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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (9)

In 1931, St. Josemaría Escrivá served as spiritual director to some Augustinian nuns and would carry their statue of the Child Jesus in his arms. In 1932, the anti-religious Spanish government banned the Jesuit order and the teaching of religion in government schools. Many parents begged St. Josemaría to teach their children catechesis. One of his students, a girl who later became a nun, remembered that he would come twice a week and use pictures as teaching aids. In January, he met a prostitute who repented on her death bed. After giving her Last Rites, he whispered, “Suffering is blessed. Suffering is beloved. Suffering is sanctified. Suffering is glorified.” She repeated these words and died. A month later, he found a stabbed man who wanted to say his confession and on receiving a Rosary, kissed it reverently. Later that year, St. Josemaría visited some Catholic students in prison from an uprising. He exhorted them to continue studying and working, and to frequent Mass and venerate the Blessed Virgin. He also told them to act kindly to the irreligious prisoners and transform them with their good example.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 12


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Brother William Ng 2: A Prayerful Life

When it comes to prayers, many people tend to think of rote prayers. But many aspects in our lives can also be tied to prayers. Fountain of Grace invites Br. William Ng, OFM to share with us the Franciscan tradition of prayer, as well as how he integrates prayers with his daily life.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 5


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (8)

St. Josemaría started to focus on the matters at Opus Dei. He also started to write down his meditation and issued reflection books. One of the books he has written is called 'The Way'. He also later recruited the first woman member of Opus Dei. St. Josemaría continued to care for the sick people and the needy, and his work has gained many support.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 5


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Brother William Ng 1: A Voice for the Vulnerable

Br. William Ng, OFM grew up in a Protestant family. He came into contact with the Catholic faith through a chance encounter and eventually joined the Order of Friars Minor. He seeks to live out the values of St. Francis of Assisi, which focus on fraternity and the minority. Fountain of Grace invites him to share his vocation journey.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 29


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (7)

Isidoro Zorzano, an Argentine, was one of the first members of Opus Dei. In 1930, he was unable to find St. Josemaría at home in Madrid and decided to take the streetcar. Suddenly, a force moved him to walk to another street. When he did so, he ran into St. Josemaría. He confessed that he felt God calling him, that he liked working in engineering but that he wasn’t called to be a religious. St. Josemaría explained his work teaching people to sanctify themselves in regular work. Isidoro joined Opus Dei and worked diligently as an engineer. During the Spanish Civil War, Isidoro was able to freely enter and leave Madrid to provide spiritual and material help. He grew sick and surprised many by his patient and joyful endurance until he died in 1943. During the Civil War, bandits attacked religious institutions and newspapers criticized the Church, but St. Josemaría would secret away the Blessed Sacrament in disguise and pray a Rosary for their souls.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 29


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (6)

In 1928, God finally answered St. Josemaría Escrivá’s prayer and revealed his mission while he was on retreat. A nearby church bell rang and he clearly saw himself teaching all nationalities and races to attain holiness amidst everyday life. St. Josemaría immediately thanked God despite thinking that, other than the grace of God and a sense of humour, he had nothing. He knew that the best reparation for sin was to do his best in all things. He also practiced self-denial: keeping silent to deny his curiosity, not complaining, not indulging his appetite. In 1930, he realized his mission was also to women and invited women to join Opus Dei. St. Josemaría thought himself useless, so he constantly asked for others’ prayers that he might complete his God-given mission. He also had a bad temper, so he kept a funny picture of his own angry face as a reminder.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 22


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Fr. Franco Mella: A Companion of the Marginalized

Fr. Franco Mella, an Italian priest, has been journeying with the most marginalized and vulnerable in Hong Kong. What sustains him in his relentless fight for the persecuted?
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 15


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (5)

In 1924, St. Josemaría Escrivá was ordained a deacon and was struck with awe when he first touched the Eucharist, praying that he would not get used to it. In 1925, he was ordained a priest and his family members moved to Saragossa as well. He was sent to serve at a local parish and he prayed with the parishioners, taught catechesis, visited the sick, and heard confession. When he returned to Saragossa, he was given no pay, so he had to find other means of finding money. However, his uncle, a priest, wanted him to disobey his father’s wish that he study law and take up a priestly position to support his family. He was transferred to Madrid in 1927, where he obtained his doctorate in law of Law and administered the Sacraments to local nuns and convincing the most obstinate to repent. That year, his family members joined him in Madrid. In order to support them, he took up a job teaching law. When the other professor told the students that St. Josemaría spent much time helping the poor, the disbelieving students followed him around the poor districts comforting and administering the Sacraments to the poor and sick.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 15


