Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul: St. Josemaria’s Love for the Pope

St. Josemaria’s Love for the Pope

Love for the Roman Pontiff must be in us a delightful passion, for in him we see Christ.

In Love with the Church, 13

Thank you, my God, for that love for the Pope you have placed in my heart. 
The Way, 573

Catholic, apostolic, Roman! I want you to be very Roman. And to be anxious to make your ‘path to Rome’, videre Petrum – to see Peter. 
The Way, 520

I thought the comment on loyalty you had written to me was very appropriate to all those moments in history which the devil makes it his business to repeat. You said: “I carry with me every day in my heart, in my mind and on my lips, an aspiration: Rome.” 
Furrow, 344 

Every day you must grow in loyalty towards the Church, the Pope and the Holy See … with a love that should be always more theological. 
Furrow, 353

As you help in this work of expansion throughout the whole world, bring those in the outposts to the Pope, so that the earth may be one flock and one Shepherd: one apostolate!

Welcome the Pope’s words with a religious, humble, internal and effective acceptance. And pass them on. 
The Forge, 133

Your deepest love, your greatest esteem, your most heartfelt veneration, your most complete obedience and your warmest affection have also to be shown towards the Vicar of Christ on earth, towards the Pope. 
We Catholics should consider that after God and the most Holy Virgin, our Mother, the Holy Father comes next in the hierarchy of love and authority. 
The Forge, 135

May the daily consideration of the heavy burden which weighs upon the Pope and the bishops move you to venerate and love them with real affection, and to help them with your prayers. 
The Forge, 136

Faithfulness to the Pope includes a clear and definite duty: that of knowing his thought, which he tells us in Encyclicals or other documents. We have to do our part to help all Catholics pay attention to the teaching of the Holy Father, and bring their everyday behavior into line with it. 
The Forge, 633

Our Holy Mother the Church, in a magnificent outpouring of love, is scattering the seed of the Gospel throughout the world; from Rome to the outposts of the earth. 

As you help in this work of expansion throughout the whole world, bring those in the outposts to the Pope, so that the earth may be one flock and one Shepherd: one apostolate! 
The Forge, 638

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. 
The Forge, 647

Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the mystical body and more united to its visible head, the Pope. That’s why I like to repeat: All with Peter to Jesus through Mary! By seeing ourselves as part of the Church and united to our brothers in the faith, we understand more deeply that we are brothers of all mankind, for the Church has been sent to all the peoples of the earth. 
Christ Is Passing By, 139 

The Catholic Church is Roman. I savor that word, Roman! I feel completely Roman, since Roman means universal, Catholic. For it leads me to love tenderly the Pope, il dolce Cristo in terra, the sweet Christ on earth, as Saint Catherine of Siena, whom I count as a most beloved friend, liked to repeat. (…)

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. We may all go to Jesus, closely united to the Pope, through Mary.

We help to make that apostolic continuity more evident in the eyes of all men by demonstrating with exquisite fidelity our union with the Pope, which is union with Peter. Love for the Roman Pontiff must be in us a delightful passion, for in him we see Christ. If we talk with the Lord in prayer, we will go forward with a clear gaze that will permit us to perceive the action of the Holy Spirit, even in the face of events we do not understand or which produce sighs or sorrow. 
In Love with the Church, 11

Through two thousand years of history, the apostolic succession has been preserved in the Church. (…) And, among the Apostles, Christ himself made Simon the object of special attention. ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church! I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’
Peter moves to Rome and there establishes the see of primacy of the Vicar of Christ. For this reason it is in Rome that the apostolic succession is seen most clearly. And for this reason Rome is quite properly called ‘the Apostolic See’.
In Love with the Church, 12

Love for the Roman Pontiff must be in us a delightful passion, for in him we see Christ. If we talk and listen to our Lord in prayer, we will go forward with a clear gaze that will permit us to perceive the action of the Holy Spirit, even when faced with events we do not understand, or which produce suffering or sorrow.
In Love with the Church, 13

I venerate with all my strength the Rome of Peter and Paul, bathed in the blood of martyrs, the centre from which so many have set out to propagate throughout the world the saving word of Christ. To be Roman is not to be provincial, but authentically ecumenical. It means desiring to enlarge one’s heart, to open it to all mankind with the redemptive zeal of Christ, who seeks all men and takes in all men, for he has loved all men first.
In Love with the Church, 11




This is a first-class presentation of the acting person – male, husband, father, construction professional – who has impregnated a sad and lonely woman not his wife (whom he really loves) and who has decided that this child must be born. Pace the contradictions that make up the movie, he has made up his mind that he will be present for the birth of this child to stabilize the birthing mother. He does not love her but shows immense sympathy for her and the still unborn child who represents himself and the absence of his own father. Hence, the trip from Birmingham to London hands-free driving in his BMW switchboard.

