At the blessing of a statue of St. Josemaría, Girona, Spain (July 1, 2012)
My dear sisters and brothers,
My dear friends, which is the same as sisters and brothers:
I give thanks to God for being here with you. I would like this ceremony of the blessing of the statue of St. Josemaria, a work of the great sculptor Etsuro Sotoo, to become for us a prayer that will be prolonged throughout the coming days, throughout the coming years.
St. Josemaría was a great dreamer, but a dreamer who held tight to reality, precisely so that those everyday activities would produce great apostolic fruit. He dreamed—consider it well—at a time when he was all alone, with no human means, thinking of the expansion of the Work to serve the Church throughout the whole world. Those of us who arrived later have been able to contemplate what the faith of St. Josemaria saw as a vivid reality—a contagious faith, a secure faith, a faith filled with joy, a faith that led him to cultivate contrition, to ask pardon for what he considered were failures to correspond. And thus to identify himself more fully with God, with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
I was told that this sculptor, who has a splendid artistic touch, wanted to place some roses at the feet of St. Josemaría; and he remarked that these roses represented what resulted from the footprints that St. Josemaría left throughout this world of ours, which we also have to traverse holding onto the hand of God, and of our Lady, and with the intercession of St. Josemaría.
I can tell you that indeed he was a great friend of roses, in order to bring them to our Lord in the Tabernacle. I could recount to you many scenes, many moments of the worship that he showed to the Tabernacle and also the devotion of “hyperdulia” that he gave to our Mother Holy Mary, bringing or asking others to bring to our Lord first of all a rose, and bringing them also to our Lady. And certainly he said that we are who we are: poor women, poor men. And therefore, when he was in Mexico, while making a novena praying for the Church, for the Pope, for Opus Dei, for humanity, people there told him that the roses that fell out when the Indian Juan Diego opened his mantel in Tepeyac before Archbishop Zumarraga were large, precious and fragrant. But that in the place where our Lady had appeared to Juan Diego, only small roses grew. St. Josemaria, who was a great observer and who drew both spiritual and human consequences (because one cannot separate the supernatural from the human in this world of ours) said: “that gives me great joy.” And that is how our life has to be, drawing from our daily activities, from our struggle, the small roses that we give to our Lady so that—as we pray in Opus Dei every day—she will present them to our Lord in our name. And that these roses should be our smile, our well done work, our effort to serve others, and also our effort to love more each day those with whom we live.
Let us learn from those who have preceded us. And I am referring now specifically to St. Josemaría, whom you can be certain has accompanied you, and is accompanying you from heaven while we are here. He follows us with his gaze from heaven; he follows us with his support and is saying to us: don’t give up that daily struggle, because your daily struggle will become the sowing of love and peace that you have to bring to the whole world.
Yes! Let us dream now with St. Josemaría, knowing that each and every one us is an instrument of God, and considering what apostolic efforts—specific ones—we are making each day. We Christians cannot be passive men and women. We have to be active. And just as this beloved sculptor has represented with affection the great tasks that St. Josemaría carried out…. Yes, it’s true! Each and every one of us can and should sow many roses with our actions, with our prayer, with our friendship, with our life in our own family or the place where we find ourselves. People are waiting for us all over the world and are hoping specifically for a witness of faith on the part of all the women and men who know themselves to be children of God, and who have by baptism received the grace to carry Christ in their lives and to bring Christ into the lives of everyone else.
Be women and men who are optimistic. Fill yourselves with the joy that marks those who know and converse with God. And consider carefully: God is trusting in me, he wants to lean on me, he wants to make use of my life for so much fruit that should be produced throughout the whole world. Tell St. Josemaría, that great priest of faith, that self-sacrificing priest, that priest filled with supernatural and human joy, ask him that we too (as he repeated to us so many times) may know how to open up the divine paths of the earth right where we are, because whatever we do has the transcendence of living with God.
I will end by telling you: what better path to reach God and to fulfill God’s will than our Mother in heaven! If it’s possible (I don’t know when or even whether it can be done), I’ve been told that I might visit our Lady of Ransom, where our Father went to entrust to Mary all his worries and concerns. But it was an entrusting filled with peace. To her and in her we place our lives, our hands, so that she will lead us by the path of safety and of faithful correspondence to what God is asking of each and every one of us.
May God bless you!
Romana, No. 55, July-December 2012, p. 266-267.