Josemaría Escrivá Obras

I have often said that we must not allow these periods of conversation with Jesus, who sees us and hears us from the Tabernacle, to degenerate into an impersonal type of prayer. If we want our meditation to develop right away into a personal dialogue with Our Lord (for which the sound of words is not necessary), we must shed the cloak of anonymity and put ourselves in his presence, just as we are. We must avoid hiding ourselves in the crowd that fills the church, or diluting our prayer into a meaningless patter that does not come from the heart and is little better than a reflex habit, empty of any real content.

To this I now add that your work too must become a personal prayer, that it must become a real conversation with Our Father in heaven. If you seek sanctity in and through your work, you will necessarily have to strive to turn it into personal prayer. You cannot allow your cares and concerns to become impersonal and routine, because if you were to do so, the divine incentive that inspires your daily tasks will straightaway wither and die.

As I say these things, my memory goes back to the journeys I made to the battle fronts during the Spanish civil war. I had no material resources but I went wherever there was anyone who needed my services as a priest. In the very special circumstances we were in, which might well have given a number of people cause to justify their moral negligence and slackness, I did not limit myself to giving purely ascetical advice. I was concerned then, as now, with the one thing which I would like Our Lord to awaken in each one of you. I was interested in the welfare of their souls, and also in their happiness here on earth. I encouraged them to make good use of their time by doing something worthwhile, and not to look upon the war as something of a closed parenthesis in their lives. I asked them not to give in to laziness, but to do all they could to avoid letting their trenches and sentry posts become like the station waiting-rooms of the period where people killed time waiting for trains that seemed never to arrive...

I suggested specific occupations (for example, study or learning a language), occupations that were compatible with their military duties. I advised them never to cease being men of God, and to try turning everything they did into operatio Dei, God's work. I was greatly moved when I saw how wonderfully those boys responded, for their situation was far from easy. The solidity of their interior spirit was remarkable.

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