"Vocation" in the teaching of St. Josemaría Escrivá

"Vocation" in the teaching of St. Josemaría Escrivá
[Translated from the entry in Spanish, “VOCACIÓN”, in the “Diccionario de San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, Burgos, 2013, pp. 1287-1296]

1. Christian life as a vocation. 2. Aspects of a vocation: responding to the love of God and encouraging others to love him. 3. Diversity of vocations. 4. Vocation to Opus Dei, intensifying of one's baptismal vocation. 5. Fidelity to one's vocation.
The word vocation comes from the Latin vocatio, derived in turn from the word vocare, to call. Little known in pre-Christian language, it became of frequent use in biblical texts (St. Paul often uses the equivalent Greek words, klesis and kaleo) and in Christian literature, to express how God can speak to the individual, calling him or her. It is also used in modern languages in other contexts, but the original meaning remains predominant. In this sense it is present in the preaching and writing of St. Josemaría, who forcefully underlined the personal accents that a vocation implies. A passage of a Lenten homily can serve as an example: "The good Shepherd's call reaches us: ego vocavi te nomine tuo (Is 43, 1), I have called you by your name. It is necessary to answer -love with love is repaid - saying: ecce ego quia vocasti me (1 R 3, 9), you have called me and here I am" (Christ is Passing By, 59).
1. Christian life as a vocation
God is not a distant God, far away in the Heavens, a stranger to the incidents of earthly life, who should be served and adored, but always from a distance. He is a creative God, a God of providence, who has created the world out of love, and maintains and cares for it with love. Even more, he is a God who becomes present in our history. The Old Testament abounds in scenes witnessing to the love and closeness of Yahweh: the choice of Abraham, who is promised that all the peoples of the earth will be blessed in him (Gn 12, 1 ss.); the vocation of Moses (Ex 3, 1 ss.), whom Yahweh chooses to govern and guide Israel and of whom we are told that he spoke with the Lord "face to face, as a man speaks with his friend" (Ex 33, 11); the call to the patriarchs and the prophets, who are entrusted with the mission of reminding Israel of the divine promises, and exhorting the people to faithfulness.
With the Incarnation, God goes farther. He not only intervenes offering his protection, lavishing gifts and revealing his loving will. He himself enters the world, becomes man, shares our existence, and reveals to us that we are called to partake in the love of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus addresses the apostles with words that are both imperative and at the same time filled with affection: "come and follow me" (cf. Jn 1, 43; Mt 1, 19 9, 9, etc.), words that involve a call to share his life and his mission. The Sermon on the mount concludes proclaiming that all are called to the fullness of divine love: "be perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (Mt 5, 48). And, before ascending to heaven, he gives the apostles the mission of spreading the call to enter into communion with God throughout the whole world: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; and teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28, 19-20).
The apostle Paul also Had full experience of Jesus' personal call: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me"? (Acts, 9, 4; 26, 14-16). His question in response, characteristic of a fragile but generous creature: "Lord, what do you want me to do"? (Acts, 22, 10), receives a divine answer that marks out the way clearly for him: "go into the city and you will be told what you have to do" (Acts 9,6). Time and again, the apostles reminded the first Christians that, by the very fact of having received Baptism, they are called by Christ, and called to be identified with Him, to share in divine life, to be holy as God is holy, to make Christ known and to spread his message by word and deeds (cf. Rm 1, 7; 1 Co 1, 2; 1 P 1, 15, 1 Jn 3, 3, Ga 2, 20, etc.).
The history of pastoral and theological reflection about Christian life as a vocation, i.e., as a life based on God's call, and therefore on the universal call to holiness and the apostolate, is long, rich and complex (cf. Illanes, 2007, pp. 138-150). However there is no need to dwell on it now. It is sufficient to note that at the beginning of the twentieth century, when St Josemaría began his preaching, the predominant mentality was that religious or consecrated life was the paradigm of Christian perfection. Hence the tendency to refer the word "vocation" only to religious consecration or the ministerial priesthood. The Second Vatican Council, in proclaiming the call of all Christians to holiness and the apostolate (cf. LG, 39-42), overcame this limited view.
