A study in spiritual theology: Vida cotidiana y santidad en la enseñanza de San Josemaría

Ernst Burkhart and Javier Lopez Diaz are the authors of Vida cotidiana y santidad en la enseñanza de San Josemaría [Daily Life and Sanctity in the Teaching of St. Josemaría] (Rialp, 624 pages). The first of three projected volumes, this wide-ranging study seeks to explain and systematize, through the method of spiritual theology, the teachings of St. Josemaría on Christian life.

This first volume opens with a preliminary part on the cultural and theological context in which the message that St. Josemaría preached by special divine providence was born and developed. This was a message rooted in the Church’s tradition, while at the same time containing the novelty of a lay and secular spirituality. In this preliminary part the basic concepts needed to understand his teaching are also presented, and ample space is given to his teaching on the universal call to holiness.

After these preliminary points have been clarified, the authors turn to the first part of their systematic exposition, focusing on the final aim of Christian life. St. Josemaría expressed this aim in the following words: “We have to give all the glory to God... and for that we want Christ to reign... and a demand of his glory and of his reign is that all, with Peter, go to Jesus through Mary” (Instruction, March 19, 1934, cited on page 247 of this volume).

To give glory to God, trying to be contemplatives in the midst of the world; seeking Christ’s reign, placing him at the center of all human activities; and cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the building up of the Church through sanctification and apostolate, making the Eucharist the center and root of one’s own life: these are the central themes of the three chapters of this first part dedicated to Christian life. St. Josemaría understood very well that the great aim of giving glory to God goes hand in hand with one’s daily small occupations.

The remaining two volumes, currently in process of being published, look at the identification of the Christian with Christ (volume 2 on divine filiation, freedom, charity and other key Christian virtues); and the ordinary path of sanctification in secular and civic activities (volume 3 on sanctification of professional work and of family and social realities). The work ends with a reflection on the value of the teachings of St. Josemaría for theology, reflecting on some words of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, in a theological congress on the saint’s message.

The study includes abundant bibliography and is well documented with many quotes from the writings of St. Josemaría and other texts from his oral preaching.

Romana, n. 51, January-January 2010, p. 364-365.

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