PODCAST | “We Need More Heart”
As we prepare for the upcoming season of Lent, in this podcast we turn our attention to the life of Saint Paul. Paul, who once led the persecution of the early Christian church, had a profound conversion after encountering the love of Christ and in turn, began to lead the spread of the Christian faith. Paul shows us that we evangelize by giving others a similar experience to what we had when we first encountered Christ. Paul preaches ‘Christ crucified’, that we must ‘put on Jesus Christ’.
During his visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Saint Josemaria Escriva shares that we ‘need more heart’. Josemaria explains that we have become a society in which we idolize work and the creature comforts of this world, when in reality, we must seek to put people first over work. He encourages us to invest in a small community in which we can share in the love of Christ. Josemaria explains that “sometimes you find serious shortcomings in Christians’ lives, but the important thing is not ourselves and our shortcomings. The only thing that matters is Jesus. It is Christ we must talk about, not ourselves” (Christ Is Passing By, no. 163).
During his public ministry, Christ shares with us the analogy that “[we] are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14). As Christians, we are always ‘on’. In a popular phrase commonly attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, he emphasizes Christ’s point in that we must “preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words”. In every analogy Christ uses in the Gospels, he never uses speech as an example: “you are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14); “you are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5:13); “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn 15:5) – these are just some of the examples. Christ shows us that presence takes precedence over preaching.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells them, “rejoice in the Lord always; your kindness should be known to all (Phil 4:4-5). We see that joy is an expression of charity. The more we experience the love of Christ, the more contagious our joy becomes. If we are to ‘put on Christ’, we should receive the Eucharist frequently, spend time in adoration and mental prayer, and pray the rosary. We must let people see our joy and kindness which will lead them to the love of Christ.
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Rev. Peter V. Armenio was ordained a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei in 1980. He is the author of several books published by Midwest Theological Forum. He also served as President of the St. Josemaria Institute from 2006 to 2012. He has been working in campus ministry for the past 30 years and is currently a chaplain at The Willows Academy (Des Plaines, IL). He also preaches recollections and gives spiritual direction in Chicago.