Sowers of Peace and Joy | A Homily by St. Josemaria Escriva
Christian apostolate is not a political program or a cultural alternative. It implies the spreading of good, “infecting” others with a desire to love, sowing peace and joy. There is no doubt that this apostolate will produce spiritual benefits for all: more justice, more understanding and a greater mutual respect among men.
There are many souls all around us, and we have no right to be an obstacle to their eternal happiness. We have the obligation of leading a fully christian life, of becoming saints, of not betraying God and all those who expect a Christian to be an example and a source of truth.
Our apostolate has to be based on understanding. I insist, as I have done before, on the fact that charity, more than in giving, consists in understanding. I cannot deny the fact that I have learned by my own experience what it means not to be understood. I have always tried to make myself understood, but there have been people who were bent on not understanding. This gives me one more reason, and a very practical one, for trying to be understanding toward everyone. But it is not this type of incidental reason that should prompt us to have a heart that is great, universal, catholic. The understanding we must show is a proof of christian charity on the part of a good child of God. Our Lord wants us to be present in all the honest pursuits of the earth, so that there we may sow, not weeds, but the good seed of brotherhood, of forgiveness, of charity and of peace. Never consider yourself anybody’s enemy.
A Christian has to be ready to share his life with everyone at all times, giving to everyone the chance to come nearer to Christ Jesus. He has to sacrifice his own desires willingly for the sake of others, without separating people into watertight compartments, without pigeon-holing them or putting tags on them as though they were merchandise or dried-up insects. A Christian cannot afford to separate himself from others, because, if he did that, his lire would be miserably selfish. He must become “all things to all men, in order to save all men.”
If only we lived like this, if only we knew how to saturate our behaviour with the good seed of generosity, with a desire for understanding and peace! We would encourage the rightful independence of all men. Each person would take on his own responsibility for the tasks that correspond to him in temporal matters. Each Christian would defend other people’s freedom in the first place, so that he could defend his own as well. His charity would lead him to accept others as they are — because everyone, without any exception, has his weaknesses and makes his mistakes. He would help them, with God’s grace and his own human refinement, to overcome evil, to remove the weeds, so that we can all help each other in living according to our dignity as human beings and as Christians.
“Sowers of Peace and Joy” is an excerpt from the homily “The Ascension of Our Lord” by St Josemaria Escriva. The homily is published by Scepter Publishers in the book “Christ is Passing By”.
Reproduced by the St. Josemaria Institute courtesy of the Studium Foundation. The content is intended for the free use of readers, and may not be copied or reproduced without permission from ©The Studium Foundation (www.escrivaworks.org).
St. Josemaria Escriva, priest and founder of Opus Dei, was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and declared the “saint of the ordinary” for his example and teachings on the value of work and daily life as the path to holiness in the middle of the world.