Josemaría Escrivá Obras
  Conversations > Women in Social Life and in the Life of the Church > Number 98

On the other hand, although recognising the inevitable hardship of a good many situations, which often could and should have been avoided, we should be careful not to overdramatise. Is the life of a woman in these circumstances really harder than that of other maltreated women, or of people who suffer any of the other great physical or moral sorrows that life brings with it?

What really makes a person unhappy and even destroys a whole society is the frenzied search for well-being and the attempt to eliminate, at all costs, all difficulties and hardships. Life has many facets, very different situations. Some are harsh, others may seem easy. Each situation brings its own grace. Each one is a special call from God, a new opportunity to work and to give the divine testimony of Charity. I would advise those who feel oppressed by a difficult situation to try to forget about their own problems a bit and concern themselves with the problems of others. If they do this they will have more peace and, above all, they will sanctify themselves.

One of the greatest blessings a family can enjoy is the peace of a stable family life. Unfortunately, however, quite a few families are divided over political or social questions. Now do you think these conflicts can be overcome?

I have only one prescription: strive to live together in harmony and to understand and pardon each other. The fact that someone thinks differently from me (especially in matters which are open to personal opinion) in no way justifies an attitude of personal enmity nor even of coldness or indifference. My Christian Faith tells me to have charity for everyone, including those who do not have the grace of believing in Jesus Christ. Just think, then, how much greater must be the obligation to have Charity when people are united by the same blood — and the same Faith and divided only by differences of opinion. Besides, since in these matters no one can claim to be in possession of absolute truth, friendly and loving relations offer a real opportunity for learning from others what they can teach us. All the members of the family can learn something from the others if they want to.

It is not Christian, nor even human, for a family to be divided over such matters. When the value of freedom is fully understood and the divine gift of freedom is passionately loved, the pluralism that freedom brings with it is also loved.

I will tell you what happens in Opus Dei, which is a large family where all are united by the same spiritual aims. In everything that is not a matter of Faith, each member thinks and acts as he wishes with complete freedom and personal responsibility. The pluralism which logically and sociologically derives from this fact does not create any problems for the Work. Rather, it is a sign of good spirit. Precisely because pluralism is not feared in Opus Dei, but is loved as a legitimate consequence of personal freedom, the different opinions of the members in Opus Dei are no obstacle to Charity and mutual understanding in their dealings with each other. Freedom and Charity — I always come back to them because in fact they are essential conditions. We must live with the freedom Christ won for us and with the Charity He gave us as a new commandment.

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