Monday 11 March 2019

God as Father: In the Message of Blessed Josemaria Escriva - Fernando Ocáriz

God as Father: 
In the Message of Blessed Josemaria Escriva
Fernando Ocáriz
Scepter Publishers

ISBN 9780933932753
eISBN 9781594712991

This is the second book by Father Ocáriz that I have read. It appears he has several that are not available in English, but after reading this one and also Love in Action: Loving God and Neighbor A Twofold Commandment, I know that I will be tracking down and reading all that is available to us. This is a small volume but one that is an excellent read, and that any Christian would benefit from reading.

The contents of this volume are:
Being a Child of God
Being Christ Himself
Through the Holy Spirit
Children of Mary (and Joseph)
Children of the Church (and the Pope)
Brothers and Sisters to All
Filial and Fraternal Spirit
A Child of God Everywhere
The Freedom of God’s Children
Working as God’s Children
The Prayer of God’s Children
The Apostolate of God’s Children
Joy, Sorrow and Death for God’s Children
The Conversion of God’s Children
Conclusion: The Father’s little Children

The introduction begins with these words:

“Since his death on June 26, 1975, countless people the world over have testified to the benefits they attribute to St. Josemaría Escrivá. Among them are those who prize Escrivá’s contributions to theological development. This, despite the fact that Opus Dei’s founder wrote no treatises. Rather his was a pastoral activity that led him largely to preach and to pen letters and instructions, mostly for members.”

And later Ocariz clearly defines his purpose for the volume.

“The following pages offer a preliminary attempt at analyzing and collating the truly impressive theological richness the founder’s teachings contain on divine filiation. Such a task is both easy and difficult. Easy because the texts, while profound, possess an extraordinary clarity and spiritual keenness; it’s not necessary to interpret them and even less to dissect them, perhaps thereby draining them of life. Difficult, on the other hand, because in fact divine filiation pervades everything in both his spirit and his writings, not being limited to just some passages, however numerous. Thus, one can’t merely study pages where divine filiation or its equivalents and derivatives appear. If Escrivá speaks or writes on faith, he deals with the faith of God’s children; so too with fortitude or conversion and penance, he calls for courage or conversion of God’s children. In his life, speech and writings, every virtue, every aspect of Christian existence, and even human existence itself, is stamped with the seal of divine filiation. Hence all this teaching by itself (and even more so when gleaned from contemplation rather than simple speculation) escapes any rationalistic systematization.”

This book helps us to truly understand our call as children of God. It helps us see that in both the biblical and historical perspective. And through that We are told that:

“St. Josemaría as a child learned to turn to God with the trust of one backed by a loving and all-powerful Father. But it was in Madrid in 1931, while on a streetcar, that God indelibly and more loftily engraved in his soul a consciousness, practically an instinct, of divine filiation.”

And we are told that:

“The following pages are essentially a commentary (largely from Escrivá’s writings) on this compact, rich text, which is not only ascetical and mystical but theological and dogmatic as well. And one also can’t help seeing God’s gift to a soul singularly privileged and most faithful in corresponding to love.”

And through that we can learn and grow into that truth through this volume. This book is listed as 56 pages in length. And yet it contains 144 quotes. Of those quotes 6 are from Alvaro Del Portillo, 6 are from church documents, the Bible or saints, and 122 are from Saint Josemaria Escriva. This book brings us to a deeper understanding of divine filiation, and through that understanding to grow in fullness of our life in Christ as God’s children. 

This book is an excellent read. It is a book that all Christians should read! I doubt any believer could read this book and not come away changed. 

Father Fernando ends the volume with these words:

“On the other hand, the direct reading of the texts that weave these pages together will make even clearer the capital importance of the unitary vision of Christian existence rooted in divine filiation. This was effectively demonstrated in the life of St. Escrivá in all its ineffable depth: as the direct connection of the supernatural order with the divine life of the holy Trinity; as identification with Christ; as root of authentic freedom; as the foundation for all Christian life, even its most aspects.

This supernatural radicalism gives a profound sense to all the other great themes—sanctifying one’s work, family and social life, and so forth—where Escrivá has made theological contributions. These pages are also a testimony of filial thanksgiving to one who has not only been a master of theological understanding of the highest mysteries, but also a Father who has cleared this great path God has given us: recognizing our divine filiation.”

I strongly encourage you to give this a read your life will be changed!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fernando Ocáriz:
The Mystery of Jesus Christ
Love in Action
God as Father
Fundamental Theology
The Canonical Path of Opus Dei: The History and Defense of a Charism
God, the Church, and the World: An Interview with the Auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei
Opus Dei In The Church: An Ecclesiological Study Of The Life And Apostolate Of Opus Dei

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