Josemaría Escrivá Obras

It is an essential part of the Christian spirit not only to live in union with the ordinary hierarchy — the Pope and the bishops — but also to feel at one with the rest of one's brothers in the Faith. For a long time I have thought that one of the worst ills affecting the Church today is the ignorance many Catholics have concerning what Catholics in other countries or sectors of society are doing and thinking. We must rekindle the sense of brotherliness which was so deeply felt by the early Christians. It will help us to feel united, while loving at the same time the variety of our individual vocations. And it will lead us to avoid many of the unjust and offensive judgements made by particular little groups in the name of Catholicism, against their brothers in the Faith, who in fact are acting nobly and with a spirit of sacrifice in the particular circumstances of their own countries.

The important thing is for everyone to try to be faithful to his own divine calling. Only thus can he contribute to the Church the benefits deriving from the special charism he has received from God. What members of Opus Dei, who are ordinary Christians, have to do is to sanctify the world from within, taking part in the whole range of human activities. Since their membership in Opus Dei in no way modifies their situation in the world, they take part, as they see fit, in the life of the parish, in group religious celebrations, etc. In this sense too they are ordinary Christians who want to be good Catholics.

However, the members of the Work do not as a rule take part in confessional activities. Only in exceptional cases, at the express request of the hierarchy, do members of Opus Dei work in ecclesiastical activities. They do not adopt this attitude in order to be different, and still less out of disregard for confessional activities. It is simply that they want to do what befits the vocation to Opus Dei. There are already many religious and clergy, and many lay people also, who work in these activities and put their wholehearted efforts into them.

The task to which members of the Work are called by God is of another kind. Within the framework of the universal call to holiness, members of Opus Dei receive in addition a special call to dedicate themselves, freely and responsibly, to look for holiness and carry out the apostolate in the middle of the world, committing themselves to live a particular spirituality and to receive throughout their lives a specific formation. If they were to neglect their work in the world in order to carry out ecclesiastical activities, the divine gifts they have received would be wasted and, through a misguided desire for immediate pastoral effectiveness, they would do real harm to the Church. For there would be fewer Christians dedicated to sanctifying themselves in all the professions and trades of civil society, in the immense field of secular work.

And anyway the demands which continuous religious and professional training makes, as well as the time which each individual dedicates to acts of piety, to prayer and to the generous fulfilment of the duties of his state keep the members fully occupied. There just isn't any spare time.

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