Through his life and teaching St Josemaría played a decisive role in the process that culminated in this conciliar proclamation. At the very heart of Opus Dei and of its founder's life lies the clear conviction that God calls all men and women, and expects love and correspondence from all of them. "It is important to keep reminding ourselves that Jesus did not address himself to a privileged set of people; he came to reveal the universal love of God to us. God loves all men, and he wants all to love him - everyone, whatever his personal situation, his social position, his work. Ordinary life is something of great value. All the ways of the earth can be an opportunity to meet Christ", he affirms in one of his homilies (Christ is Passing By, 110). In an interview of the 1960s, pointing out that one of the fundamental developments in the contemporary Church is this growing awareness of the dignity of the Christian vocation, St. Josemaría adds: "God's call, the character conferred by Baptism and grace mean that every single Christian can and should be a living expression of the faith. Every Christian should be 'another Christ, Christ himself', present among" (Conversations, 58).
2. Characteristics of a vocation: responding to the love of God and encouraging others to love him
Christian life is in itself a vocation, just as Baptism by its very nature implies a call. But it is necessary for the Christian - each Christian - to perceive that reality and to inspire his or her existence by it. Among the homilies included in Christ is Passing By there is one for Advent entitled precisely, "Christian Vocation." It begins with the following words: "The liturgical year is beginning, and the introit of the Mass invites us to consider something closely related to the beginning of our Christian life: the vocation we have all received. "Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths." We ask our Lord to guide us, to show us his footsteps, so that we can seek out the fullness of his commandments which consists in charity".
Christ died for everyone. He came so that all might have life - his Life - and have it in abundance (cf. Jn 10, 10). On this basic statement of the Christian faith, and on the conviction that the human heart "is made for love", St Josemaría based not only his teaching about the universality of the divine call, but what we could call his "vocational optimism", his longing to stir in every man and woman that hunger and thirst for God which always beat in the depths of the human spirit, although at times it can seem dead or drugged. "He calls each and every one to holiness; he asks each and every one to love him: young and old, single and married, healthy and sick, learned and unlearned, no matter where they work, or where they are" (Friends of God, 294). In the conviction that contact with Christ transforms, his constant endeavor was to awaken the "curiosity" to know him, so that, once indifference or reluctance are overcome, a way of captivating greatness can open up before the soul: "May you seek Christ: may you find Christ: may you love Christ." (The Way, 382).
Awareness of the vocational nature of being a Christian can come in many ways and due to quite different events: reading of a passage of the Gospel, some words spoken by a priest, an intimate conversation with a friend which opens up unsuspected horizons, a joyful - or dramatic - event that makes one take a deeper look at existence, coming in contact with an institution or an apostolic initiative which stirs one's interest to the point of thinking of a generous commitment... The story of God's relationship with each soul develops in each case along distinctive ways. But a vocation, with the consciousness of a divine call, along with different features, always involves some fundamental aspects:
- Above all it takes the person out of any anonymous relationship and places each one personally and immediately before God. It is an invitation to come closer to him in a direct, intimate and simple way, opening one's heart to him, showing him love, and when needed asking him trustingly for forgiveness. "We live as though God were far away, in the heavens high above, and we forget that he is also continually by our side. He is there like a loving Father. He loves each one of us more than all the mothers in the world can love their children - helping us, inspiring us, blessing... and forgiving. How often we have misbehaved and then cleared the frowns from our parents' brows, telling them: I won't do it any more! - That same day, perhaps, we fall again... - And our father, with feigned harshness in his voice and serious face, reprimands us, while in his heart he is moved, realizing our weakness and thinking: poor child, how hard he tries to behave well! We've got to be filled, to be imbued with the idea that our Father, and very much our Father, is God who is both near us and in heaven." (The Way, 267).
- On the basis of faith, it throws new and definitive on one's life. Whatever the events, the difficulties, issues and problems of past years, the knowledge that God loves us, trusts us, and awaits an answer from us, an answer in consonance with that deeper sense of the Christian vocation which he has given us, will always be a reference point, a firm rock on which to rely in order to continue one's way or to come back to it. "Our calling discloses to us the meaning of our existence. It means being convinced, through faith, of the reason for our life on earth. Our life, the present, past and future, acquires a new dimension, a depth we did not perceive before. All happenings and events now fall within their true perspective: we understand where God is leading us, and we feel ourselves borne along by this task entrusted to" (CPB, 45).
