Lay, celibate, of Opus Dei: "What makes you most happy is that the whole Church is salt and light for society".

In this interview, Pablo Álvarez, from Asturias, explains his vocation to Opus Dei and his contribution to the evangelizing mission through his daily life in his work and with the members of the parish to which he belongs.

Maria José Atienza-August 24, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pablo Alvarez

Photo: Pablo Álvarez ©Cedited by the interviewee

Pablo Álvarez is an Asturian journalist, specialized in the health area. He is also the author of several books such as Courage in the face of cancer, Manolo Prieto: the art of friendship and co-author of Carlos Martínez, fishmonger.

Involved in his profession, he is a member of the board of directors of the Oviedo Press Association and of the Asturias College of Journalists. Pablo is an attaché of the Opus DeiHe maintains a close relationship with his parish priests and the members of his parish community.

Although he is used to being the one who "asks the questions" because of his professional work, he explains for Omnes what his vocation entails and influences his daily life.  

What does it mean to you to be a Opus Dei?

-Being a member of Opus Dei means that God has called you and has placed you in a small plot of his vineyard for you to cultivate. The fruits, if there are any, are given by God himself if you don't get in the way too much. You are happy that your plot is productive, but what pleases you most is that the whole vineyard, the whole Church, is salt and light for society. You enjoy the high production of the other plots. In the Church, those who are focused on their particularism have not heard anything.

How do you participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church?

-In this small part of Opus Dei, the search for holiness is cultivated and disseminated in daily occupations. The Opus Dei It helps me to treat Jesus Christ as intensely as possible in the midst of a very competitive and fast-paced profession in search of news, interviews, reports... It helps me to develop my work as a journalist by avoiding sloppiness, being very respectful of people and seeking to tell truths that help citizens to situate themselves in the world. It encourages me to strive to make life more pleasant for those around me.

All this is beyond me on all sides. That is why in Opus Dei they help me not to get discouraged and to get up every time I fall, which usually happens several times a day.

How does Opus Dei influence your life?

-In many ways, but I will highlight one: in Opus Dei they tell me to my face what I am doing wrong, in an effort to make me improve. Whether I succeed is another matter, but the loyalty of others gives you a lot of peace and freedom: if you do something wrong, they will tell you and even pray for you to change. Christian life is great: it is a radical antidote to narcissism, it is a continuous putting you in your place.

When you belong to Opus Dei, there are people who think you are better than you really are. Many tell you: "Pray for me (or for my son, or my husband...), that you are closer to God. But you know what is there, and with a certain frequency someone will remind you of it. 

For you, what embodies the figure of the Father in Opus Dei? 

-The Father is the one who serves all. The one who clears the way. The one who has not a minute to devote to his hobbies. The one who has no right to put his tastes or his ideas first. I have never commanded anything in Opus Dei, but I do know that commanding in the Work is a chore because it forces you to listen to even the most stupid people as if what they say were interesting; to always put yourself in the place of others....

I myself have given "badges" to those in charge that I find inconceivable today. Father does all this 24 hours a day. And you pray for him to be very faithful to God and very loyal to the Church. So far, we have been very lucky with the four fathers God has given us: very intelligent, very holy, very humble people.

How do you collaborate with the parish and the bishop of the area?

-I get along very well with my archbishop, Jesús Sanz Montes, even though I have asked him rather uncomfortable questions in some interviews I have done with him. He has always rigorously respected my work and I am not aware of any threats of excommunication (laughs).

Don Jesús appreciates Opus Dei, and has said so publicly on many occasions. With my parish priests, the most plastic thing I can say is that they come to eat at my house quite often, even on Christmas Eve, and that we share illusions and concerns.

I really enjoy getting to know the people in my parish and, to tell the truth, I have no trouble understanding anyone. I think this open-mindedness is the fruit of the formation I received in the Work.  

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