Ordinary Life Lived in a Holy Way

We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the homily Passionately Loving the World, given by St. Josemaría on October 8, 1967 during an outdoor Mass celebrated on the campus of the University of Navarra in Spain. This homily was prepared with special care by the founder of Opus Dei, who summed up central aspects of his spiritual message on the sanctification of work and daily life.

Work and the home, study and research, human love and the family, rest and sports, art and culture in all its forms, St. Josemaría tells us, are a true setting for Christian life and an opportunity for an encounter with God. “Your ordinary contact with God takes place where your fellow men, your yearnings, your work and your affections are. There you have your daily encounter with Christ. It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind,” the founder of Opus Dei insists.

God passionately loves the world that has come from his hands. In the place where he himself became flesh, he waits for us every day. Jesus teaches us, by the example of his thirty years of hidden life, that work is a means of sanctification. Christ acts in each baptized person. His love transforms the world from within, through work enlivened by charity, shaped by the Christian virtues and humanly well done. That is why “when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God.”

In our hands, as in those of Christ, work can become prayer and service to all men and women. Thus everyday situations, even those that might seem trivial, when transformed by love become a means and opportunity for a continuous encounter with God. For “there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations,” St. Josemaría tells us in that homily.

“In and from the ordinary, material, and secular activities of human life,” we Christians have to reconcile all things with God, placing Christ at the summit of all human activities. “In the laboratory, in the operating theater, 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,” God awaits us every day.

Romana, n. 65, July-December 2017, p. 240.

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