, as well as that deformation which views everything around us — other people, the circumstances of our life and of our age — with just human vision.

Then the eyes of our soul grow dull. Reason proclaims itself sufficient to understand everything, without the aid of God. This is a subtle temptation, which hides behind the power of our intellect, given by our Father God to man so that he might know and love him freely. Seduced by this temptation, the human mind appoints itself the centre of the universe, being thrilled with the prospect that “you shall be like gods” (Gen 3:5). So filled with love for itself, it turns its back on the love of God…

The fight against pride has to be a constant battle, to such an extent that someone once said that pride only disappears twenty‑four hours after each of us has died. It is the arrogance of the Pharisee whom God cannot transform because he finds in him the obstacle of self-sufficiency. It is the haughtiness which leads to despising other men, to lording it over them, to mistreating them. For “when pride comes, then comes disgrace” (Prov 11:2).

– St Josemaria, Christ is Passing

 

One heart and one soul

As a child of God, with his grace in you, you have to be a strong person, a man or woman of desires and achievements. We are not hothouse plants. We live in the middle of the world, and we have to be able to face up to all the winds that blow, to the heat and the cold, to rain and storms, but always faithful to God and to his Church.

The work of the Church, each day, is like the weaving of a great fabric which we offer to God: because all of us who are baptized make up the Church. If we carry out our tasks, faithfully and selflessly, this great fabric will be beautiful and flawless. But if we loosen a thread here, a thread there, another over there… instead of a beautiful fabric we will have a tattered rag.

Pray to God that in the Holy Church, our Mother, the hearts of all may be one heart, as they were in the earliest times of Christianity; so that the words of Scripture may be truly fulfilled until the end of the ages: Multitudinis autem credentium erat cor unum et anima una ‑‑ the company of the faithful were of one heart and one soul. I am saying this to you in all seriousness: may this holy unity not come to any harm through you. Take it to your prayer.

Offer your prayer, your atonement, and your action for this end: ut sint unum! ‑‑ that all of us Christians may share one will, one heart, one spirit. This is so that omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam ‑‑ that we may all go to Jesus, closely united to the Pope, through Mary.

– St Josemaria, The Forge

 

Look at things with a supernatural perspective

Let us try, therefore, never to lose our supernatural outlook. Let us see the hand of God in everything that happens to us: both in pleasant and unpleasant things, in times of consolation and in times of sorrow, as in the death of someone we love. Your first instinct always should be to talk to your Father God, whom we should seek in the depths of our souls. And we cannot consider this a trivial or unimportant matter. On the contrary, it is a clear sign of a deep interior life, of a true dialogue of love. Far from being psychologically deforming, constant prayer should be for a Christian as natural as the beating of his heart. – St Josemaria, Friends of God

“Lord, I don’t know how to pray!”

You write: ‘To pray is to talk with God. But about what?’ About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation. In a word: to get to know him and to get to know yourself: ‘to get acquainted!’ – St Josemaria, The Way

How should we pray? I would go as far as to say, without fear of being mistaken, that there are many, countless, ways of praying. But I would like all of us to pray genuinely, as God’s children, not gabbling away like hypocrites who will hear from Jesus’ lips ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord!” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt 7:21). People who live by hypocrisy can perhaps achieve ‘the sound of prayer’, says St Augustine, ‘but they cannot possess its voice, because there is no life in them’ (St Augustine, Commentaries on Psalms, 139,10 (PL 37,1809)). They lack the desire to fulfill the Father’s Will. When we cry ‘Lord!’ we must do so with an effective desire to put into practice the inspirations the Holy Spirit awakens in our soul…

I have never tired of talking about prayer and with God’s grace I never will. I remember back in the thirties, as a young priest, people of all kinds used to come to me looking for ways of getting closer to Our Lord. To all of them, university students and workers, healthy and sick, rich and poor, priests and laymen, I gave the same advice: ‘Pray’. If any one replied, ‘I don’t even know how to begin’, I would advise him to put himself in God’s presence and tell Him of his desires and his anxiety, with that very same complaint: ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ Often, humble admissions like that were the beginning of an intimate relationship with Christ, a lasting friendship with him.

– St Josemaria, Friends of God

Practice meditation for a fixed period and at a fixed time

Practice meditation for a fixed period and at a fixed time. Otherwise we would be putting our own convenience first; that would be a lack of mortification. And prayer without mortification is not at all effective. – St Josemaria, Furrow

Overcome any sluggishness you may feel, and the false excuse that prayer can wait for later. Let us never put off this vital source of grace until tomorrow. Now is the right time. God, who is a loving spectator of everything we do, watches over our most intimate needs. You and I, I tell you once again, we need to confide in him as we might confide in a brother, a friend, a father. Tell him, as I am telling him now, that he is all greatness, all goodness, all mercy. Tell him also, ‘This is why I want to fall in love with you, despite my rough manner and poor hands, soiled and ill‑treated by the dust and grime of this earth’…

Each day without fail we should devote some time specially to God, raising our minds to him, without any need for the words to come to our lips, for they are being sung in our heart. Let us give enough time to this devout practice; at a fixed hour, if possible. Before the Tabernacle, close to him who has remained there out of Love. If this is not possible, we can pray anywhere because our God is ineffably present in the heart of every soul in grace.

– St Josemaria, Friends of God