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February 16, 1932: “Love means deeds – not sweet words”

Andres Vazquez de Prada

Tags: Generosity, Javier Echevarria, Ascetical struggle
This divine locution gave rise to n. 933 in The Way: "There is a story of a soul who, on saying to our Lord in prayer, ‘Jesus, I love you,’ heard this reply from heaven: ‘Love means deeds, not sweet words.’ "Think if you also could deserve this gentle reproach".

St. Josemaría often referred to this event, which took place on February 16, 1932, but always in a way that kept the protagonist hidden. Only after he left us for heaven did we come to know the details regarding this event.

Our Founder had been suffering from a bad cold for several days and, as he tells us in his personal notes, "it has been an occasion for my lack of generosity towards my God to show itself. I slacked off in my prayer and in the thousand little things that a child… can offer his Lord each day. I started noticing this, and that I was postponing the fulfillment of certain resolutions about putting more time and effort into devotional practices, but I calmed myself with the thought, ‘Later, when you’re well, when your family’s financial situation is in better shape… then!’" (St. Josemaría, Apuntes íntimos, n. 606, February 16, 1932;)


On that 16th of February, while giving Holy Communion to the nuns at Santa Isabel, he addressed Jesus in his heart and, without external words, told Jesus what he so often said to him, both day and night: "‘I love you more than these.’ And immediately I understood, without the need for words: ‘Love is deeds, not sweet words and excuses.’ I saw clearly at that moment how little generosity I have, and suddenly recalled many unnoticed details I hadn’t been paying attention to, which brought home to me with crystal clarity my lack of generosity. O Jesus, help me, so that your donkey will be fully generous. Deeds, deeds!" (Ibid.).

Concerning this intellectual locution from our Lord, Bishop del Portillo says that "our Father was very moved by it" not because he was getting lax in his prayer life, but because "the Lord was asking more from him and, with this locution, giving him light by which he was catching on to ‘many unexpected details’ " (Apuntes, no.6061 note 496).

A. Vazquez de Prada, The Founder of Opus Dei, vol. I, p. 318-319