“Lord, may we be people who know how to love”

On the anniversary of Saint Josemaria's birth, the Prelate of Opus Dei celebrated Holy Mass in the Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace. We offer a summary of the homily he delivered.

Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz began by thanking God for the life and faithfulness of the founder of Opus Dei, and he invited those present to consider that “every anniversary, every birthday, speaks to us of the need to take advantage of the time we have, without letting it just pass by.” He pointed out that “it was here in this church, on 9 January 1968, that Saint Josemaria, during the homily of the Mass he celebrated, said that years alone do not grant wisdom or holiness. And he asked himself, ‘How can we make the most of our time? Lord, what should we fill our days with so that they are truly rendered fruitful, with growth in wisdom and holiness? We know very well what we must do: fill our days with love for God.'”

We know very well what we must do: fill our days with love for God.

With these considerations, Monsignor Ocáriz encouraged his listeners to imitate Saint Josemaria, who wanted to be defined as a man who knew how to love. “In first place, how much he loved our Lord! He showed so many simple but constant small points of refinement towards our Lord present in the Eucharist. He prepared himself to take part in and celebrate the Holy Mass with such great devotion. That’s how we want to love You, Lord. We want our soul to go to the tabernacle many times each day, if not physically then at least with our heart.”

Saint Josemaría celebrating Mass in Our Lady of Peace in Rome, on 9 January 1968.

“What great love he had for the Church and for the Pope! He loved the Church so much, because he loved Jesus Christ a lot, and he saw the Pope as the Vicar of Christ.” The Prelate continued: “And how much he loved his daughters and sons! His affection was both human and supernatural at the same time. Lord, may we be people who know how to love. This requires the firm decision to seek the good of the others, to spend ourselves for the others, to serve the others, whether we feel like it or not.”

This affection is the consequence of seeing Christ in others. Monsignor Ocáriz then made reference to the first reading of the Mass, from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” He invited everyone to consider “how our Lord had engraved on Saint Josemaria's heart the sense of divine filiation, which is to realize and sense deeply that one is a child of God. We cannot be afraid of anyone or anything, because we are daughters and sons of God. Divine filiation leads us to pray with trust. We can't allow the experience of our limitations and defects, and even our sins, to rob us of our peace, because this leads us to return to the Father’s House with joy, like the prodigal son. It leads us to rest in God, when worries weigh on us.”

Monsignor Ocáriz ended by invoking Our Lady, cause of our joy, “so that we may be cheerful people, sowers of peace and joy.”