Thursday, August 29, 2013

Youth: Courage: Go Out of Yourselves and Do Truth, Goodness and Beauty. You can!!

Vatican City,  ( | 567 hits

At 4pm yesterday afternoon, at the Altar of the Cathedra of the Vatican Basilica, the Pope received in audience 500 youth from the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, accompanied by Bishop Gianni Ambrosio, who participated in the pilgrimage "Upon this Rock" on the occasion of the Year of Faith. During the course of the meeting, Pope Francis addressed the youth in an off the cuff discourse.
Here is a ZENIT translation of his remarks.
--- --- ---
Thank you for this visit!
The bishop said that I made a great gesture in coming here. But I did it out of selfishness. Do you know why? Because I like being with you! So this is a selfishness.
Why do I like being with the youth? Because you all have inside your heart a promise of hope. You are bearers of hope. You all, it's true, live in the present, but looking towards the future…you are  authors of the future, craftsmen of the future.  Then – and this is your joy – it is a beautiful thing to go towards the future, with dreams, with so many beautiful things – and it is also your responsibility. To become craftsmen of the future.
When someone tells me: "But, Father, these are horrible times…Look, we can do nothing!" What do you mean nothing can be done? And I explain that many things can be done! But when a young person tells me: "What horrible times these are, Father, we can do nothing!" Please! I'll send him to a psychiatrist! Because, truly, one can't understand, one can't understood a young man or a young woman who doesn't want to set his or her sights on a grand ideal, grand [plans] for the future. Afterward, they end up doing whatever they can, but their longing is for great and beautiful things. And you all are craftsmen of the future. Why? Because inside of you all you have three desires: the desire of beauty.
You like beauty, and when you make music, do theatre, make paintings – things of beauty – you are searching for that beauty, you are researchers of beauty. First. Second:  you are prophets of goodness. You all like goodness, to be good. And this goodness is contagious, it helps all others. And also – third-, you are thirsty for truth: to search for the truth. "But, Father, I have the truth!" But you are mistaken, because you can't have truth, we don't carry it, it is found. It is an encounter with the truth, that is God, but it must be looked for. And these three desires that you have in your heart, you should bring them forward, to the future, and make a future with beauty, with goodness and with truth.
Do you understand? This is the challenge: your challenge. But if you are lazy, if you are sad  - and this is something ugly, a sad young person – if you are sad...that beauty will not be beauty, that goodness will not be goodness and that truth will be something or other… Think about this: setting your sightson a great ideal, the ideal of making a world of goodness, beauty and truth. This, you can do, you have the power to do it. If you do not do it, it's because of laziness. This is what I wanted to tell you, this is what I wanted to tell you.
I wanted to tell you this, to tell you: courage, go forward, make noise. Where there is youth, there should be noise. Then, we'll adjust things, but the dreams of a young person always make noise. Go forward! In life there will always be people with proposals to curb, to block your way. Please, go against the current. Be courageous, courageous: go against the current. And that there will be someone who says: "No, but this… I drink a bit of alcohol, take some drugs and I'm getting ahead." No! Go against the current of this civilization that is doing so much harm. Do you understand this? To go against the current; and this means to make noise, to go forward, but with the values of beauty, of goodness and of truth. This is what I wanted to tell you. I want to wish you all well, a good work, joy in the heart: joyful youth!
And for this I would like to give you the Blessing. But first, all together, we will pray to Our Lady who is the Mother of beauty, the Mother of goodness and the Mother of truth, that she gives us this grace of courage because Our Lady was courageous, she had courage, this woman! She was good, good, good! Let us ask her, who is in Heaven, who is our Mother, that she give us the grace of courage to go forward and against the current. All together, as you are, we pray a Hail Mary to Our Lady.
 [Hail Mary]
And I ask you all to pray for me, because this work is an "unhealthy" job, it doesn't do well…[laughter] Pray for me!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Archbishop Chaput: American Culture Digesting Latino Values

'Eager Little Idolatries' Exercising Strong Pull
By Kathleen Naab

LOS ANGELES, August 26, 2013 ( - Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Chaput addressed a national convention of Catholic Hispanic leaders Friday, warning that an idea that Latinos, simply by their presence in the United States, "might restore the moral tenor of our public discourse is a delusion."
In a talk at the national convention of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) held in Los Angeles, the archbishop spoke about "why faith matters," explaining the importance of recognizing and respecting human dignity.

