October 10. Thanksgiving Masses and solemn transfer of the relics of Saint Josemaria Escriva

The last two Masses of thanksgiving for the canonization of Saint Josemaria Escriva were celebrated on the 10th, in the Basilica of St. Eugene, before the sacred remains of the new saint: one in the morning presided over by Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, Vicar General of the Prelature, and the other in the evening, presided over by the Prelate of Opus Dei, immediately before the transfer of the remains of Saint Josemaria to the church of Our Lady of Peace.

Priests from the various countries in which the Opus Dei Prelature is active concelebrated with Msgr. Ocáriz. In his homily, Msgr. Ocáriz, addressed the following words to the assembly:

Homily of Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz

1. The narration of the first miraculous catch of fish, which we have just read in the Gospel of the Mass, culminates with the call of Peter and his companions to leave everything and follow Christ.[1] Saint Josemaría often contemplated this scene, noting among other things that our Lord comes to meet us in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of our life, and especially in our work.In a homily addressed to people of various trades and professions he said: “Your human vocation is a part—and an important part—of your divine vocation. That is the reason you must strive for holiness, contributing at the same time to the sanctification of others, precisely by sanctifying your work and your environment.”[2]

This positive vision of the world, and particularly of work, which the founder of Opus Dei spread everywhere, was rooted in a conviction of the original goodness of creation.[3] Meditating on this reality, he fixed his attention especially on the words from the Book of Genesis found in the first reading of the Mass: God put man in the garden of Eden “to till it and keep it”.[4] He placed him in charge of the earth and made him master of material creatures, to complete, in a sense, the work of creation.[5]

However, this doesn’t mean closing our eyes to reality, or underestimating the presence of sin in the world. “Good and evil,” Saint Josemaría pointed out, “are mixed in human history, and therefore the Christian should be a man of judgment. But this judgment should never bring him to deny the goodness of God’s works. On the contrary it should bring him to recognize God’s hand working through all human actions, even those which betray our fallen nature.”[6]

2. The new saint also insisted that we should be filled with admiration and gratitude when we contemplate the incarnation of the Son of God: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”[7] If we love God how can we fail to love the world? Let us listen to some other well-known words of Saint Josemaría: “This world of ours... is good, for so it came from God’s hands. It was Adam’s sin, the sin of human pride, which broke the divine harmony of creation.

But God the Father, in the fullness of time, sent his only-begotten Son to take flesh in Mary ever Virgin, through the Holy Spirit, and reestablish peace. In this way, by redeeming man from sin, adoptionem filiorum reciperemus (Gal 4:5), we receive adoption as sons. We become capable of sharing the intimacy of God. In this way the new man, the new line of the children of God (see Rom 6:4-5), is enabled to free the whole universe from disorder, restoring all things in Christ (see Eph 1:9-10), as they have been reconciled with God (see Col 1:20)."[8]

Our divine filiation does not consist only in the fact (which by itself would be marvelous) that God wants us to deal with him with the trusting intimacy of a child with its father. The Holy Spirit really unites us, identifies us, with God the Son, with Christ; and in Him, as members of his Body, we are truly sons and daughters of God the Father.[9] “We can never exhaust such an immense wonder, nor be sufficiently grateful to our God for having deigned to let us share in the divine life of the Holy Trinity by making us ‘sons in the Son.’ Already here on earth, God wants us to form part of his flock: the Church ‘gathered together in the unity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (St. Cyprian, De oratione dominica, 23). That is how we should always regard the Church, working intensely to foster and deepen the fraternity that unites all the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, seeing everything relating to the Church as very much our own concern.”[10]

3. Let us take very seriously the Christian vocation to intimacy with God, to sanctity, seeing it for what it truly is: God’s will for each of us, each called by our name. How Saint Josemaría liked to savor those words of Sacred Scripture: “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”[11] This is God’s will for us, as Saint Paul tells us: “This is the will of God, your sanctification.”[12] Thus sanctity is not only a goal towards which we should strive, but above all a goal that God himself has sought to make possible for us. Therefore, there is no room for discouragement in the face of our personal weakness, because we always have God’s strength to assist us if we go assiduously to the throne of grace: to the Eucharist, to penance, to prayer. And with this “fortitude on loan,”[13] we are enabled to sanctify our work and our rest, our family life and social relations, our health and sickness. That is to say, we can overcome our limitations and miseries, and advance on the path that, through the action of the Holy Spirit, leads to definitive identification with Jesus Christ “in the glorious liberty of the children of God.”[14]

Let us absorb these teachings more deeply, striving to make them the foundation for our thoughts and the guideline for our daily behavior. And let us strive to spread them among our relatives, friends and colleagues at work, with a constant personal apostolate, because we should feel ourselves urged to collaborate with Christ in the salvation of all mankind. How marvelous it is to be, as Saint Paul says, “God’s fellow workers.”[15]

4. How high is the goal to which we are all called! To be saints, to reach the fullness of divine filiation. However, as Saint Josemaría has shown us by his example and words, to attain this high goal there is no need to do extraordinary things. The only thing necessary is to love God and our fellow men and women in the fulfillment of our ordinary duties, with the strength that our Lord himself gives us in the sacraments and in prayer.

The canonization of Saint Josemaría has been a great joy for us, but it should also be the stimulus for a more decisive and generous response to our Christian vocation. May each of us learn how to find and love God—and to serve Him in our neighbor—in the midst of ordinary life: in the family, at work, and in all our social dealings. Let us ask the new saint that we may respond ever more deeply—each day—to the Lord’s call.

At this beginning of the third Millennium, John Paul II invites us “to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope ‘which does not disappoint’ (Rom 5:5).”[16] Thus we will fulfill the aspiration that, already in those far off years of the thirties, Saint Josemaría spoke of as the goal of all of his efforts: “To get to know Jesus Christ, to make Him known, to bring Him everywhere.”

May this also be the summary of our life: we ask God for this through the intercession of our Lady and the new saint. May this program be carried out faithfully by all Christians, and particularly the faithful of Opus Dei—in spite of our personal weakness—closely united to our Prelate and Father, under the guidance of the Roman Pontiff, and therefore closely united to the whole Church. As our Father so liked to pray: “omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam!” All, with Peter to Jesus through Mary![17]

Romana, n. 35, July-December 2002, p. 226-229.

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