- It gives a sense of mission to life, because God, besides introducing us into a relation of intimacy, calls us to share in his design of salvation. The light that the awareness of one's vocation makes shine in the soul, is a light that must be communicated. Love for the one who is our origin is a love that must be spread. "When God marks us out and gives us his grace to strive for sanctity in the everyday world, he also puts us under an obligation to do apostolate" (FG, 5). In another of his homilies, evoking the scenes of the vocation of the apostles to whom the founder of Opus Dei made frequent reference: "God draws us from the shadows of our ignorance, our groping through history, and, no matter what our occupation in the world, he calls us with a strong voice, as he once called Peter and Andrew: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men"..." (CPB, 45).
Some words written by St Josemaría can serve to sum up these characteristics of the Christian vocation and its impact on the life of the peerson. While what he wrote was in explicit reference to the faithful of Opus Dei and how they can first experience a vocation, his words are endowed with universal validity: "If you ask me how the divine call is noticed, how one becomes aware of it, I will tell you that it is a new outlook of the life. It is as if he lit a light inside us; it is a mysterious impulse that pushes the person to dedicate his noblest energy to an activity that, with practice, becomes the very tone of his life". It is, he continues, like a vital force, like an unstoppable avalanche that leads one "to adopt a position in life to be kept ambitiously and happily, filled with hope to the very moment of death. It is a phenomenon that communicates to one's work a sense of mission that ennobles and gives value to our existence. Jesus enters commandingly into the soul, into yours, into mine: that is God's call" (in Ocáriz, "The vocation to Opus Dei as a vocation in the Church", in OIG, pp. 148-149).
All of this in a context of humility, of clear awareness that the gift of faith and vocation comes from generosity of divine love, and of recognition of one's own littleness and weakness. The apostles - writes St Josemaría in the homily on the Christian vocation already mentioned - were "ordinary men, complete with defects and shortcomings, more eager to say than to do. Nevertheless, Jesus calls them to be fishers of men, co-redeemers, dispensers of the grace of God" (CPB, 2). "Something similar has happened to us" he continues; "In thinking along these lines, I feel embarrassed. But I also realize that human logic cannot possibly explain the world of grace. God usually seeks out deficient instruments so that the work can more clearly be seen to be his". For that reason, he concludes, our vocation rests also on the knowledge of our misery, and the conviction that the lights illuminating our soul - faith, the love with which we love - charity - and the desire which maintains us - the hope -, are gratuitous gifts of God" (ibidem).
3. Diversity of vocations
In the Church, next to a radical identity in the faith and in responsibility towards the mission received from Christ, there is a wide variety of situations, functions and tasks. With reference to vocation, this implies that, within the one common Christian vocation, a diversity exists - between lay vocation and priestly vocation, religious vocation or vocation to consecrated life and secular vocation, vocation to marriage and vocation to celibacy, etc.
Throughout his whole life the founder of Opus Dei showed deep appreciation for the religious vocation whose importance for the life of the Church he stressed on many occasions. At the same time, in coherence with the mission that he had received - to foster the pursuit of holiness and apostolic action in the midst of the world and taking occasion of the world -, he paid attention preferably to other vocations: the lay vocation, the vocation to marriage, the priestly vocation. His preaching and writing offer rich and detailed teaching on these. Other entries of the Dictionary deal more with them; we limit ourselves here to some general considerations.
- An ambitious program and optimistic program
St Josemaría traces out a broad and ambitious panorama of holiness. "God does not abandon any soul to a blind destiny. He has a plan for all and He calls each to a very personal and non-transferable vocation" (Conversations, 106). His call is to the sanctification of all earthly realities, the whole range of the tasks, structures and occupations that make up the life of society, in single or in married life, in prominent or in ordinary positions, because "there are so many men and women on earth, and the Master does not fail to call any single one. He calls them to a Christian life, to a life of holiness, to a chosen life, to life eternal" (The Forge, 13).