Toward the end of his discourse, the prelate reflected on Latino influence in the United States.
"Nations change when people change. And people change through the witness of other people -- people like each of you here in this room. That brings me to the main reason for my comments today. When Archbishop Jose Gomez [of Los Angeles] and I founded CALL eight years ago, our goal was simple. Demography is destiny. The Latino population in the United States is growing very rapidly -- more rapidly than any other ethnic group -- and transforming the face of our country. The 'next America' will have a spirit infused with Hispanic experience. This should be a good thing. And it is a good thing, because Latin American culture, even today, has a legacy of respect for the family, for community and for the Catholic faith that too many North Americans have traded away, much too cheaply, for the satisfactions of social approval and material success," Archbishop Chaput said.
He explained that he and Archbishop Gomez founded the association to help Latino leaders "renew the heart of an America that has become more and more confused, and more and more remote from its founding ideals."
But, the archbishop reflected, "I think Archbishop Jose and I probably underestimated the ability of American culture to digest and redirect any new influence that comes from outside our borders."
He then noted trends such as Latinos in the US leaving the Church: "While nearly 70% of foreign born Hispanics are Catholic, that number falls to 40% by the third generation."

"The abortion rate among Latinas is actually higher than the national average," he continued. "And nothing illustrates the power of relentless mass media pressure and special interest lobbying than this fact: In just six years, between 2006 and 2012, Hispanic support for same-sex 'marriage' rose from 31% to 52%."
"In some ways, the Hispanic social and political profile is barely distinguishable from American national trends," the prelate stated. "The idea that Latinos, simply by their presence, might restore the moral tenor of our public discourse is a delusion. The emulsifying effect of American consumer culture, with all its practical atheism, its ambitions, manufactured appetites, distractions, noise, toys and anesthetics – in other words, all its eager little idolatries – is simply too strong."


Still, Archbishop Chaput pointed to the "confidence and joy" of Pope Francis, describing the Holy Father as "a healer who loves his patient as a brother and knows the medicine for his illness because he’s seen it work again and again."

"An immense reservoir of goodness and hope still resides in the world," the Philadelphia prelate affirmed. "We need to remember that and act on it. Some friends of mine traveled in Latin America this summer, and what moved them most deeply about their experience wasn’t the food or the scenery or the markets or the museums. What moved them most deeply -- and what they’ll remember as long as they live -- is the extraordinary kindness that ordinary strangers on the street showed to their son, who has Down syndrome; strangers with no motive other than showing spontaneous, unexpected warmth to a special child.

"Hispanic culture still has a soul formed by an encounter with Jesus Christ, and the humanity and compassion that flow from it. These things are worth fighting for and sharing with others."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sin and Virtue Considered from the Christian Perspective of Relationship and not Category

CCC 387:  “Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.”

Therefore, sin is ultimately a rejection of the relationship to God and therefore to one another. The temptation of the demonic was the insinuation that God was withholding a good from man to which he had a right, and therefore the disobedience and holding oneself as independent of God (and therefore of the others) as an act of rupturing the relationship/s.

Illich writes: “Jesus taught the Pharisees [in the parable of the good Samaritan] that the relationship which he had come  to announce to them as most completely human is not one that is expected, required, or owed. It can only be a free creation between two people, and one which cannot happen unless something comes to me through the other, by the other, in his bodily presence. It is not a relationship that exists because we are citizens of the same Athens, and so can feel a duty towards each other, nor because Zeus also throws his mantle over the Corinthians and other Hellenes, but because we have decided. This is what the Master calls behaving as a neighbor…. (W)e are creatures that find our perfection only by establishing a relationship and that this relationship may appear arbitrary from everybody else’s point of view, because I do it in response to a call and not a category, in this case the call of the beaten-up Jew in the ditch. This has two implications. The first is that this ‘ought’ is not, and cannot be reduced to a norm. It has a telos. It aims at somebody, some body; but not according to a rule. It has become almost impossible for people who today deal with ethics or morality to think in terms of relationships rather than rules. The second implication … is that with the creation of this new mode of existence, the possibility of its breakage also appears. And this denial, infidelity, turning away, coldness is what the New Testament calls sin, something which can only be recognized by the light of this new glimmer of mutuality.

