The Pope’s recent exhortation Gaudete et exsultate on the “call to holiness in today’s world” echoes in many points the teachings of Escriva. What were your thoughts on reading it?
The universal call to sanctity is the “hinge” for all the founder of Opus Dei’s teachings. He always insisted that sanctity was not just for a few privileged people: “God calls everyone, he looks for Love from everyone: from all men and women, wherever they are; from all, whatever their situation in life, profession or job.” God is calling the high school teacher to be holy, the artist, the business person, the kitchen assistant, the sports person, the person confronting the challenges of unemployment…
While still alive, the founder had the great joy of seeing how the Second Vatican Council confirmed and proclaimed this truth: that sanctity is for everyone. Therefore you can understand why, in reading Guadete et exsultate, my thoughts quickly went to the joy Saint Josemaria would have experienced on seeing this new expression of the message of the universal call to holiness in Pope Francis’ words.
What surprised you the most about it?
The Pope points to the beatitudes as the “identity card” for a person seeking sanctity in daily life. This path requires us to sometimes go against the current, but it leads in the end to happiness. It is very important to help people see, by our example, that an integral Christian life also leads to human fulfilment already here on earth, despite the difficulties we all confront.
The path of the beatitudes is a path to happiness for us and for all men and women. I also thought it was very beautiful to see how the Pope insisted, throughout the entire exhortation, that holiness is based on small gestures, something we also see Saint Josemaria stressing in his book The Way: “Have you noticed how human love consists of little things? Well, divine Love also consists of little things.”