The panorama presented by Josemaría is ambitious: and at the same time optimistic. To proclaim that all men and all women, whatever their condition, are the object of a divine call and receive with it the mission to contribute, from the place they occupy in the world, to the reign on earth of the peace, justice and fraternity of which the Gospel speaks, can seem like a dream, an ideal full of beauty, but impossible to put into practice, so leading to the temptation to being content to admire it without engaging in its realization. The founder of Opus Dei was not unaware of this, and that is why his ultimate reference was always, in deep conviction, to the power and force of the redemption and grace that come from Christ. "This [the ideal to which we have just referred] can be achieved; it is not an empty dream. If only we men would make up our minds to receive the love of God into our hearts! Christ our Lord was crucified; from the height of the cross he redeemed the world, thereby restoring peace between God and men. Jesus reminds all of us: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself." If you put me at the centre of all earthly activities, he is telling us, by fulfilling the duty of each moment, in what appears important and what appears unimportant, I will draw everything to myself. My kingdom among you will be a reality! (...) Embracing the Christian faith means committing oneself to continuing Jesus Christ's mission among men. We must, each of us, be alter Christus, ipse Christus: another Christ, Christ himself. Only in this way can we set about this great undertaking, this immense, unending task of sanctifying all temporal structures from within, bringing to them the leaven of redemption." (CPB, 183).
- In ordinary life and in any job
Awareness of the divine call inspires the Christian who lives in the world and is occupied in some everyday task, to realize the value of his daily existence, not only in what he can contribute to the life of society, but also because, through it, he can find God, relate to Him, offer him the work of his intelligence and of his hands, so that God with his grace raises it to the divine level and endows it with redemptive effectiveness. "By the very fact of being a man, a Christian has a full right to live in the world. If he lets Christ live and reign in his heart, he will feel - quite noticeably - the saving effectiveness of our Lord in everything he does. It does not matter what his occupation is, whether his social status is "high" or "low"; what appears to us to be an important achievement can be very low in God's sight; and what we call low or modest can in Christian terms be a summit of holiness and service" (CPB, 183).
A program of service, because the recognition of God's closeness, of the call he addresses to all men so that they enter into communion with Him, naturally leads one to love others in a practical way, not only with words but in deeds of service. Our calling to be children of God in the midst of the world, requires us not only to seek our own personal holiness, but also to go out onto all the ways of the earth, to convert them into roads that will carry souls over all obstacles and lead them to the Lord. As we take part in all temporal activities, as ordinary citizens, we are to become leaven acting on the dough" (CPB, 120). In short, the ordinary Christian should not only sanctify himself in ordinary life, but sanctify ordinary life itself with all that this involves - work, human relations, ambitions and duties -, and sanctify through ordinary life.
- Marriage as a divine way
"You laugh because I tell you that you have a 'vocation for marriage'? Well, you have just that: a vocation" (The Way, 27). These words of The Way, written in the 1930s, express the heart of St Josemaría's preaching about marriage - from the very beginning of Opus Dei. Marriage is not only a social institution with its roots deep in human nature; it is a way to holiness. God blesses marriage and gives his grace not only at the moment of the wedding, but throughout the whole of married life. "Husband and wife are called to sanctify their married life and to sanctify themselves in it. It would be a serious mistake if they were to exclude family life from their spiritual development. The marriage union, the care and education of children, the effort to provide for the needs of the family as well as for its security and development, the relationships with other persons who make up the community, all these are among the ordinary human situations that Christian couples are called upon to sanctify" (CPB, 23). Spouses must realize that they are called to live their married love in a deeply human and Christian way. Loving each other and more they grow in love for God. So they generously welcome the children that come, turn the inevitable annoyances and troubles that won't be lacking into opportunities of actualizing their faith and living their dedication, in this way transforming the family into a "bright and cheerful home", and into a leaven that contributes to the development and renewal of the whole of society.
- The priestly vocation
As a priest in love with his priesthood, the founder of Opus Dei had a deep awareness of the dignity of the ministerial priesthood, and of the holiness to which the priest is called and which he should attain in the exercise of his ministry, a source of holiness for the Church and for the priest who carries out it. "What is the identity of the priest?", he asks in one of his homilies, and replies immediately, "That of Christ. All of us Christians can and should be not just other Christs, alter Christus, but Christ himself: ipse Christus! But in the priest this happens in a direct way, by virtue of the sacrament" (A Priest Forever, p. 38). And later he emphasizes the same idea: "Here we have the priest's identity: he is a direct and daily instrument of the saving grace which Christ has won for us" (ibid. p. 39). This is true of the whole life of the priest, but has special application to the central act of his ministry: the celebration of the Eucharist. Words from the same homily, in which St Josemaría speaks in the first person, express this with remarkable force: "I am on the one hand a member of the faithful like the others; but, above all, I am Christ at the Altar! I am renewing in an unbloody manner the divine Sacrifice of Calvary and I am consecrating, in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. I really represent Jesus Christ, for I am lending him my body, my voice, my hands and my poor heart, so often stained, which I want Him to purify" (ib. 44). From this comes the pastoral effectiveness and the sanctifying power of the eucharistic celebration and of the entire ministerial activity, always provided that the priest lives in accordance with what he carries out: "I pray to God our Lord to give all of us priests the grace to perform holy things in a holy way, to reflect in every aspect of our lives the wonders of the greatness of God" (ib. 39).