(Viritue): “The stress which the New Testament puts on relationship is also visible in the new account of virtue which appears amongst Christians. In the Platonic and Aristotelian teaching, virtue is something that I can cultivate in myself by the discipline of repeating good actions until  they have become a second nature. Hugh of St. Victor, the twelfth century abbot,,, takes this traditional account of the virtues as his starting point, but says that, for a man of faith, each one of them can flower only as a surprising gift which he receives from God, usually through the intermediary of his interlocutor or the person or persons or community with whom he lives. The flowering of virtues, as evidenced by what Hugh calls the delicacy of their perfume, can come about only as a gift to me and not something which I can do on my own, as in classical tradition. Virtue, in that view is very self-centered, building on my powers. Hugh presents the gifts of the Holy Spirit as gifts which come to me through those with whom I live.”[1]

John Henry Newman speaks the same way concerning first "principles of the mind:" "And so again, as regards the first [principles expressed in such propositions as 'There is a right and a wroing,' 'a true and a false,' 'a just and an unjust,' 'a beautifiul and a deformed ' they are abstractions to which we give a notional assent in consequence of our particular experiences of qualities in the concrete, to which we give a real assent. As we form our notion of whiteness from the actual sight of snow, milk, a lily, or a cloud, so, after experiencing the sentiment of approbation which arises in us on the sight of certain acts one by one, we go on to assign to that sentiment a cause, and to those acts a quality, and we give to this notional cause of quality the name of virtue, which is an abstraction not a thing.... These so-called first principles  I say, are really conclusions or abstractions from particular experiences; and an assent to their  existence is not an assent to things or their images, but to notions, real assent being confined to the propositions directly embodying those experiences. Such notions indeed are an evidence of the reality of the special sentiments in particular instances, without which they would not have been formed; but in themselves they are abstractions from facts, not elementary truths prior to  reasoning.
   "I am not of course dreaming of denying the objective existence of the Moral Law, nor our instinctive recognition of the immutable difference in the moral quality of acts, as elicited in us by one instance of them. Even one act of cruelty, ingratitude, generosity, or justice reveals to us at once intensive the immutable distinction between those qualities and their contraries; that is, in that particular instance and pro hac vice. From such experience - an experience which is ever recurring - we proceed to abstract and generalize; and thus the abstract proposition 'There is a right and a wrong ' as representing an act of inference  is received by the mind with a notional  not a real assent. However, in proportion as we obey the particular dictates which are its tokens, so are we led on more and more to view it in the association of those particulars which are real, and virtually to change our notion of it into the image of that objective fact, which in each particular case it undeniably is" ("A Grammar of Assent," [October 30, 1870] UNDP {1992} 69-70). 

P.s. It is important to consider - for the sake of realism - in every experience of anything "outside of us," we experience ourselves experiencing the thing outside of us. And so, we experience the red dress. But we also experience ourselves making the red dress as gift for someone. In the latter, we experience (empirically) the value of "good" of self-in-relation. From that empirical experience of the "I" in relation as self-gift in the object of the dress, the mind is consciousness of the good and abstracts the notion: "good." Refer to John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" Knopf [1994] 34.

[1] Ivan Illich (David Cayley - Foreword by Charles Taylor), “The Rivers North of the Future – The Testament of Ivan Illich” Anansi [Toronto] (2005) 52.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Real Ground of Ecumenism: The Baptism of Russia in 988

Recall the remarks of John Paul II that the split of the Catholic Church in East and West, like a broken mirror,  makes it impossible, say, for the Muslims to re-cognize Christ. It was exactly 988 that St. Valdimir, Grand Duke of Kiev, was baptized into a Church that was one. And Baptism is the sacrament of conversion away from self to create the space for the entire people to become Christ. As there is one Baptism, there is one Christ. Rebuild the unity of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches into the one Church of Christ, and there will be massive Muslim conversions through the mediation of our Lady. 

