Josemaría Escrivá Obras

My purpose in reminding you of these hard realities is to stimulate you to examine carefully the motives that inspire your behaviour, so that you can put right what needs to be corrected and direct everything to the service of God and your fellow men. Don't forget that God has passed by our side, that he has cast his loving glance upon us, and 'has called us to a vocation of holiness, not because of anything we have done, but out of his own good pleasure and the grace he has lavished on us since the world began'.

Purify your intentions then. Do everything for the love of God and embrace your daily cross joyfully. This is something I have repeated thousands of times because I believe that these ideas should be engraved on every Christian heart. When we advance beyond the stage of simply tolerating difficulties or sufferings (whether physical or moral) and, instead, love them and offer them to God in reparation for our sins and the sins of all mankind, then, I assure you, they do not distress us.

It is no longer just any cross we are carrying. We discover that it is the Cross of Christ, and with it the consolation of knowing that our Redeemer has taken it upon himself to bear its weight. We cooperate as Simon of Cyrene did, who, when he was returning from work on his farm intending to take a well-earned rest, was forced to lend his shoulders to help Jesus. For a soul in love it is no misfortune to become voluntarily Christ's Simon of Cyrene and, in this way, to give such close company to his suffering Humanity, reduced to a state of rags and tatters. For if we do this we can be certain of our closeness to God, who blesses us by choosing us for this task.

Many people have spoken to me in amazement of the joy which, thanks be to God, my children in Opus Dei have and which they spread to others. Faced with this evident truth, I always give the same reply, because I know no other. Their happiness has its foundation in the fact that they fear neither life nor death; that they are not overwhelmed when they meet with misfortune; that they strive daily to live with a spirit of sacrifice, in spite of their own defects and weaknesses, and they are constantly ready to deny themselves in order to make the Christian path easier and more pleasant for others.

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