Work as a path to holiness…

“The enemy: Will you obey… even in this ‘ridiculous’ little detail?

You, with God’s grace: I will obey… even in this ‘heroic’ little detail.”
― Josemaria Escriva’, The Way

Today we celebrate the life and witness of Josemaria Escriva’ who was an extremely pious and on-fire Christian. A Catholic priest, he founded a movement within the Church called Opus Dei (Work of God). Fr. Josemaria believed that living our everyday life was a way to sanctity and that, whatever work we have to do, it leads us to holiness.

In Hebrew, “qadosh,” the word we translate at ‘holy,’ means to be set apart for a special purpose, that is as servants of God. When we are holy we are called to be His representatives, according to the Jewish interpretation of that word. Can’t get much more ‘set apart’ from the world than that. And there is no more important work we can do.

I have been a huge fan for quite a while of living a life that is dedicated each day to God. That makes all of our efforts, our discomfort, our joy, our pain a gift to Him. And it makes every day a prayer of praise and sacrifice for our Lord. A morning offering, even before our heads leave our pillows can be incredibly motivating as we rise to meet the new day.

Fr. Josemaria also said that we should get up at a precise time (I’m pretty sure he intended that to be rather early!) and not be lazy. He felt that it was our first ‘win’ over the many ‘skirmishes’ we’ll encounter in the course of our waking hours. And you have a more positive outlook on the day with that initial, “heroic” victory.

Like the song says, “we can be heroes” one small step at a time. Once we’ve offered the efforts of our day to the Lord we get to be part of the work of God in everything we do and everything we say. And knowing we’ve offered up our day’s activities to Him encourages us to be better people. At least, I hope it does! All for the glory of God! That’s what St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches us to endeavor to do with our lives.

And that’s what Josemaria Escriva’ is encouraging us to do, as well. He transitioned to his Heavenly Home in 1975 but his spirit most definitely lives on and that is a beautiful thing.

Every little thing you do and say can be holy as you are holy. Don’t despair when you fail, as we all inevitably do because we are frail human beings. But just ask for forgiveness and receive God’s mercy. Then pray in thanksgiving that our Lord is all love, endless mercy and offers us unfathomable grace. Ask for His peace and strength and begin again.

Each dawn His mercies are new (Lam., 3:23), thankfully. How blessed are we? So, remember your heroic action, the work you do, acceptable and appreciated by the One to whom you offer them. Don’t every undervalue what you have to give. It is precious in the eyes of the Lord. You are precious in the eyes of the Lord God Almighty. It all matters, just as you do.

Live your life in gratitude and gladness for that truth.

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