Pope Francis Commemorates 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus
Expresses Hope that Anniversary will Provide a New Impetus for the Evangelization of Ukraine
By Lyubomyr Ferens

ROME, August 22, 2013 ( - Pope Francis underlined the conversion of Kievan Rus, a federation of Slavic tribes that lived between the 9th-13th century. Their conversion to Christianity took place "within the context of an undivided Church in which there continued to develop various church traditions, but in union with one another. This fact, in his opinion, serves as a reference point for an ecumenical dialogue among Christian communities who today rely on the spiritual heritage of Saint Volodymyr.

"The celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus demonstrates that the road to full unity among all the followers of Christ -- is not a luxury, but a deep need, crucial for the consistent and active proclamation of the testimony of Christ, as well as for a real testimony of that union for which Christ begged the Father, in approaching the highest act of his sacrificial love," he explained.

Pope Franics wrote of his conviction that the commemoration of the act of Baptism of Rus-Ukraine becomes for the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) a new impetus in evangelization and pastoral activities. The Holy Father went on to name the steadfast orientations of the Church in this sphere: the Word of God, Holy Sacraments, Divine Liturgy, formation of the faithful and the clergy, development of charitable acts.

Concluding his statement, the Supreme Pontiff expressed his hope that the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus becomes a time of grace for the whole Ukrainian nation and for all people:

"May this commemoration become a call to the real feeling of responsibility from the side of state institutions and each person in particular, to follow the example of Saint Volodymyr to work for the common material and spiritual good of the nation; a call to ecumenical responsibility, to ask God for the gift of unity among all Christians and to oneself become the builder of this unity; a call to activate the issue of evangelization and pastoral activities in all of their dimensions. I send His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the UGCC Bishops, and all Holy God's people in Ukraine, my blessing.

Leon Bloy on the Supernatural Transcendent

Words (below) of Leon Bloy who was the stimulus to the conversion of Jacques and Raissa Maritain to Catholicism – and in my own case, studying Maritain was a decisive factor in my recognition of the vocation to Opus Dei:
“Every man who begets a free act projects his personality into the infinite. If he gives a poor man a penny grudgingly, that penny pierces the poor man’s hand, falls, pierces the earth, bores holes in suns, crosses the firmament and compromises the universe. If he begets an impure act, he perhaps darkens thousands of hearts whom he does not know, who are mysteriously linked to him, and who need this man to be pure as a traveler dying of thirst needs the Gospel’s draught of water. A charitable act, an impulse of real pity sings for him the divine praises, from the time of Adam to the end of the ages; it cures the sick, consoles those in despair, calms storms, ransoms prisoners, converts the infidel and protects mankind.”

This is the pulse that beat/s –within my experience -  in the veins of St. Josemaria Escriva, Blessed John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Account of the Spirit of St. Josemaria Escriva

An Unfinished Work in Progress

The Universal Call To be Ipse Christus

St. Josemaria Escriva had two back to back audible experiences (
locutions) in 1931: One was during Mass on August 7 when he heard the words: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself" and "You are my son (Psalm 2, 7), you are Christ."
With regard to the first, Escriva commented years later that he understood Christ saying those words "not in the sense in which in which Scripture says them. I say [them] to you in the sense that you are to raise me  up in all human activities, in the sense that all over the world there should be Christians with a personal and most free dedication, that they be other Christs."

With regard to the second, he recounted later: the Lord was giving me those blows around the year 31, and I did not understand. And suddently (de pronto), in the midst of that great bitterness, these words: 'You are my Son (Psalm 2, 7), you are Christ.' And I could only stammer: 'Abba, Pater! Abba, Pater! Abba! Abba! Abba!' Now I see it with new light, like a new discovery, just as one sees, after years have passed, that hand of God, of divine Wisdom, of the All-Powerful One. You've led me, Lord, to understand that to find the Cross is to find happiness, joy. And I see the reason with greater clarity than ever: to find the Cross is to identify oneself with Christ, to be Christ, and therefore to be a son of God.”