4. The vocation to Opus Dei, particularizing of one's baptismal vocation
Behind many of the passages St Josemaría dedicates to speaking of vocation in general there is an implicit reference to the vocation to Opus Dei. His teaching is particularly clear on the fact that a vocation to Opus Dei is a determination or pinning down of one's baptismal vocation, a determination that does not even minimally distance one from the status of being an ordinary Christian, but rather reinforces it.
Reflecting on this point, Fernando Ocáriz, based on some expressions of St. Josemaría, has coined an expression that might seem paradoxical, but in fact goes to the bottom of the matter: the vocation to Opus Dei is a vocation special to ordinary Christians (Ocáriz, p. 173 ss.). Special, because it is addressed to definite persons, moving them to join Opus Dei and therefore to share in the mission which God entrusted to St Josemaría on October 2 1928, and to live according to its spirit. Of ordinary Christians, because this call does not separate anyone from his place, from his condition as a lay person or as a secular priest, but rather inspires him to live that condition with the spirit of Opus Dei - precisely with a spirit that puts the accent on the living of Christianity in ordinary existence, each one in the place, task and profession in the world proper to him or her.
St Josemaría realized in 1928 that he was called to promote among persons of all social conditions and of all professions the practical and effective search for communion with God in the midst of the world. And to do so not merely proclaiming in general terms the universal call to the holiness, but stirring up in those around him (students, workers, professionals of the most varied types) the awareness that God was calling them there where they were, so that they would live their Christian faith profoundly and radically precisely there, and encourage to others to do the same. And in this way, like the spreading of the wave made by a stone fallen into a lake, to spread Christ's light through the whole of society. "Among those around you - apostolic soul - you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example you produce a first circle... and it another... and another, and another... Wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?"? (The Way, 831).
The vocation to Opus Dei is a vocation to sanctify one's own state - unmarried, married, widower, priest - , one's own task, one's family, one's ordinary life, turning it all into an occasion and opportunity of holiness and apostolate. In one of the early letters addressed by the founder to the faithful of Opus Dei we read: "God wants to use us so that all Christians discover the sanctifying value of ordinary life, of their professional job or work, and the effectiveness of the apostolate of doctrine communicated by means of example, friendship and confidence" (Letter of January 9, 1932); and in another: "God has called us to become saints in ordinary everyday life; and to teach others -providentes, non coacte, sed spontanee secundum Deum (I Pt 5, 2), prudently, without forcing anyone, spontaneously, according to God's will - the way to become a saint in one's state in the midst of the world" (Letter of March 24, 1930).
Specific features of the vocation to Opus Dei follow from this: the sense of divine filiation which helps one to realize that always and in every situation, also in the smallest and most insignificant moments, one is in the presence of God; a due appreciation of all noble temporal realities, since the world, as God's creation, can and should lead us to God; a secular, natural spirit; love for work well done and carried out with presence of God and a spirit of service; a sense of freedom in general and very particularly regarding temporary matters, each one courageously accepting responsibility for his or her actions; a deep and sincere appreciation for friendship and human love; solidarity; the desire, the longing to spread throughout the world, through the witness of normal ordinary life, love for Christ and - in Christ and through the Holy Spirit - , for God the Father, for the whole Trinity.
5. Fidelity to one's vocation
In man's relationship with God, the initiative is first on God's side: "God loved us first" (1 Jn 4, 19). This of course applies especially in regard to vocation: the one calling is God. It is up to man to respond. To respond with faith, that is to say, welcoming the invitation that God addresses to him, opening oneself up to one's vocation, and as a result grounding one's existence on it. In other words: responding with faith and with faithfulness.
