“In the Founder of Opus Dei, there is an extraordinary love for the will of God…He lived only to achieve it. St Josemaría was chosen
by the Lord to announce the universal call to holiness and to point
out that daily life and ordinary activities are a path to holiness.
One could say that he was the saint of ordinary life.”
—Pope John Paul II, for the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer 1902–1975
Ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1925, Josemaría Escrivá studied law at the University in Madrid in 1927, where he received a doctorate in civil law. Escrivá received a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
In October of 1928, Josemaría Escrivá said he experienced a vision in which he saw Opus Dei—the Work of God. Escrivá understood Opus Dei’s mission to be a way of helping ordinary Christians to understand that their life…is a way of holiness and evangelization. Opus Dei, often shortened to the Work, was thus founded in 1928, and approved by the bishop of Madrid in 1941. Escriva moved to Rome in 1946. Pope Pius XII gave final approval for Opus Dei in 1950.
In 1982, the Catholic Church made Opus Dei into a personal prelature—official structure of the Catholic Church. The prelature is under the Congregation for Bishops. Its bishop’s jurisdiction covers Opus Dei people wherever they are in
the world. Javier Echevarria is the current Prelate—head of Opus Dei.
For those who believe they can work and become holy (that Jesus’ righteousness isn’t enough), Opus Dei (supposedly God’s Work) offers spiritual assistance and training to put a works sanctification into practice.
Furrow, The Way, Christ is Passing By, and The Forge, Holy Rosary, Friends of God, and Conversations. are some of the books that Escriva wrote
Escrivá worked throughout his life to foster Opus Dei’s work, so that when he died in 1975, Opus Dei covered five continents and had more than 60,000 members from eighty nationalities.
Commendation from Popes for Escrivá
“…With tireless charity and operative hope he guided the development of Opus Dei throughout the world, activating a vast mobilization of lay people…Above all, he devoted himself tirelessly to the task of forming the members of Opus Dei.”—John Paul II, Christifideles omnes, (condensed biography of Escrivá)
“By inviting Christians to seek union with God through their daily work—which confers dignity on human beings and is their lot as long as they exist on earth—his message is destined to endure as an inexhaustible source of spiritual light regardless of changing epochs and situations.”—John Paul II, Christifideles omnes
“The Lord simply made use of [Escrivá] who allowed God to work.”, wrote Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope, Benedict XVI, a strong supporter of Opus Dei and of Escrivá.
Criticisms of Josemaria Escriva
Father Capucci, the postulator over the nomination for Sainthood described the chief criticisms that surrounded Escrivá’s attitude. They included: “…that he had a bad temper, that he was cruel, that he was vain, that he was close to Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, that he was pro-Nazi and that he was so dismayed by the Second Vatican Council that he even traveled to Greece with the idea that he might convert to the Orthodox religion”—Sylvia Poggioli, NPR, 10/6/2002
City of Secrets: The Truth Behind the Murders at the Vatican
John Follain, 2003
It was while I was still in London that I found a former member of Opus Dei willing to receive me, Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann…I asked Felzmann how he had been recruited.
“Dead Easy. I was on a Holy Week students’ walk, I was barely twenty, and a man sidled up to me and became friendly. He turned out to be a member of Opus Dei. They use friendship as a bait…
“…Escriva became a father figure for me…
“…I was considered to be his right-hand man. I’d studied civil engineering at Imperial College, so he asked me to put in microphones behind the pictures hanging on the walls so that everything could be taped.”
“…Escriva was totally focused on building a sense of family in the people around him…he saw himself as the twentieth-century reincarnation of the word ‘God.’
“The thing that most stuck in my mind was a remark he made about Adolf Hitler. We were watching a film about the war and the gas chambers once, we were checking whether it was suitable for members to see it, and during the intermission he turned to me…
“‘Vlad, Hitler couldn’t have been such a bad person. He couldn’t have killed six million. It couldn’t have been more than four million.’
“…The founder wasn’t the kind of chap you contradict. But I could feel that Hitler was one of his heroes, and he couldn’t believe that Hitler had really done that. He just couldn’t be anti-Hitler.”
This information is for my post:
The Real Presence in the Eucharist: Evangelization of America through Politics