These two locutions with reference to Christians as "other Christs" and to himself "You are my Son, you are Christ," gave him the consciousness to persistently repeat throughout his life that the vocation of every man as image of God, and not just the Christian by the sacrament of Baptism, is to be "no ya alter Christus, sino ipse Christus, !el mismo Cristo!" (not just another Christ, but Christ Himself)

Burkart and Lopez add here that the novelty is not so much that Escriva affirms that being created in the image of God, or being bapized into Christ will bring about an identification with Christ Himself (which is already deep in Christian Tradition), but that this identification with Christ has an ontological character to it, and it is accessible to all in ordinary secular life. It is new to say that one can actually become Christ Himself by living out ordinary life.

Let it be clear that Escriva did not experience that he had become like Christ, that he wasimitating Christ, that he was following Christ, that he had identified himself with Christ, that he was sharing with Christ, that he belonged to Christ, that he was tending toward the fullness of the humanity of Christ, or even that he was another Christ. Rather, these two authors commented that: he saw and felt that to be a son of God was “to be Christ' and therefore God the Father treated him as he treated Christ when giving him these physical and moral pains: the cross. It was the evident proof of his filiation, because as the Father had wanted the passion and death of His incarnate Son for the redemption of men, so those contradictions of his were the way to fulfill the mission which He has given him to share in the redemptive work of Christ. God the Father had not only treated him 'as Christ' but when inviting him to embrace the cross, he said to him: 'you are Christ' 'you are my son.'”(?)

 The texts of our Father are unambiguous: To have the Cross is to be identified with Christ, it is to be Christ, and therefore, to be a son of God.” In the same meditation, our Father said: There is only one way to live on earth: to die with Christ in order to rise with Him, until we may be able to say with the Apostle: 'It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me' (Gal 2, 20)” Burkhart and Lopez comment: St. Josemaria understands that Gal. 2, 20 speaks of a presence of the life of Christ in the Christian not only in an intentional sense (as the known is in the one who knows, and the beloved in the one who loves) butontologically” (my underline). Removing any lingering ambiguity, our Father writes” Each Christian is not simply alter Christus; another Christ, but ipse Christus: Christ himself!”

What Is Meant By Saying That One Becomes“Ipse Christus?”

 It is impossible to become Ipse Christus as uncreated Person ontologically. The Person of Jesus Christ is divine and therefore uncreated. We are created. Therefore, we are not to become uncreated. But since the divine Person has assumed a complete human nature and lived a divine life through a human nature, it is not contradictory to consider the possibility of living a human life in a divine way ontologically, since it has been already done by Christ.

What does that mean? The Council of Chalcedon (451) was considered by Joseph Ratzinger to be the simplest and best statement of Christology. He called it  “the boldest and most sublime simplification of the complex and many-layered data of tradition to a single central fact that is the basis of everything else: Son of God, possessed of the same nature as God and of the same nature as us...."1 

one and the same Christ only begotten Son our Lord, acknowledged in two natures, without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union but rather the peculiarity of each nature being kept, and uniting in one person and substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ..."]

  Ratzinger went on to say that " ... 
In contrast to the many other approaches that have been attempted in the course of history, Chalcedon interpreted Jesus theologically. I regard this as the only interpretation that can do justice to the whole range of tradition and sustain the full impact of the phenomenon itself. All other interpretations become too narrow at some point. Every other conception embraces only one part of the reality and excludes another. Here and here alone does the whole of the reality disclose itself.” 

