Tuesday, May 15, 2007

St Josemaria Escriva


I have just been looking at Joee's blog, I must say I don't have much devotion to this modern saint. He has always struck me as a bit like a spiritual accountant. I know that he has had a profound effect on the lives of many men and women. I cannot help thinking I would have disliked him if I had known him personally. I have some of his books that I have been meaning to read for ages and really cannot bring myself to start. I say all this to my shame because I actually find those who follow the Way and involved in the Work quite impressive. I thought those of you who share my feelings might find this video, which has an interview with Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, helpful.

You see, we have an obligation to love those God loves, be it Spanish saints or even ourselves.

12 comments:

Hilary said...

But you don't need to like them. It is the difference between the natural affections over which we have no control, and the acts of the will.

I don't like him either. and I'm glad I don't have to.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Easy opy out Hilary.
I think we have to bend our will to His, not only loving but having affection.

Sharon said...

Our wonderful 2000 plus year old Church has many different spiritualities - Carmelite, Domenican, Benedictan, Franciscan, Opus Dei to name just a few. We chose the one which suits us or we chose none in our walk with Christ.

I have been reading In Conversation With God for about 4 years now as a daily meditation and I find it spiritually enriching.

I have one of St Josemaria's little nuggets, on being God's juggler, taped to the inside of my computer cupboard so that when I am going through a period of dryness I read it and carry on.

Embajador en el Infierno said...

"spiritual accountant". Intriguing comment, Father. Maybe you could expand on that. Although not an Opus Dei member I have been educated and currently live in an OD "environment". In fact, I was the first male in my family since God knows when, not to be educated by the jesuits. My mother "promoted" the change and the family never looked back.

As it is your case, I have no particular devotion for San Josemaría, although I do read and highly value his writtings. I much prefer D. Alvaro del Portillo for whom I do have particular devotion. It is just a question of personal taste. San Josemaría was from Aragon where people are radically no-nonsense, brutally honest, and very stubborn. D. Alvaro was half-Mexican and a proud son of Madrid. In my view he was more of a "spiritual steamroller". I feel closer to that model.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should read the works of
St. Josemaria. I did not know very much about this saint, but I got a complete set of his writings for
my birthday a few years ago. Once I started reading I could not stop. His writings are profound.
I especially like his book on the rosary.

Penny

Fr Ray Blake said...

"spiritual accountant"
I mean that he seems to be into the micro-management of souls, a one size fits all type of attitude. I do not see him as incredibly heroic. I remember seeing a video of his life once, where a twelve kilometer walk around Madrid visiting people seemed to be regarded as an heroic act.
His pat answers in the many videos seem to be accountant like and strike me as being unimaginative. I remember seeing one in which someone had lost his entire family, wife and children, in a tragedy, and responds by saying, "I have lost many of my own spiritual children, know what it feels like ..."
And actually, he looks an accountant.

Anonymous said...

Father I empathise with what you are saying.....but notice the posting on The Hermeneutic of Continuity Blog about the infalliblity of canonisations. It's a difficult one as for me there is no other canonised Saint about whom I feeel so uneasy as Escriva and I can't quieten by unease just with reference to his being one of many charisms. I don't for example just find him different as e.g. St Teresa of Avila is to St Francis.....Escriva just seems out on a limb from all the other Saints I have encountered. There always seems to be something 'manufactured' about him whether in writings or in these videos clips. I also read how in his own lifetime he seems to foster adulation of himself as 'The Father'. Admittedly this was in a book that was 'anti OPUS DEI'. I like their apparant orthodoxy but don't like so much else.

Hebdomadary said...

All very commendable, but as far as I am concerned, the way is Tridentine, and the work is Traditional. Seeing as how the Saint himself refused to say the new rite, save on ONE occasion only, their blind obedience seems a little misguided to say the least. Their manner of liturgical (and dare one say, doctrinal - as liturgy is the outward orthopractic expression of doctrine and dogma) life somewhat contradicts that of their Saint. Hmmm...perhaps that will be put right in time. Methinks the furrow is plowed askew...but that's my opinion. Good people, good intentions. All the best...

Henry said...

He strikes me as a bit of an odd character as a saint. I was uneasy at the speed with which he was canonised. But if he has indeed started something that might just evolve into something important, it will be several generations for this to develop. It is too early to pass judgement.

The idea of people living the religious life, perhaps in community but remaining in society, is surely a good option though a very difficult one. We should keep an open mind as this might be a genuine charism for the future. Those of us who don't care for it can just walk away and leave it alone. It isn't my cup of tea and feels a bit like a sect within the church, but providing they are doing nothing that is contrary to church teaching, they should be left to get on with what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off subject but there seems to be a great deal of unease about these new movements in general.

I recall hearing Kiko Arguello speech in front of Benedict during the meeting between him and the new movements (a couple of years back in Rome) and frankly was baffled by it. It seemed full of falsehoods.

Fr Justin said...

I admire him immensely, and have often been helped by his writings and also by his spiritual sons, but feel no inclination whatever to join his movement. That sort of spirituality is not for everyone, but for many it is just what they need.
Vive la difference!

Jonny Blackwell said...

I have a great devotion to St Josemaria Escriva, if not for him I might never have learnt how to pray. I do agree with Fr Ray that I would probably not get on with him at all if I knew him. Even So he and St Therese of Liseux (another saint I don't think I'd like) remain among my favourite saints.
Thank God for the diversity of his saints, it gives hope to even those of us filled with human imperfections.
Also thank God for Opus Dei, which I have seen act as a fantastic catalyst in so many peoples' santification.