A vocation, simply as an event, in itself relates to a concrete moment in life, the moment when a Christian took cognizance realized the profoundness of the fact of being a Christian and realized what God was asking concretely of him or her. But it relates to that event not as something limited to the past, but as the moment of a special encounter God. It relates to God and therefore not only to the past but at the same time and inseparably to the present and the future. To the present, because the God who called one day continues to call today and now;. And to the future, because that God who called expects a love prolonged throughout a lifetime and shaped according to the particular vocation received and in attitude of full receptiveness regarding whatever God may continue to offer and to ask for.
As St. Josemaría writes, the limitless love of God that grounds our vocation calls for "an unswerving faithfulness which is coherent and true to its name down to the last detail, with no half measures or compromises, a faithfulness to the fullness of the Christian vocation which we lovingly accept and practice caringly" (FG, 5). "Some of you might think I am referring only to a select few. Don't let the promptings of cowardice or easygoing ways deceive you so easily. Feel, instead, God urging each one of you on, to become another Christ, ipse Christus, Christ himself" (FG 6).
Faithfulness involves perseverance, firmness, determination, knowing how to say Yes to what is compatible with the call, and No to what would lead one off the way. Full faithfulness to one's vocation and to the mission it entails can at times call for strong and even painful decisions. St Josemaría does not ignore this, but he places special emphasis on the ordinary things, the little things of each day, in the conviction that fidelity to one's vocation grows and is reaffirmed in and through daily things: whoever strengthens his decision by means of fidelity in the small things, will also be faithful in the big ones.
Two points go together here: on the one hand, the value of perseverance in daily things. On the other, the difference between the contribution of us women and men, and what, counting on our response but going far beyond it, God does. In this context, St. Josemaría often used the image of the donkey at the treadmill. "Oh blessed perseverance of the donkey that turns the water-wheel! Always the same pace. Always the same circles. One day after another: everyday the same. Without that, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, nor blossom in the orchard, nor scent of flowers in the garden. Carry this thought to your interior life." (The Way, 998). The treadmill gives the donkey his peculiar place, and indicates his task. A task and a job that superficially considered might be qualified as routine, both in terms of space (the donkey keeps turning around the same point) and of time - because after one turn comes another. But for one who knows he or she is the object of a divine call, these limitations (and all human existence, even the greatest, is limited) open up an immense horizon: the bloom of the orchard, the awesome work of the redemption. In the end the fruits come. And they come also as the result of the work carried out day by day, faithfully, by the donkey, since the water he helps to bring - divine grace - surmounts the disproportion between something so small and something so great. This is the paradox of God's condescension towards human littleness.
Fidelity united to faith stands in intimate relationship with hope; and above all with love. So the very next point in The Way stresses: "And what is the secret of perseverance? Love. Fall in Love, and you will not leave him" (The Way, 999). Fidelity to one's vocation is not fidelity to an ideal or a personal life project, but to a God who in calling us shows that he loves us and expects love of us. That is why it should lead to an unhesitating determination to do God's will at all times, to intensify our relationship with God, our meditation of the life of Christ, participation in the sacrifice of the Mass, visits to the Tabernacle, and our filial trust in Our Lady...
In the end all our determination is based on a simple and boundless trust in God who calls each one, knowing his or her limitations and defects - past, present and future - and in every moment offers his grace to persevere in the way, or if needs be to return to it. Faithfulness is the fruit of letting oneself be led by God, the fruit of docility - "If you don't leave him, he won't leave you" (The Way, 730) -, uniting us to God. That is why it brings happiness also in moments of difficulty or of trial. St. Josemaría liked to recall the reason: because "When love exists there is a kind of wholeness - a capacity for self-giving, sacrifice and renunciation. In the midst of that self-denial, along with painful difficulties, we find joy and happiness, a joy which nothing and no one can take away from us" (CPB, 75). A happiness like this comes from God, from a God who, as St Paul reminds us (cf. Rm 8, 35), has shown that he loves us in Christ with an infinite love.

Bibliography: Ernst Burkhart-Javier López, Daily Life and Holiness in the Teaching of Saint Josemaría. Study of Spiritual Theology. I, Madrid, Rialp, 2010, pp. 198-239; José Luis Illanes, The World and holiness, Rialp, 1984; go., Treaty of Spiritual Theology, Pamplona, EUNSA, 2007, pp. 127-187; Fernando Ocáriz, The vocation to Opus Dei like vocation in the Church", in OIG, pp. 1-198; Pedro Rodríguez, Vocation, work, view, Pamplona, EUNSA, 1986.

Cormac BURKE