Mass on the Feast of St. Josemaría, Basilica of St. Eugene, Rome (June 26, 2023)

“All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom 8:14). These words of St. Paul express the great gift that the Holy Spirit gives us: to be children of God. The awareness of our divine filiation makes us live without fear: “I fear nothing and no one: not even God, who is my Father,” St. Josemaría said. On the anniversary of his departure for heaven, now his feast day, we can consider this truth, which was the foundation of his spiritual life and of the charism he gave to the Church.

The founder of Opus Dei saw himself before God as a babbling child. And this led him to want to always grow in his love for God, to begin and begin again each day. His intimacy with God led him to see all events as gestures of his fatherly love. Today we can ask ourselves if we too let the awareness of being children of God vivify all the dimensions in our lives. Considering frequently, with faith, our divine filiation will help us to walk with hope each day, despite our weakness and circumstances beyond our control, the path towards identification with Christ, towards holiness. As St. Josemaría tells us: “Jesus understands our weakness and draws us to himself on an inclined plane. He wants us to make an effort to climb a little each day” (Christ Is Passing By, no. 75).

This filial abandonment impels us to follow Jesus’ invitation to the apostles to put out into the deep. Often the fear of failure can paralyze our efforts to serve others; at other times it can be the fear of leaving behind our comfortable life that makes us unwilling to launch out from the safety of the shore. But our Lord is encouraging us to enter into that wonderful sea of the life of an apostle. It is as though he were saying to us: trust in your innermost truth, that you are a child of God, and do not be afraid to walk through a world that, at times, seems to be a turbulent sea. That is how we will find joy and peace.

The sea of the world is buffeted now by many conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine, which affect us deeply. We also encounter small or large storms in our daily lives: at work, in our family, in our own relationship with God. Like Peter, we may have the experience of struggling all night and catching nothing. But Peter did not rely on his own strength, but on the Master’s word. And the result left no room for doubt: “They enclosed a great shoal of fish; and their nets were breaking” (Lk 5:6). He knows best, and his plans are always good.

Today, too, Jesus is calling us to launch out without fear into evangelization, into apostolate, since we have the security that it is our Lord who is guiding our boat. He promises us a life of self-giving in which, along with many joys, there will also be “the sufferings of this present time” which, however, “are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” as St. Paul assures us (Rom 8:18).

There was no lack of fear in the lives of the apostles. After the death of Jesus they were unable to leave their homes. Their eagerness to put out into the deep had vanished. We can ask ourselves, with Pope Francis: “How often do we too shut ourselves in? How often, because of some difficult situation, because of some personal or family problem, because of the suffering that marks us or the evil we breathe around us, do we risk slipping slowly into loss of hope and lack the courage to go on?” (Regina Coeli, 28-V-2023).

It was only after receiving the Holy Spirit that the apostles opened wide the doors and were freed from their fears. They then became untiring witnesses of the Gospel, even going to the ends of the known world and giving up their lives. We can ask the Paraclete to help us to escape from the labyrinth of our worries; to free us from the fear of heading out to sea, to face the small and great battles in the life of an apostle. The Holy Spirit strengthens our awareness of our divine filiation. He makes us feel a closeness to God that transforms our fear into confidence, our paralysis into boldness, our doubts into security.

The Virgin Mary, who encouraged the first steps of the Church’s life, also helps us in the divine adventure of putting out into the deep. We turn to her motherly intercession, so that the one who is, as St. Josemaría often said, Spes nostra, our Hope, may accompany and sustain us in this endeavor.

Romana, n. 76, January-June 2023, p. 57-59.

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