Sunday, October 02, 2005

October 2, The Foundation of Opus Dei

John Allen writes: "Members of Opus Dei date the group's foundation to October 2, 1928, when Josemaria Escriva, then a young Spanish priest making a retreat at a Vincentian monastery in Madred, experienced a vision, revealing to him `whole and entire' God's wish for what would later become Opus Dei. Obviously the vision was not `entire' in the sense that it answered every question, since it required subsequent inspirations to demonstrate to Escriva that there should be a women's branch to Opus Dei (that came in 1930) and that Opus Dei should also include a body of priests, the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross (1943). Yet in some sense, Escriva insisted , the blueprint for Opus Dei was contained in that original experience on the Feast of the Guardian Angels in 1928. Here's how he once described it: "On October 2, 1928, the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels - by now nearly forty years have gone by - the Lord willed that Opus Dei might come to be, a mobilization of Christians disposed to sacrfice themselves with joy for others, to render divine all the ways of man on earth, sanctifying every upright work, every honest labor, every earthly occupation" (John L. Allen, Jr. "Opus Dei," Doubleday [2005] 16).

Allen continued: "Escriva and themembers of Opus Dei are thus convinced that their organiztion is rooted in God's will. As Escriva himself once put it, `I was not the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Dei was founded in spite of me.'"

In an apocolyptic vein, Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican and author of "Let God's Light Shine Forth (The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI)" wrote: "The 20th century ended, for the Catholic Church, on October 6, 2002. It ended precisely 40 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.

"It ended on a warm, blue autumn day in Rome with John Paul II's canonization of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, as a saint.
In so doing, the Pope presented sanctity as the vocation of every baptized person, and so reiterated the central message of the Second Vatican Council....

"Having experienced the 20th century, the solution seemed evident: the Church needed to `go to ground' - to de-clericalize... and to have its members intermingle in all aspects of ordinary human life, indistinguishable in any outward way from other members of society, except in the excellence of their work, engaged in as a vocation... a vocation to sanctity in the midst of the world" ("Inside the Vatican," November 2002, pp. 16-17).

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