He explains this by going on to say that “
he (Jesus) requires much more than the Church dares to require and that his radical words call for radical decisions of the kind Anthony, the Desert Father [the progenitor of the “religious life”], or Francis of Assisi made when they took the Gospel in a fully literal way. If we do not accept the Gospel in this manner, then we have already taken refuge in casuistry, and we remain afflicted by a gnawing feeling of uneasiness, by the knowledge that like the rich young man we have turned away then we should have taken the Gospel at face value”2
There is the constant referral by Escriva to his love for the canonical religious who have been called to the consecrated life involving leaving the world and taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Theirs is the radical call to be Christ Himself in this way. But, that said, he testified: “We are not religious. We bear no resemblance to religious nor is there any authority on earth which could require us to be religious. Yet in Opus Dei we venerated and love their religious state. I pray every day that all venerable religious will continue to offer the church the fruits of their virtues, their apostolic works, and their holiness.”3 But I add, that there is no greater holiness nor perfection of life in principle in the consecrated life of separation from the world and taking vows. The sacrament of Baptism suffices for

This is what is new in Escriva's proposal: the radical call to be "Christ Himself" in ordinary secular life by engaging in the ordinariness of work and family life. And since the context is ordinary, there is something extraordinary going on in the internal workings. Ordinary also is the sacramental entre into this radical life: Baptism as the "death event" of the "exchange of the old subject for another. The 'I' ceases to be an autonomous subject standing in itself.  It is snatched away from itself and fitted into a new subject. The 'I' is not simply submerged  but it must really release its grip on itself in order then to receive itself anew in and together with a greater 'I.'”4 Contrary to the normal understanding, Baptism as the sacrament of death to self (three drownings) is enough for radical holiness.The "consecrated life with the characteristics of stepping out of the secular world and the taking of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, does not increase the radicality of the call to holiness which is already there in the sacrament of Baptism. What is radical in Escriva's experience of the vocation to live Baptism is the gift of self. And what is new is that it is foreveryone. The novelty of the “Ipse Christus” is that it is the universal call for everyone and that it is achievable in the secular world through ordinary work. 

This is not explainable by any kind of anthropology "from below." This can only be explained by a Christology, and in particular, the Christology of Chalcedon and perfected by the Council of Constantinople III.

 Chalcedon (451): As we saw above, Benedict XVI considers Chalcedon to be the most ontologically complete in expressing the architecture of the God-man: One divine Person, two ontologically distinct natures ("nature" meaning principle of operation): created human nature and uncreated divine nature. But Chalcedon offered the metaphysical Christology in abstraction. The dynamic of the relation of the natures with and through the divine Person of the Son of the Father was not confronted in Chalcedon. Chalcedon worked within an abstract objectivity that left unexplained how the divine and the human worked as one in Christ: concretely, how could the human will of Christ be free without diminishing the absoluteness of His divinity?

Constantinople III:  introduced the dynamic of relation of the two natures in Christ thus overcoming the impression of a static parallelism and explaining how God brings salvation to man, not by a juxtaposition of the two natures but by a mutual indwelling of the divine Person which he calls "compenetration." The nub of the teaching of Constantinople III is that natures do not operate. Persons do. The human will of Christ is not a nature that acts with its own autonomy as human will. It is the human will of Jesus of Nazareth of the soul of His body taken from the Virgin, all of which has been assimilated by the Divine Person of the Son. The human will of Christ does not will. The Son wills with His human will. And that will, laden with all the sin of all men of all time ("he made Him to be sin who knew nothing of sin" [2 Cor. 5, 21]) is the human will of the divine "I" of the Son Who willed obedience to death in conformity to the Will of the Father. The divine Will could not assimilate the evil; but the human created will could. The divinization of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, is the result of the "compenetration" of the divine Person willing with His own human will - laden with all sin - His relationality to the Father as Son . The operative and decisive text of Constantinople III was Jn. 6, 38: "I have come down from heaven not to do my [human] will, but the will of Him Who sent Me."This decisive exegesis of Jn. 6, 38 has given the Church the Christological anthropology that is the very meaning of man. That is, Scripturally, man has been understood to be made in the image and likeness of God as Three Divine Persons, and concretely "sons in the Son."5Besides, "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...chose us in him before the foundation of the world [and] predestined... to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons..." (eph. 1,4-5)

The Explanation Takes Place on the Level of the Person as Subject:  

 The vocation that Escriva received in 1928 found voice, as we saw above,  in the locution of 8/7/1931 took place in the first person singular "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth...". It was interpreted  and interpreted as staying in the world, working, becoming "other Christs" and confirmed two months later that, indeed, by so doing, one becomes Ipse Christus: "You are my son, you are Christ." But this takes place in the first and second person.

