The Canonization: Grace and Conversion

By God’s providence, the centennial of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá’s birth, celebrated on January 9, will culminate with his canonization. On October 6 the Church will proclaim Josemaría Escrivá a saint, for the glory of God and as an example and stimulus for all Christians. This great gift of sanctity from the Blessed Trinity calls for our own correspondence, striving to grow in sanctity in our own life.

Therefore this time of preparation is, above all, a time for conversion, for «growing on the inside.»[1] As the Prelate of Opus Dei has pointed out, the announcement of the canonization is an invitation to renew our personal Christian commitment and to undertake a new conversion. We are being asked to strive to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength, and other men and women out of love for him. This great grace will leave a deep mark on history, if it deeply marks our own hearts, and stirs us to undertake at God’s pace the path of sanctity in ordinary life that was lived and taught by Blessed Josemaría.

It is also a time for deep joy and supernatural hope: the hope of being saints. For various reasons, many Catholics are still unfamiliar with this goal. Who among us was not surprised when someone told him for the first time that he is in the world precisely for the purpose of becoming a saint? «I don’t want to generalize. But one day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles.... I don’t like to speak of someone being singled out to be part of a privileged elect. But it is Christ who speaks, who chooses. It is the language of holy Scripture: Elegit nos in ipso ante mundi constitutionem, says Saint Paul, ut essemus sancti (Eph 1:4). He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be saints.»[2] We can’t allow this certainty to be dimmed by the suffering life may bring, whether physical or moral, which for a Christian ought to be an encounter with the Cross of Christ. The canonization of Josemaría Escrivá shows us, as he liked to say, that dedication to God, the self-sacrifice our Lord asks of those who follow him, «is worthwhile.» It is a path of happiness.

The ideal that the founder of Opus Dei strove to spread to all souls, holiness in daily life and the sanctification of professional work, takes on with his canonization a new and deeper resonance. Transmitting that message will often be for the faithful of the Prelature of Opus Dei like sowing good seed in a field already prepared by the spread throughout the world of Blessed Josemaría’s holy life and teachings.

Although the epoch in history we are called to live through contains many shadows, we must never forget that there are always many people eager to hear Christ’s voice. Our Lord counts on us to help them encounter the treasure that can ennoble their lives. This is our mission as ordinary Christians, who live alongside so many millions of people, sharing in their noble aims and interests, and also their worries and problems. We have to make know to them the light of Christ’s faith and love.

We must help the men and women of today to personally discover the path of sanctity that God has traced out for their lives. Each person has his or her own vocation, their own path towards God. The saint is the paradigm of the man or woman who has made of their life a personal journey towards Jesus Christ. And the new saint whom the Church will proclaim on October 6 is such in a very special way, since he has opened up to a multitude of souls the path to holiness and apostolate in ordinary professional, family and social life. We must do everything possible to spread, in a more convincing and above all more convinced way, the universal call to holiness, the only true foundation for the meaning of human life.

A renewed optimism, a renewed commitment, a renewed sense of mission. These should be the savory fruits of the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá, nourished by a heart vigilant with love for God and all mankind, like that of our holy mother Mary.

[1] The Way, no. 294.

[2] Christ Is Passing By, no. 1.

Romana, n. 34, January-June 2002, p. 10-11.

Send to friend