He is walking out on the biggest, most expensive concrete pour for the foundation of a 55 story building in Europe. The drama is his handling the birth, the mother to be, his wife, his sons, his Irish assistants in the pour, the quality of the cement, the timing, the traffic around the pour, the hysterics of the woman, the most painful rejection by his wife – all while trying to make it to the hospital for the life of this baby.

He has done wrong. He has sinned. He has been immediately fired… But the fantastic part of the movie is his absolute determination to do it right, i.e. the pour and the baby – even as everything falls apart. He keeps driving and trying to do it right. He is determined to make the gift, all else in shambles. It is total realism with the divine Personality in the shadows. Great movie. Not all agreed. I loved it.

Thomas More, Humanist, Secularist and Saint. June 22, 2017


Today, June 22, is the feast of Ss. Tomas More and John Fisher. Thomas More is an intercessor of Opus Dei by decree of St. Josemaria Escriva. Choosing More to intercede for the Work was due to his state as layman, prestigious for his professional excellence and proclamation/defense of the Word of God in the secular world and model to be emulated by all. Escriva wrote (1959): “A man who knows that the world, and not just the church, is the place where he finds Christ, loves that world. He endeavors to become properly trained, intellectually and professionally. He makes up his own mind with complete freedom about the problems of the environment in which he moves, and takes his own decisions in consequence. As the decisions of a Christ, they derive from personal reflection, which endeavors in all humility to grasp the will of God in both the unimportant and the important events of his life.” The large point to be made is that the truth of Christ is to be found at large in the secular world because man himself has been made in the image and likeness of the God-man. That truth of Christ is present in society today (like democracy, freedom, dignity of the human person, dignity of women, right to work, etc.) And besides, as Robert Barron remarks (commenting on Robert Sokolowski), “the integrating icon of Christian doctrine exploded at the time of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, and its charred and distorted fragments have landed here and there, littering the contemporary cultural environment. Accordingly, we are not doing to find, at least very often, the whole Catholic thing on beautiful display, but we are indeed  going to find bits and pieces of it practically everywhere, provided we have the eyes to see.”[1]

Barron continues, “If the evangelist exercises his analogical imagination, he can see images of Jesus in Superman, spider-Man, and Andy Dufresne; he can sense the play between divine love and divine mercy in the strong arms of Rooster Cogburn; he can hear an echo of Augustine’s anthropology in the protagonist of Eat, Pray, Love; he can discern a powerful teaching on the danger of concupiscent desire in The Great Gatsby; he can sense a longing for the supernatural in The Exorcist, and the Twilight series; he can pick up overtones of Jeremiah and Isaiah in Bob Cylan; he can hear the voice that spoke to Job out of the whirlwind in the Coen Brothers’ A serious Man; and he can appreciate onte of the most textured presentations of Christian soteriology in Clind Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Are any of theswe adequate presentations of the Word? Hardly. But are they all semina verbi, seeds of the Word?


And thus can they, like the altar to the Unknown God in ancient Athens, provide a foundation for evangelization, a way in, a point of departure?

Emphatically yes.

Blogger Comment: Jesus Christ is at the center of created universe (Col. 1, 15). The Council of Chalcedon has declared Him to be One Divine Person with Two Natures: the divine uncreated, the human created. Both natures are dynamized by the one divine Person. There is only one act of existence in Jesus Christ (the Esse Personale – S. Th. III, 17). The humanity of Jesus Christ is created, but it is His. Since all things have been created through Him, by Him and for Him, His humanity –  and therefore, the created cosmos – cannot be understood apart from His divine Person since He acts through it. Read pope Francis #233, 234 of “Laudato ‘Si” (below) in that light.

For depth consider John Henry Newman’s: Catholic Fullness.