   Escriva had experienced becoming Christ (and told so) in living out his vocation to found Opus Dei in the arduous years of 1928 to 1931. They were years of suffering (
the Lord was giving me those blows around the year 31, and I did not understand. And suddenly (de pronto), in the midst of that great bitterness, these words: 'You are my Son (Psalm 2, 7), you are Christ.'"). They were years of his experience of mastering his will (his entire self as a subject) in order to obey the vocation received on October 2, 1928. We can see the parallel here between the passion of Christ and the founding of Opus Dei, and we can see how the subjective Council of Constantinople III can be the theological account of Escriva mastering his will to obey that divine command. The grace received was a call to give his entire self to fulfill the divine Will. Constantinople III, grounded on Jn. 6, 38: "I have come not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me" (Jn. 6, 38) gives us the theological prototype to understand the radicality of total self-giving even to death. The subjectivity of "I" and the call to self-mastery, self-gift asks for a phenomenological anthropology to account for this. 

The Philosophical Account:

Wojtyla's "The Personal Structure of Self -Determination" (Person and Community [Lang) [1993] 190-193). reads: "Self-determination takes place through acts of will, through this central power of the human soul. And yet self-determination is not identical with these act in any of their forms, since it is a property of the person as such... (S)elf-determination is a property of the person, who, as the familiar definition says, is a naturae rationalis individual substantia. This property is realized through the will, which is an accident. Self-determination -or, in other  words, freedom - is not limited to the accidental dimension, but belongs to the substantial dimension of the person: it is the person's freedom, and not just the will's freedom, although it is undeniably the person's freedom through the will."

   The large development here, and germane to the topic of the "Ipse Christus," is that self determination is not simply the subject orienting itself to a value, or a good, but that "I simultaneously determine myself as well." Wojtyla goes on:  "I am not only the efficient cause of my acts, but through them I am also in some sense the 'creator of myself (191).'" 

Here we have the ontological/phenomenological grounding of the meaning of the "good," not simply as an abstract conclusion of metaphysical/psychological reasoning, but as the
experience of the self as imaging the divine Person of the Son, determining itself along the lines of the dynamic of the Son toward the Father. And if this very act of determining the self (affirmed by grace [Love]) is radical in its generosity in response to the call, we have the experience of being made in the image of the Prototype: Ipse Christus.

The root of the radicality - 
to be Christ - is to be found in the fact the gestalt of the interplay of the divine and the human in Christ is a divine Person who is nothing but Relation to the Father.6  That totally transcendent Trinitarian modality can only be imaged by the mystical (but world-immanent) experience of self-gift (mastering self to get control and possession of self to make the gift). Escriva experienced this to be the vocation to found Opus Dei, the meaning of the vocation to Opus Dei, and the meaning of all baptized and yet-to-be-baptized human existence. Man is called by the very imaging of the divine Persons and the reality of the Incarnation of God Himself in Jesus Christ, to be Christ Himself,and to be so by living out the giving of himself.
   Escriva wrote prodigiously on this experience: "We really have to give ourselves, my children. And that's something we're always in time to do. We have to get off the omnibus and travel the world without attachments, ready to be nothing and to have nothing, for the love of Jesus Christ.

   "Our self-giving gives us a great feeling of peace and confidence. That is why I usually say that Opus Dei, without the omnibus, is a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to die. We are not afraid either of life or of death." 

   Does one lose one's unique personality by submerging the "I" in the larger "I"of Christ?

Since the anthropology is self-determination, there are two things happening in each internal act. The human "I" becomes more and more determined as itself by the ongoing free choices made according to conscience. One creates the human "I" more and more in its individuality.

   But, as each of these choices is to transcend self "for" another as gift in accordance with the ontological tendency that images the very being of the Person of the Son as total self-gift to the Father, the more I determine myself to be gift, the more I am uniquely who I am humanly, and the more Christ I am. The respective asymptotes of this development is the identity between Jesus as Christ, as well as Escriva as Founder of Opus Dei.

