The feast day of St. Jose Maria Escriva on June 26 was observed in San Antonio with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, at San Fernando Cathedral.
The archbishop said that many Catholics associate St. Jose Maria only as the founder of the Opus Dei movement, but the San Antonio prelate encouraged listeners to see him as a saint in the broader context of the whole Church. “Through him the Holy Spirit has reminded the Church of the dignity, value, and holiness that is to be found in ordinary life and in normal human work!” he exclaimed. “In this way, he is the saint of human dignity, of finding God in a very real way, among the ‘pots and pans’ of life, as St. Theresa of Avila had admonished her spiritual daughters.
Referring to the members of the Work, (as he affectionately referred to the members of Opus Dei) and their contributions to church and society through their normal vocation to human labor, St. Jose Maria stated that: “It must be a job which contributes effectively towards both the building up of the earthly city — and therefore it must be done competently and in a spirit of service; and to the consecration of the world — and in this regard it must both sanctify and be sanctified.”
Pope Francis, in a similar vein, has also said: “Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use an image, ‘anoints’ us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts…”
Additionally, St. Thomas Aquinas noted that human labor, in its creative and sustaining nature, makes the faithful co-creators with God in the building up of this world, and its restoration from the wounds of sin and division to the garden God originally wanted it to be. “Although,” Archbishop Gustavo added, “I think we can say that God is truly the senior partner in this matter!”
The death last December of Msgr. Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, bishop prelate of Opus Dei, was experienced with sadness, the archbishop acknowledged. “He was towering figure and nobly continued the leadership of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei in the same spirit as St. Jose Maria, and with the same fatherly care as Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo,” he added.
Now, that mission and ministry of the Work is under the direction of Msgr. Fernando Ocaríz. “We pray that God may continue to bless all those associated with the Prelature, whether as numeraries or simply as admirers of St. Jose Maria, and that the message of growing in sanctity in our normal human lives may spread with the fire of the Holy Spirit to many!” concluded Archbishop Gustavo.