Tag Archives: opus Dei

Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-1975)

Blessed Pope John Paul II canonized St. Josemaría, the founder of Opus Dei, in 2002 . . .

Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

Feast Day: June 26
Canonized: October 6, 2002

Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer grew up in a devout and happy Catholic home, although the family was forced to overcome many challenges. Josemaría entered the seminary in 1920. At the age of 22, he was appointed an inspector in the seminary by his archbishop. Ordained in 1925, he went on to earn a doctorate in civil law in Madrid and a doctorate in theology from the Lateran University in Rome. He also worked as an instructor in law to support his family following the death of his father.

In 1928, Josemaría established the Personal Prelature Opus Dei and devoted the rest of his life to its promotion and development. In 1934, he published Spiritual Considerations, the first version of The Way, one of the most popular devotional works in modern history. In 1943, he started the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.

In the period following World War II, Josemaría embarked upon plans to expand Opus Dei beyond the confines of Spain. In 1950, Pope Pius XII granted Opus Dei definitive approval.

In 1982, Pope John Paul II gave Opus Dei its definitive status in Church law as a Personal Prelature. Josemaría’s canonization in 2002 was attended by more than 500,000 pilgrims and 42 cardinals. John Paul declared: “St. Josemaría was a master in the practice of prayer, which he considered to be an extraordinary ‘weapon’ to redeem the world.”

This column is written for Legatus by Dr. Matthew Bunson, editor of “The Catholic Answer Magazine” and author of “John Paul II’s Book of Saints.”

All work can be an ‘opus dei’

All of our work can be redemptive if we just offer it up for the glory of God . . .

Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft

The Church has a deep theology about the seventh commandment, which deals with property and labor. “You shall not steal” regulates worldly goods — money and anything money can buy.

This commandment is one of five basic areas of human relationships in all times, places and cultures. Every culture has some version of the Ten Commandments regulating each of these five areas: family (4th commandment), life (5th), sex (6th, 9th), property (7th, 10th), and communication (8th). Although, objectively speaking, property is not as important as life, family, sex or communication, this commandment is important because so much of our time and energy is spent on property. We live, by divine design, in a material world, and we are put here to learn how to use the things of this world as training for greater things in the next.

We could think of the whole material world as an extension of our body. The goodness and importance of the body correspond to the goodness and importance of the material world of things. Just as these mortal bodies of ours are preliminary versions of our future immortal resurrection bodies, so this world will pass away and be replaced by “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1).

Catholic morality on this issue is based on basic principles of reality. What ought to be is based on what is. Therefore, it is balanced and complete, doing justice to both the real and ideal dimensions of the human situation. This distinguishes it from ideologies, which are based not on objective reality but on fashionable and changing human ideas and desires and therefore always exaggerate some one aspect and downplay its opposite.

Related to the seventh commandment, one of the areas of modern life where the Church has developed her principles the most today is in the area of a “theology of work.” The fundamental principle is this: “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation” (CCC, 2427). Thus, work is creative.

On the other hand, because of the Fall, work is also a hardship. But “it can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. Work can be a means of sanctification” (CCC, 2427). All human work can be an opus Dei, a “work of God.”

Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College, is the best-selling author of over 63 books. This column is reprinted with permission from the book “Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church” (Ignatius Press, 2001).