The Name: “Jesus Christ”

Various perspectives converge confirm the identity of the founder of Opus Dei with Christ Himself. The name Jesus Christ emerged in the consciousness of the first Christian community because His very Self was His activity. "Christ" is the name for the redemptive act which was, as we have seen, the uncreated "I" of the Son willing each human act in the secular minutiae of each day. Escriva had written that "there is a divine something in the ordinary things of every day, and it is up to each one of us to find it" (Passionately Loving the World). That "divine something" is the self given totally to the Lord in the service of the others. The "self-given" in any human, secular act is a "divine something," it is being "Christ."
 What we are dealing here in this anthropology grounded in Christ's priesthood, the action of the person is his very self as gift. That is, your action is the very gift of your "I." Consider the name "Jesus Christ." Jesus of Nazareth is Christ the Redeemer, and the first Christians experienced this. He has come down to us as "Jesus Christ." Ratzinger wrote: "It can be shown that the Christian community at Rome, which formulated our Creed, was still completely aware of the significance of the word's content. The transformation into a mere proper name, which it is for us today, was certainly completed at a very early period, but here 'Christ' is still used as the definition of what this Jesus is. The fusion with the name Jesus is well advanced.7
Consider:  It is impossible to be the Son of God-become-man and not be redeemer of man, and this for the same reason that we saw above in Constantinople III. It is impossible for a divine Person to have a human will without living out who He is as total self-gift to the Father with that will. As Escriva said it: "You cannot separate the fact that Christ is God from his role as redeemer." 8

   In the case of Jesus as Christ, Benedict XVI wrote that "with Jesus it is not possible to distinguish office and person... The person is the office, the office is the person. The two are no longer divisible. Here there is no private area reserved for an 'I' which remains in the background behind the deeds and actions and thus at some time or other can be 'off duty;' here there is no 'I' separate from the work; the 'I' is the work and the work is the 'I'" 9
Alvaro del Portillo made the same observation concerning Escriva: "all those who knew Josemaria Escriva perceived that his person was inseparable from the mission for which God had chosen him. Having been able to form a particularly close and profound relationship with him for 40 years reinforces in my memory this characteristic dimension of his human and spiritual physiognomy. I have seen him, so to speak,in his 'first act' as founder, that is to say,in the daily and continuous building of Opus Dei, and as a consequence, of the Church, as he affirmed not in vain that the Work exists solely to serve the Church.
   "(T)the identification of his very self with his foundational activity implied that Mons. Escriva perfected himself as a subject - up to the point of living the virtues to a heroic degree...10

1J. Ratzinger, “Dogma and Preaching” Ignatius (2011) 121-124.
2 Ibid.
3Conversations with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, Ecclesia Press, 1972 #43.
4 J. Ratzinger, "The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology" in The Nature and Mission of Theology Ignatius (1995) 51.
6“The Son as Son, and in so far as he is son, does not proceed in any way from himself and so is completely one with the Father; since he is nothing beside him, claims no special position of his own, confronts the Father with nothing belonging only to him, retains no room for his won individuality, therefore he is completely equal to the Father. The logic is compelling: if there is nothing in which he is just he,no kind of fenced-off private ground, then he coincides with the Father, is 'one' with him. It is precisely this totality of interplay that the word 'Son' aims at expressing. To John 'Son' means being-from-another; thus and for others, as a being that is completely open on both sides, knows no reserved area of the mere 'I.' When it thus becomes clear that the being of Jesus as Christ is a completely open being, a being 'from' and 'towards,' that nowhere clings to itself and nowhere stands on its own, then it is also clear at the same time that this being is pure relation(not substantiality) and, as pure relation,pure unity. This fundamental statement about Christ becomes, as we have seen, at the same time the explanation of Christian existence;” J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 134.
7J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 149.
8 “Christ is  Passing By” #106.
9 J. Ratzinger "Introduction to Christianity," Ignatius [1990] 149.

10 L'Osservatore Romano, May 28, 1992.