“Hay un algo santo, divino, escondido en las situaciones más comunes, que toca a cada uno de vosotros descubrir” (There is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it).
In these few words, Saint Josemaría Escrivá described the message he was preaching all the years of his existence, since the founding of Opus Dei, a Catholic institution whose mission is “to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society” (For more information, see http://www.opusdei.us/sec.php?s=8). The quotation is from his well-known homily entitled “Passionately loving the world”, which he pronounced on October 8, 1967 at a Mass on the campus of the University of Navarre, Spain. The homily has helped thousands of people find their vocation in life and continues to move hearts and mind.
On October 23 this year, the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria, second successor of Saint Josemaría, presided over the Holy Eucharist on the same spot where some 43 years ago, the Founder of Opus Dei celebrated it. This time, the occasion was the 50th founding anniversary of the Asociación de Amigos (Association of Friends) of the University of Navarre – an organization that supports the university from the beginning.
In his homily, Msgr. Echevarria evoked the content of Saint Josemaría’s preaching, putting emphasis on how our daily Christian life must be lived in all of its ordinary circumstances with reference to the Holy Eucharist. He said:
“El primer Gran Canciller de la Universidad nos animó –lo hace ahora desde el Cielo- a que, como consecuencia de una profunda vida eucarística, esencialmente eucarística, y conociendo que el mismo Dios hecho hombre ha decidido recorrer nuestros caminos, sepamos descubrir el quid divinum que se encierra en todas las circunstancias y ocupaciones, hasta las que parecen más materiales” (The first Great Chancellor of the University encouraged us – he’s doing it now in heaven – so that, as a consequence of a profound Eucharistic life, essentially Eucharistic, and knowing that the same God made man has decided to walk with us on our way, we may discover that “something divine” that is hidden in all circumstances and occupations, including the most ordinary ones).
And the prelate added: “Seremos más plenamente hombres, más plenamente mujeres en la medida que queramos y permitamos que el Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo nos alimenten y nos embriaguen de modo que la nuestra (vida) sea una continuación de su Vida: ¡podemos conseguirlo siempre, si le miramos más, si le tratamos más, si le amamos más!” (We shall become more fully men, more fully women in the measure that we want and allow that the Body and Blood of Christ to nurture and to inebriate us so that our own life may be a continuation of His: we can always make it if we look at Him more, if we treat Him more, if we love Him more!)
I think the search for the “quid divinum” in our ordinary life is what’s attractive of the Opus Dei message. Saint Josemaría has made it easier for us to understand that sanctity is accessible and that holiness of life consists in finding Jesus in the most ordinary circumstances of our everyday existence.
“You must realise now,” – the Saint said – “more clearly than ever, that God is calling you to serve him in and from the ordinary, secular and civil activities of human life. He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating room, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work”. He was even quite sure in saying that “There is no other way, my daughters and sons: either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or we shall never find him”.
With the Opus Dei’s message of holiness, preached in the words and in the life of its founder, ordinary people like us – secular priests and lay faithful – could find our own little way to God in the faithful observance of our duties and responsibilities, finding in them the “quid divinum” (something divine). These beautiful words of the Opus Dei founder are engraved in the hearts of those who listen to him and put them into practice: “Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.”
(For the complete text of the homily, click this link: http://www.theworkofgod.org/Library/Sermons/JMScriva/Pasiontl.htm)