Faithful urged: Be ‘sowers of peace, joy’
MANILA – Amid wars and increasing incidents of violence, a Catholic prelate invited the faithful to learn from St. Josemaria Escriva, reminding Christians of their responsibility of bringing peace to the world.
In a recent homily on the occasion of the liturgical commemoration of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, the Prelate of Opus Dei, said, “Today, when often one sees a great lack of peace in society, in the workplace, in family life… [T]here is an ever great need for us Christians to be, in the words of Saint Josemaria, ‘sowers of peace and joy.’”
Presenting St. Josemaria as a practical teacher and effective intercessor for today’s society which is in dire need of peace, the Ocáriz pointed out, “Peace in the world, perhaps, depends more on our personal struggle each day to smile, to forgive others, and not give importance to ourselves, than the great negotiations carried out among States, however important these might be.”
Christian peace and happiness
Experiencing the cruelty of war first-hand during the Spanish Civil War, St. Josemaria explained his vision in detail in a homily while celebrating Mass in hiding in 1937:
“If we carry out our apostolate, then the face of the world will change, and the disorder and wretchedness we see in the world will be replaced with Christian peace and happiness. Then peace will spread throughout the world.”
As he challenged the faithful to be “sowers of peace and joy”, St. Josemaria rejected any conception of Christian life as something “private” which absents itself from the “world crises” – a mistaken understanding of “spiritual life” – and, instead, closely links the spiritual life with the problems of society.
As proof of the perennial validity of St. Josemaria’s teaching, the Venerable Servant of God Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, then president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, gave a testimony on the occasion of the canonization of Escriva on Oct. 6, 2002.
The Vietnamese prelate wrote: “If every Christian should be a ‘creator of peace and justice’, the founder of Opus Dei wanted each one to be a ‘sower of peace and joy’. Throughout his life, and through his example and teachings, Josemaria Escriva successfully sowed justice, peace, and love.”
He added: “This fruitful sowing still continues today, alive in the apostolic spirit of his spiritual children and in the many social initiatives promoted by him directly or inspired by him.”
Masses to commemorate St. Josemaria
To offer the faithful an opportunity to manifest their devotion, or to ask the saint‘s intercession, Masses in honor of St. Josemaría will be celebrated in various places on June 26.
The Information Office of Opus Dei in the Philippines offers in its website (opusdei.ph) a list of Masses that will be celebrated for the liturgical commemoration of St. Josemaria in cities all over the Philippines. CBCPNews