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Seville (Spain) -- A transcendent view of ordinary activities

A round table was held recently in Seville under the title “Work, a transcendent view of ordinary activities.” The Alboran Student Residence invited various professionals to reflect on work as a means for personal growth, for service to society, and for drawing closer to God.

The session was a chance to consider the timeliness of the Christian message on work and to clarify some challenges related to sanctifying work: the balancing of one’s family and professional work, the search for beauty and truth in art, etc.

José Carlos Martin de la Hoz spoke on how St. Josemaría encouraged the formation of university students. “He called them forcefully to holiness; he encouraged them to be magnanimous in their prayer, because human projects become great through prayer; and finally he fostered in them a deep sense of responsibility, to the measure of their personal freedom.”

Nuria Chinchilla, a professor at the IESE, spoke on what she called “the daily challenge: balancing family and professional life.” For Chincilla, the teachings of St. Josemaría in this regard foreshadowed the problems that we are living through today: “first of all, because he stressed the capacity of women to be agents of change, and secondly, because a woman with her feminine perspective can provide new solutions for today’s problems.”

Professor Chincilla pointed out some challenges to women in balancing attention to their family and work. A key element here involves setting priorities regarding one’s professional goals and care for one’s family. She stressed the need for mutual collaboration between husband and wife in this effort: “their paths in life have to be made completely compatible, above all in relation to the raising of their children.”

Finally Marieta Quesada, a painter, spoke on work and inspiration: “In my case, hard and constant work comes first, blessed occasionally with moments of inspiration. These moments come and go, but it is the labor itself that forges the artist.” She also spoke of the need for temperance in order to capture the beauty of what is simple. “Sobriety of life facilitates the capture of the beauty of the created world, and thus makes it easier to find God, whom one sees shining through beauty.”

Romana, No. 37, July-December 2003, p. 85-86.

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