VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Recalling Blessed Josemaría Escrivá´s spiritual legacy, John Paul II said that holiness is possible in the factory, the office, the library, the mechanic´s workshop and the home.
The Holy Father celebrated the centenary of the birth of Opus Dei´s founder by meeting Saturday with 5,000 members of the personal prelature in Paul VI Hall. Bishop Javier Echevarría greeted the Pope on behalf of all those present.
On hand were 1,200 people who had just concluded an international congress on the occasion of Blessed Escrivá´s centenary. The congress began last Tuesday with the motto “The Grandeur of Ordinary Life.”
“From the beginning of his priestly ministry, Blessed Josemaría Escrivá placed a truth at the center of his preaching: All the baptized are called to the fullness of charity and the most immediate way of attaining this goal is found in normal everyday life,” the Pope told the audience.
“The Lord wishes to enter into a communion of love with every one of his children, in the carrying out of everyday tasks, in the daily context in which life unfolds,” the Holy Father added.
According to Blessed Escrivá, “work is transfigured by the spirit of prayer; it thus becomes possible to remain in contemplation of God, even when one is fulfilling one´s different occupations,” the Pope continued.
“For every baptized person who wishes to follow Christ faithfully, the factory, office, library, laboratory, mechanic´s workshop, home walls can be transformed into places of meeting with the Lord, who wished to live in a hidden way over 30 years,” John Paul II explained, referring to the message of the prelature´s founder.
“Daily life, with its apparent gray tone, in its monotony made up of actions that seem to be repeated always the same way, can attain the height of a supernatural dimension and thus be transfigured,” the Pope explained.
“The little events of the day enclose within them an unsuspected greatness and, seeing them precisely with love of God and brothers, it is possible to overcome at the root all dichotomies between faith and daily life, a dichotomy that Vatican Council II deplores as one of the most serious errors of our time,” John Paul II stressed.
Moreover, “in sanctifying one´s own work by respecting objective moral norms the faithful lay person contributes effectively to build a society more worthy of man and to liberate creation,” he added.
The Holy Father, who might soon canonize Blessed Escrivá, concluded by inviting his listeners to follow in the founder´s footsteps, especially when he encouraged faithful “to love the world passionately.”
“Be men and women of the world, but not worldly men and women,” the Pope urged.