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (4)

St. Josemaría Escrivá knew that God was calling him to the diocesan priesthood, so he attended minor seminary as a day student in 1918. In 1920, he attended major seminary in Saragossa. St. Josemaría loved to pray at the chapel and the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. But seminary life was not easy – he was made fun of by other seminarians for bathing so often, calling him a “little gentleman”, and that he didn’t smell like a man. Despite all the teasing, he believed that if one cannot praise another, it is best to keep silent. And he later always spoke highly of the virtues of his fellow seminarians, many of whom were martyred in the Spanish Civil War. Once, some girls tried to get his attention, and rumours spread, but he brought the matter to his superior. Before he was ordained a priest, his father died and, lacking the money to bury him, a relative, Fr. Daniel, lent him money. After he became a priest and Fr. Daniel too died, St. Josemaría would pray for him at every Mass.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 8


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (3)

When St. Josemaría Escrivá was 12, his father’s business collapsed and he insisted on repaying all his creditors even while not legally required to. His family became impoverished and he took a job as a clothing shop assistant. His father would go to Mass every morning, was very polite, and respected by all his co-workers. His mother was an excellent housewife who took careful care of the household. From his parents, Josemaría learned to do all things attentively. At school, he got good grades, especially in literature and mathematics. At the time, he did not feel called to the priesthood and wanted to become an architect. His mother taught him how to choose a wife: she should be neither too pretty nor too ugly, or else she would either mislead or scare him. When he was 15, he loved to read the news and pray for religious freedom in Ireland. Before his 16th birthday, he saw some barefoot prints in the snow – they were those of a Carmelite priest. His heart was disturbed – if someone can sacrifice for God, why shouldn’t I do the same? God had chosen him to do something, Josemaría just didn’t know what yet. He began to increase his prayer, attend daily Mass, and receive spiritual direction. He wanted to enter the Carmelite Order but discerned it was not God’s will – he decided to become a diocesan priest. But his father had other plans, so when he told his father, his father wept and said, “You must think this through carefully. But whatever you decide, I will not oppose.” After Josemaría confirmed his decision, his father became worried that no-one would remain to support the family, so Josemaría prayed and soon after, his mother revealed that she was pregnant. In 1919, his little brother was born.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 1


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (2)

The parents of St. Josemaría Escrivá taught him how to pray, and he used these methods all his life – he would make his Morning Offering every day to Jesus through Mary and was devoted to his Guardian Angel. In 1912, he received his First Communion and an elderly priest taught him a spiritual communion prayer: “I am willing, my Lord”. When he was younger, St. Josemaría Escrivá was very stubborn – once, he refused to come out of his room because he thought his new suit looked ugly. After his father forced him out, his mother told him, “The only thing to be ashamed of is sin.” He was aware of his stubbornness, but also knew that it could be a good thing too – in spiritual matters, we need to constantly persevere. His parents loved and cared for St. Josemaría Escrivá like friends. But between the ages of eight and twelve, his three younger sisters passed away from youngest to oldest. He cried for his sisters, but his mother told him to be happy, because his sisters were in heaven. He worried that he would die next, but his parents consoled him, saying that they had consecrated him to Mary when he was 18 months old. His mother said, “Before you recovered, you looked more dead than alive. You will certainly do great things.”
Publish date: 2018 - 11 - 24


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá

St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, loved the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, and exhorted people to live out their vocations to holiness and evangelization. Born in 1902 in Spain, he was baptized four days later; his name, Josemaría, honours St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Aged 18 months, he fell gravely ill and the doctor said he was on the verge of death. His mother prayed to Mary, pledging that if her son was healed, she would bring him to the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Torreciudad. Little Josemaría recovered quickly and when the doctor returned, thinking to ask the parents about the baby’s time of death, he was shocked to find the baby alive and playing. True to their promise, his parents brought him to Torreciudad, which had housed a statue of Our Lady since the 11th century. When St. Josemaría was an elderly priest, he made the treacherous journey back to Torreciudad to thank the Virgin Mary for her healing and donated his surplus earnings to build a chapel there. In 1970, since the statue was temporarily moved to Madrid, St. Josemaría finally saw the statue again. He saw himself as a pitiful person, but he whole-heartedly loved the Virgin Mary. St. Josemaría Escrivá died in 1975, and the Shrine of Torreciudad was completed not long after.
Publish date: 2018 - 11 - 17