The Burden of Baggage


If we take a glance through the self-help section of most bookstores, we will find dozens of books to encourage us to get in touch with our inner selves. Regular church attendance may be at an all-time low, but that doesn’t mean that society is not in search of spiritual fulfillment or oblivious to the needs of their souls.

Some people may feel guided to “touch stones” or follow Kabbalah meditation, or perhaps seek inner solace through a Himalayan hike. Perhaps they would find greater comfort through contact with a Rabbi, Minister or Priest to gain qualified direction for their soul’s quest. So many young people are lacking spiritual nourishment and so, taking a drug is their fix for the emptiness in their souls.

Hopefully by the time these seekers have reached middle age, they have paused to wonder about the end of their lives and whether they know how to get to heaven. The increasing search for spiritual guidance is proof to me that many of society’s undernourished souls are calling out for satisfaction.

In the Acts of the Apostles, people were asking Peter what they needed to do to follow the teachings of Jesus.  Peter responded with advice that could still be offered today: “Save yourselves from this generation which has gone astray.” (Acts 2: 40) Of course, Peter also reminded them that they needed to repent and change their ways. We should never forget that sin is a burden that need not be carried in our hearts.

I learned through the writings of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, that there are three keys to the kingdom of Heaven; REPENT, ACCEPT and EMBRACE. Maybe these three words should be on a magnet attached to every fridge door. We must be able to say we are sorry to one another and to God when we make a mistake and accept that we are human and will always make mistakes. Above all, we must embrace God’s will each day, trusting that He loves us and is watching over us.

St. Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro, Spain on January 9, 1902. He was ordained to the priesthood in Saragossa on March 28,1925. On October 2, 1928, through divine intervention he was inspired to begin Opus Dei, which means The Work of God. In the beginning only men were invited to share in Escriva’s visionary apostolate. However, on February 14, 1930, he knew he should open up the work to women. What a marvellous Valentine’s gift that was!

During the Spanish Civil War, he lived for a time in Madrid, and put his life at risk as he continued his priestly ministry. It was a time when many of the priests of that country were being murdered, On February 11, 1943 Escriva founded the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross which opened up the possibility of lay members of Opus being called to the priesthood. In 1946, he took up residency in Rome which was to be his home for the rest of his life. From there he was able to stimulate and guide the development of Opus Dei throughout the world.

At the time of his death, June 26, 1975 there were 60,000 members of Opus Dei from 80 different nationalities. Josemaria Escriva was beatified on May 21, 1992 by St. John Paull II and then canonized by him on October 6, 2002. Escriva’s body rests in the Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace in Rome.

St Josemaria Escriva wrote in his little volume called THE FORGE: “If you abandon yourselves once more into God’s hands, the Holy Spirit will give light to your understanding and strength to your will.” {The Forge, #424)

Joan Levy Earle is an author and artist living in Cornwall, Ontario. She is the former Associate Editor of the Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart magazine.

  • darcy Mann
    Posted at 19:05h, 24 July Reply

    As usual always nice to read on of you’re articles Joan…

Post A Comment

Subscribe to igNation

Subscribe to receive our latest articles delivered right to your inbox!