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Charity is Clarity

When Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed Josemaría Escrivá a saint on October 6, 2002, he described the mantra of Josemaría‘s Opus Dei (“the work of God”) teachings as follows:

“Our daily activities—one’s family life, professional work, social relationships—are a path leading to heaven, if one walks with one’s eyes fixed on God and with a desire to help one’s neighbor.”

Daily living in simplicity with a holy focus on God and others was how St. Josemaría Escrivá lived.

What a beautiful example for each of us to follow in our journey to heaven. Beautiful, yes. Simple, no (at least not for me). First of all, it’s hard to be holy in every day life and to focus continuously on helping others. At times, I have found myself thinking of my individual needs and wants instead of how I can help and love my neighbor. This takes my internal focus off God.

When I do this, my self-centered attitude infects my children, and their selfish sides begin to slowly creep into full display. The “ripple effect” is real, and my attitude in selfishness can set the tone of my household for the day. Because of this, I’ve learned to reprogram my brain and attitude so as to influence my children’s behavior positively with my simple mantra, “Charity is Clarity.”

As St. Josemaría Escrivá says, living charity in one’s ordinary life demands “a big heart to share the concerns of those around us” (Christ Is Passing By, 158).

As one of the Theological virtues (along with faith and hope), charity can be done in everyday circumstances and at any time.

It is a love language that can be seen either in full display (e.g., volunteering at homeless shelters, feeding the poor, attending a funeral, etc.) or in hidden silence (e.g., offering prayers for those who have offended us, honoring God in difficult tasks, abstaining from gossip, etc.).

I have often told my children that if a situation occurs and they do not know how to respond, remember that “Charity is Clarity.”

It simply clears the mind to do what is kind. Responding with charity offers compassion and is clearly God’s response. Charity places Him as a priority in decision-making. Charity not only seeks the response that Christ would seek, but it also pleases Him.

Charity is also infectious and leads to holiness and humility, both of which are beautifully attractive.

People are drawn to these gentle traits in another person. It is evident that something is different about the person who possesses charity. This care and concern for others unites us with Christ and shows the presence of His love.

St. Josemaría Escrivá lived a beautiful life filled with simplicity, charity, and humility, especially by placing God above all things. Every moment of his life was an offering for God and to God while focusing on helping others. It was his love language – his Opus Dei.

Remembering “Charity is Clarity” can become a way of living for us as it did for one of the greatest saints!

St. Josemaría Escrivá, pray for us!

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Angie Elser

Angie writes from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the mother of six children and co-founder of the MOMMS (Mothers of Major and Minor Seminarians) Prayer watch for the Diocese of Little Rock.

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