REFLECTION: Unafraid of the world PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 January 2015 11:22



We have just celebrated the birthday of Opus Dei founder, St. Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975), last January 9. A maverick priest who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit rocked the Church with his bold campaign about the universal calling to sanctity in the middle of the world, he openly talked not only about being unafraid but more about passionately loving the world.

In one stirring homily, he said, “God is calling you to serve him in and from the ordinary, secular and civil activities of human life. He waits for us everyday in the laboratory, in the operating theatre, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work.”

He continued, like dropping a bombshell, given the dominant mentality of the time. “Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.”

We all need to have a more positive attitude toward the world in general, however its state and condition may be in a given moment. This is not, of course, a call for us to be worldly, but rather to love it the way God loves it.

We should not just love the world, or portions of it, when it happens to be in good condition or when it is favourable to us in the many aspects it can be considered—politically, socially, economically, and even morally and spiritually. We have to love it even more when it happens to stray from God’s will, which is usually the case.

Let’s remember what the Gospel says about God in relation to the world. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn 3,16) It continues, “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (3,17)

We need to have this mind of God toward the world. We just cannot remain complaining about its problems and evils. Nor to be indifferent to them. We have to have the attitude of saving the world, transforming it from the inside.

Its problems and evils should not turn us off. Rather, they have to turn us on. We have to convince ourselves that precisely the irregularities and anomalies it has are the materials that need to be sanctified, first of all, by intensifying our prayers and sacrifices, and by looking for concrete ways in which all these evils can convert into goodness.

Yes, a lot of patience is needed. We have to learn to live and work in an environment that will always have dirt, if not, a lot of dirt. We need to see quickly whatever is good and salvageable in a situation that may be dominated by evil.

In this, we should not exaggerate the evils we find in this world. We have to remember that the worst evil, the killing of the Son of God, has already taken place. Whatever evil we have in this world can only be a reflection of that one.

This will require grace, of course, but also a change of attitude. We may not be too aware that we tend to look at things from the point of view of our likes and dislikes, our preferences and pet peeves. Human as we are, we may not be completely freed from that tendency, but we can always try to develop, with God’s grace, God’s universal mind and heart that loves everyone.

This requires a lot of training. We have to learn to be tolerant, to be broad-minded, to be very positive and optimistic about things even when they look gloomy. If one tack or plan fails, let’s try another. May our failures not discourage us.

Let’s remember that God has underwritten everything. He has given everything to us. This is a truth of faith that we have to continually strengthen because, again, we tend to forget it or to take it lightly.

We just have to do our part as actively, generously and even heroically as possible. For sure, this active cooperation with God will give full meaning and joy to our life. We have to give our all. This is the law that should govern our life. We have to be wary of being complacent and calculating. These can only give us false joy.

We have to love the world the way God loves it.