“Now, the phenomenon, admitted on all hands, is this:—that great portion of what is generally received as Christian truth, is in its rudiments or in its separate parts to be found in heathen philosophies and religions. For instance, the doctrine of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West; so is the ceremony of washing; so is the rite of sacrifice. The doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic; the doctrine of the Incarnation is Indian; of a divine kingdom is Judaic; of Angels and demons is Magian; the connexion of sin with the body is Gnostic; celibacy is known to Bonze and Talapoin; a sacerdotal order is Egyptian; the idea of a new birth is Chinese and Eleusinian; belief in sacramental virtue is Pythagorean; and honours to the dead are a polytheism. Such is the general nature of the fact before us; Mr. Milman argues from it,—”These things are in heathenism, therefore they are not Christian:” we, on the contrary, prefer to say, “these things are in Christianity, therefore they are not heathen.” That is, we prefer to say, and we think that Scripture bears us out in saying, that from the beginning the Moral Governor of the world has scattered the seeds of truth far and wide over its extent; that these have variously taken root, and grown up as in the wilderness, wild plants indeed but living; and hence that, as the inferior animals have {232} tokens of an immaterial principle in them, yet have not souls, so the philosophies and religions of men have their life in certain true ideas, though they are not directly divine. What man is amid the brute creation, such is the Church among the schools of the world; and as Adam gave names to the animals about him, so has the Church from the first looked round upon the earth, noting and visiting the doctrines she found there. She began in Chaldea, and then sojourned among the Canaanites, and went down into Egypt, and thence passed into Arabia, till she rested in her own land. Next she encountered the merchants of Tyre, and the wisdom of the East country, and the luxury of Sheba. Then she was carried away to Babylon, and wandered to the schools of Greece. And wherever she went, in trouble or in triumph, still she was a living spirit, the mind and voice of the Most High; “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions;” claiming to herself what they said rightly, correcting their errors, supplying their defects, completing their beginnings, expanding their surmises, and thus gradually by means of them enlarging the range and refining the sense of her own teaching. So far then from her creed being of doubtful credit because it resembles foreign theologies, we even hold that one special way in which Providence has imparted divine knowledge to us has been by enabling her to draw and collect it together out of the world, and, in this sense, as in others, to suck the milk of the Gentiles and to suck the breast of kings.

“How far in fact this process has gone, is a question of history; and we believe it has before now been grossly exaggerated and misrepresented by those who, like Mr. Milman, have thought that its existence told against {233} Catholic doctrine; but so little antecedent difficulty have we in the matter, that we could readily grant, unless it were a question of fact not of theory, that Balaam was an Eastern sage, or a Sibyl was inspired, or Solomon learnt of the sons of Mahol, or Moses was a scholar of the Egyptian hierophants. We are not distressed to be told that the doctrine of the angelic host came from Babylon, while we know that they did sing at the Nativity; nor that the vision of a Mediator is in Philo, if in very deed He died for us on Calvary. Nor are we afraid to allow, that, even after His coming, the Church has been a treasure-house, giving forth things old and new, casting the gold of fresh tributaries into her refiner’s fire, or stamping upon her own, as time required it, a deeper impress of her Master’s image.

“The distinction between these two theories is broad and obvious. The advocates of the one imply that Revelation was a single, entire, solitary act, or nearly so, introducing a certain message; whereas we, who maintain the other, consider that Divine teaching has been in fact, what the analogy of nature would lead us to expect, “at sundry times and in divers manners,” various, complex, progressive, and supplemental of itself. We consider the Christian doctrine, when analyzed, to appear, like the human frame, “fearfully and wonderfully made;” but they think it someone tenet or certain principles given out at one time in their fullness, without gradual enlargement before Christ’s coming or elucidation afterwards. They cast off all that they also find in Pharisee or heathen; we conceive that the Church, like Aaron’s rod, devours the serpents of the magicians. They are ever hunting for a fabulous primitive simplicity; we repose in Catholic fullness. They seek what never has been found; we accept and use {234} what even they acknowledge to be a substance. They are driven to maintain, on their part, that the Church’s doctrine was never pure; we say that it never can be corrupt. We consider that a divine promise keeps the Church Catholic from doctrinal corruption; but on what promise, or on what encouragement, they are seeking for their visionary purity does not appear.”[4]








Ephesians 1, 4: “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons, according to the purpose of his will…”

Laudato ‘Si:’ (Pope Francis) “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves.

(234)  “Saint John of the Cross taught that all the goodness present in the realities and experiences of this world ‘is present in God eminently and infinitely, or more properly, in each of these sublime realities is God’ This is not because the finite things of this world are really divine, but because the mystic experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings, and thus feels that ‘all things are God.’ Standing awestruck before a mountain, he or she cannot separate this experience from God, and perceives that the interior awe being lived has to be entrusted to the Lord: ‘Mountains have heights and they are plentiful, vast, beautiful, graceful, bright, and fragrant. These mountains are what my Beloved is to me. Lonely valleys are quiet, pleasant, cool, shady, and flowing with fresh water; in the variety of their groves and in the sweet song of the birds, they afford abundant recreation and delight to the senses, and in their solitude and silence, they refresh us and give rest. These valleys are what my Beloved is to me.’[2]

[1] Barron, “Seeds of the Word,” Word on Fire (2015) x.

