Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Finally, are you satisfied with these forty years of activity? Has the experience of recent years (social changes, the Second Vatican Council, etc.) by any chance suggested any changes in the structure of Opus Dei?

Satisfied? I cannot but be satisfied, when I see that, despite my own wretchedness, our Lord built up so many wonderful things around this Work of God. The life of a man who lives by Faith will always be the story of the mercies of God. At some moments the story may perhaps be difficult to read, because everything can seem useless and even a failure. But at other times our Lord lets one see how the fruit abounds and then it is natural for one's soul to break out in thanksgiving.

Indeed, one of my greatest joys was to see the Second Vatican Council so clearly proclaim the divine vocation of the laity. Without any boasting, I would say that, as far as our spirit is concerned, the Council has not meant an invitation to change but, on the contrary, has confirmed what, with the grace of God, we have been living and teaching for so many years. The principal characteristic of Opus Dei is not a set of techniques or methods of apostolate, not any specific structures, but a spirit which moves one to sanctify one's ordinary work.

As I have repeated on so many occasions, we all have personal shortcomings and miseries. And we all should examine ourselves seriously in God's presence and check to see how our life measures up to our Lord's demands. But we should not forget the most important thing: 'If only you knew the gift of God!' (John 4:10) as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman. And St Paul adds: 'We carry this treasure in earthenware jars, to show that the abundance of the power is God's and not ours' (2 Cor 4:7).

Humility, Christian self-examination, begins with recognising God's gift. It is something quite distinct from shrugging one's shoulders at the way things are going. And it has nothing to do with a sense of futility or discouragement in the face of history. In one's personal life, and sometimes also in the life of associations or institutions, there may be things which have to change, perhaps a lot of things. But the attitude with which a Christian should face these problems should be, above all, one of amazement at the greatness of the works of God, compared with the littleness of man.

Aggiornamento should take place, principally, in one's personal life so as to bring it into line with the 'old novelty' of the Gospel. Being 'up-to-date' means identifying oneself with Christ who is not a figure of the past: Christ is living and will live for all ages: 'yesterday and today and forever' (Heb 13:8).

Taking Opus Dei as a whole it can be said without any kind of arrogance but with gratitude to the goodness of God, it will never have any problems of adaptation to the world: it will never find itself in need of being brought 'up-to-date.'

God our Lord put Opus Dei up to date once and for all when he gave the Work its particular lay characteristics. It will never need to adapt itself to the world, because all its members are of the world. It will never be forced to catch up with human progress because it is the members of the Work, together with all the other people who live in the world, who make human progress, by means of their ordinary work.

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