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St. Josemaria Escriva PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 June 2017 14:40

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

NO, I didn’t have the privilege of meeting St. Josemaria Escriva in person, though I got in touch with Opus Dei five years before he died in 1975. I was then an 18-year-old junior student in college in Manila who was looking for a place to study, since I found it hard to study in my boarding house nor in the school library.

That was how I was led to know St. Josemaria whose feast we celebrate on June 26. A classmate of mine introduced me to a place that immediately got my interest. It was quiet, with an ample study room, and the people were very friendly. I must say that I fell in love with the place and started frequenting it.

Along the way, I got invited to attend some talks they organized there, and to have a chat with the priest, whom I deeply admired since it was to him that I confided all my secrets, doubts and issues as well as my dreams and ambitions that I had during those youthful years. He clarified many things to me, broadened my perspectives, and motivated me to study and work hard.

Little by little, I was introduced to the practice of mental prayer, spiritual reading, going to daily Mass, doing some mortifications, and many others. That was when I “met” St. Josemaria, because it was through his writings that I realized one can be a consistently good person, even a saint, just by doing the ordinary little things of each day with love for God and for others.

The idea fascinated me. Of course, like anybody else, I wanted to be a good person, but I did not know how. My desire could hardly take off from the ground before I would already lose steam. And my usual friends then were of no help. We were actually in the same boat, filled with good desires by helpless in turning them to deeds.

Besides, at that time I was attracted to the idea that one can be a good person, yes, even a saint, without becoming a priest. At that time, I just wanted to be a good businessman making a lot of money, but consistently striving to be a holy person without showing it off.

St. Josemaria reinforced these desires of mine in his writings. I found him preaching a lifestyle that called for turning the ordinary circumstances and events of each day into opportunities to love God and to others.

In other words, I did not have to look somewhere else to be truly in love. Where I was in any given moment is the very chance given to me to develop love. It would be there where I could practice to the full the demands of faith, hope and charity every moment of my life and not just from time to time.

This was what hooked me to him. And what strengthened this attraction was to see many people following what St. Josemaria preached, giving me the conviction that what he taught was doable and that it must have come from above. It could not simply be his own.

Now, as to how I ended up as a priest, that’s another story. But St. Josemaria also had a lot to do with it.

 
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