Happiness in daily life


We welcome the recent arrival in the Philippines of the Prelate of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocariz. Last month, on June 26, 2023, we celebrated the feast day of Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, Latin for Work of God. Pope Saint John Paul II referred to him as the saint of ordinary life during his canonization on October 6, 2002. 

Born on January 9, 1902 in Barbastro, Spain, and ordained as priest on March 28, 1925 in Saragossa, St. Josemaria Escriva founded Opus Dei on October 2, 1928. He said that everyone can become a saint. And the means are within one’s easy reach. All he needs is the desire to want it, to become a saint. 

“Ask St. Josemaria to teach you to convert the prose of each day — your most ordinary occupations — into poetry, into heroic verse: into desires and deeds of holiness and apostolate,” Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei, said in a homily during the Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of St. Josemaria. 

Bishop Javier was the successor of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, who was beatified in Madrid on September 27, 2014, the first successor of Saint Josemaria. The current Prelate of Opus Dei is Monsignor Fernando Ocariz. 

In my senior high school in the province, a friend in the private school wrote in my autograph memento book, that her ambition in life was to become a saint! Others wanted to be a teacher, engineer, businessman, and doctor. But to be a saint was something new! How do you become a saint? Well, maybe the sisters in school had taught them to become one! Somehow, it was difficult for us, teenagers, to comprehend it, then. 

Fast forward, I finished college at the State University, worked in an office, got married, and had children. And then, a friend happily invited me to an Opus Dei recollection, where I had Confession, after many years. Thanks be to God! I found real meaning in life, which is to work well in my profession as a CPA, and in my daily ordinary duties, as a wife, mother, friend and colleague. We try to find a divine meaning in everything that we do, whether mental or manual, placing Christ at the summit of all human activities. Honest work, including studies, done to the best of our ability and offered to God, can be sanctified, St. Josemaria encouraged us. One hour of serious study is one hour of prayer, he said. We sanctify our work, we sanctify ourselves through our work, and we sanctify others through our work, by practicing the Christian virtues such as diligence, cheerfulness, generosity, kindness, spirit of service, magnanimity, loyalty and helpfulness, all building blocks for a better society!

Indeed, my high school friend said it best, when she aimed to become a saint. Actually, it is everyone’s goal to reach heaven and be inevitably joyful along the journey. We help family members and friends to reach this goal too, through persevering prayer and by bringing them to the Sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion.

Welcome to the Philippines, Monsignor Fernando Ocariz! May you have a happy and fruitful stay in the Philippines! Mabuhay!

-- Ching D. Aunario
[email protected]

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