Tu me dis que oui : que tu es fermement décidé(e) à suivre le Christ. Eh bien, tu dois aller au pas de Dieu ; non au tien ! – St Josemaría, Forge, 531
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
The man who knows how to be strong will not be in a hurry to receive the reward of his virtue. He is patient. Indeed it is fortitude that teaches us to appreciate the human and divine virtue of patience. ‘“By your patience you will gain possession of your souls.” (Luke 21:19) The possession of the soul is attributed to patience, which in effect is the root and guardian of all the virtues. We secure possession of our souls through patience, for, by learning to have dominion over ourselves, we begin to possess that which we are.’ And it is this very patience that moves us to be understanding with others, for we are convinced that souls, like good wine, improve with time.
We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed, but not with the composure of the man who buys his own tranquility at the expense of ignoring his brothers or neglecting the great task (which falls to us all) of tirelessly spreading good throughout the world. We can keep calm because there is always forgiveness and because there is a solution for everything, except death; and for the children of God, death is life. We must try to keep our peace, even if only so as to act intelligently, since the man who remains calm is able to think, to study the pros and cons, to examine judiciously the outcome of the actions he is about to undertake. He then plays his part calmly and decisively.
– St Josemaria, Friends of God, 78-79
Wherever we may be, Our Lord urges us to be vigilant. His plea should lead us to hope more strongly in our desires for holiness and to translate them into deeds. “Give me your heart, my son” (Prov 23:26), he seems to whisper in our ear. Stop building castles in the air. Make up your mind to open your soul to God, for only in Our Lord will you find a real basis for your hope and for doing good to others. If we don’t fight against ourselves; if we don’t rebuff once and for all the enemies lodged within our interior fortress — pride, envy, the concupiscence of the flesh and of the eyes, self‑sufficiency, and the wild craving for licentiousness; if we abandon this inner struggle, our noblest ideals will wither “like the bloom on the grass; and when the scorching sun comes up the grass withers, and the bloom falls, and all its fair show dies away”. Then, all you need is a tiny crevice and discouragement and gloom will creep in, like encroaching poisonous weeds.
Jesus is not satisfied with a wavering assent. He expects, and has a right to expect, that we advance resolutely, unyielding in the face of difficulties. He demands that we take firm, specific steps; because, as a rule, general resolutions are just fallacious illusions, created to silence the divine call which sounds within our hearts. They produce a futile flame that neither burns nor gives warmth, but dies out as suddenly as it began.
You will convince me that you sincerely want to achieve your goals when I see you go forward unwaveringly. Do good and keep reviewing your basic attitudes to the jobs that occupy you each moment. Practice the virtue of justice, right where you are, in your normal surroundings, even though you may end up exhausted. Foster happiness among those around you by cheerfully serving the people you work with and by striving to carry out your job as perfectly as you can, showing understanding, smiling, having a Christian approach to life. And do everything for God, thinking of his glory, with your sights set high and longing for the definitive homeland, because there is no other goal worthwhile.
– St Josemaria, Friends of God, 211
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.
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.'”
St Josemaria, The Forge
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.
St Josemaria, Christ is Passing
We should make no mistake. God is no shadowy or distant being who created us then abandoned us; nor is he a master who goes away and does not return. Though we do not perceive him with our senses, his existence is far more true than any of the realities which we touch and see. God is here with us, really present, living. He sees and hears us, He guides us, and knows our smallest deeds, our most hidden intentions. We believe this – but we live as if God did not exist. For we do not have a thought or a word for him; for we do not obey him, nor try to control our passions; for we do not show that we love him, and we do not atone … Are we going to continue living with a dead faith? – St Josemaria, Furrow
Certainly our goal is both lofty and difficult to attain. But please do not forget that people are not born holy. Holiness is forged through a constant interplay of God’s grace and the correspondence of man. As one of the early Christian writers says, referring to union with God, “Everything that grows begins small. It is by constant and progressive feeding that it gradually grows big” (St Mark the Hermit, De lege spirituali). So I say to you, if you want to become a thorough-going Christian and I know you are willing, even though you often find it difficult to conquer yourself or to keep climbing upwards with this poor body of ours then you will have to be very attentive to the minutest of details, for the holiness that Our Lord demands of you is to be achieved by carrying out with love of God your work and your daily duties, and these will almost always consist of small realities. – St Josemaria, Friends of God