[2] Pope Francis, “Laudato ‘Si” #233, 234.

Memory: Human and Divine


Fr. Paul Scalia

SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2017

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne’er to cease.
(From Lauda Zion, Sequence for Corpus Christi)

Have you outsourced your memory? No, probably not. And neither have those who claim to have done so. At best, they have enlisted digital devices to aid their recall – but not their memory. The distinction is essential. Man does not merely recall; he remembers. The reduction of memory to recall trivializes one of our greatest powers – and threatens our appreciation of the Eucharist.

Recall simply brings up data: a phone number, an address, a date. As such, it is approximated fairly well by computers. But memory goes much deeper. To remember means more than to spit out data. It is not a purely intellectual act but involves the entire person, soul and body. In days of yore – before cell phones and speed dial – to remember a phone number meant more than to recall the digits. It meant to see and feel the pattern of the numbers on the dial pad or even to hear the varying clicks on the rotary dial.

Which is to say that memory is embodied. When I think of summers at the beach, I do not merely recall the fact of it. I remember the smell and feel of the salt air, the tug of a fish on the line, the sound of the surf at night. No device can compensate for this, because it is profoundly human.

To remember is, in a certain way, to make something from the past present to us, here and now. We do this by thought and conversation, by monuments and ceremonies. We recite poems and sing songs about past deeds. We set aside perfectly good land and erect monuments where battles were fought.

We want to keep the past present because we know that the events ought to influence us still today. The virtues of those who served, the heroism of those who died, the glory of just deeds, the travesty of injustice – these should be made present in order to form us.

But our efforts fail. The world has plenty of monuments, decrees, songs, and ballads meant to remind us, but which have themselves been forgotten. The Roman poet Horace boasted that he had created a monument “more lasting than bronze.” But. . .who reads Horace anymore? Mere creatures that we are, we cannot make the past fully present. The songs are forgotten, the monuments crumble, and the ideals are lost.

The Last Supper by Juan de Juanes, c. 1562 [Museo del Prado]

And yet our Lord commands us, Do this in memory of me. These words indicate a deeper kind of memory than we have. They speak of a divine memory, so to speak, a participation in the memory of the One for Whom all is alive. (see Lk 20:38) The Church calls the Mass the “memorial” of Christ’s Passover. Now, the colloquial understanding of “memorial” does not convey the Church’s meaning. The Catechism explains it as follows:

In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them. (CCC 1363, emphases added)

This is no ordinary, human memorial. This is God’s remembering and thus fulfills our desire to make the past present.

In the Mass, our Lord’s sacrifice becomes present and real under the sacramental form of bread and wine. The Catechism repeats the words of the Council of Trent:

The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. . . .In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. (CCC 1367)

Our symbols of remembrance remain merely that – symbols. Our monuments remind us, but they do not make present. Only the Lord fulfills the longing of human memory by making history’s greatest event present to us now under the form of bread and wine. In what Saint Thomas calls the “memorial ne’er to cease,” everything of His Sacrifice is made present: His offering to the Father, the stretching of His Body on the Cross, the shedding of His Blood, His prayer for mercy, and even the giving of His mother.

“Were you there when the crucified my Lord?” the American spiritual asks. No, we were not – nor did we need to be. The Mass makes His crucifixion present to us, precisely so that we can become participants in His offering and conform our lives to that event.

This consideration of the Eucharistic memorial teaches us something about how Mother Church remembers. She does not reminisce about the good old days or merely recall her Lord. She is always – throughout history and throughout the world – making Him present through the ministry of her priests.

All teaching about Jesus Christ reaches its fulfillment in this memorial, in which He is not just recalled but made present. And without this memorial all teaching would remain only a recollection about past events.

To appreciate the memorial sacrifice, then, requires an appreciation of human memory. If we reduce our memory to that technological recall, easily delegated to a device, then we lose the template for understanding the memorial that perfects all human memory.

The exercise of authentic human memory, on the other hands, prepares us for the sacrificial memorial. It cultivates in us a desire to make the past present and indeed to make ourselves present to the sacrificial Victim present to us.