The campus homily. Context and some features

In October 1967, St. Josemaría Escrivá gave a historic homily on the campus of the University of Navarra. Historian De Pablo has analyzed the context, and theologian Pedro Rodríguez its theological richness.

Rafael Miner-November 1, 2017-Reading time: 3 minutes
St. Joseph Mary, during the Eucharist of October 8, 1967.

On October 8, 1967, when St. Josemaría delivered a well-known homily on the campus of the University of Navarre before thousands of people, later published under the title Passionately loving the worldThe year was a key year in the history of the contemporary world," he said. Indeed, 1968 has become a symbol of change, of a youth revolution that pretended to be political, but that finally had above all a cultural impact".

Thus writes Santiago de Pablo, professor at the Faculty of Letters of the University of the Basque Country, who has studied the historical context of those words in Scripta TheologicaThe same day, St. Josemaría gave an interview to the second Assembly of Friends of the University of Navarre, 50 years after they had been delivered. On the same dates, St. Josemaría gave an interview to University Gazette, by Andrés Garrigó. In those years, the university in Spain "acted as a catalyst for the growing desire for freedom in society," says De Pablo.

Theological richness 

The theologian Pedro Rodríguez, first director of the magazine Palabra at its foundation (1965), and years later dean of the Faculty of Theology (1992-1998), has referred to the "theological richness" of this text, in which scholars of St. Josemaría's thought and doctrine seem to "find, in a particularly synthetic and summarized way, the most central aspects of the spiritual message of the Founder of the Church". Opus Dei".

The theologian refers to the following theses, in ascending line: 1) "ordinary life in the midst of the world-of this world, not of another-is the true 'place' of Christian secular existence"; 2) "situations that seem more vulgar, starting from matter itself, are metaphysically and theologically valuable: they are the means and the occasion of our continuous encounter with our Lord"; and 3) "there are not two lives, one for the relationship with God; another, distinct and separate, for the secular reality"; but "a single life, made up of flesh and spirit, and that is the one that has to be-in soul and body-holy and full of God," in the words of St. Josemaría's homily.

The theses lead to "the summit: living ordinary life in a holy way", which Pedro Rodriguez summarizes as follows Scripta Theologica in this way: "I describe the structure of the homily as a process of advancement towards the summit of the message (the sanctification of the world, the sanctification of ordinary life), from which are contemplated, in the context of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar crisis, the main aspects of sanctified secular life."

The textual phrase of St. Josemaría was the following: "On the horizon, my children, heaven and earth seem to unite. But no, where they really come together is in your hearts, when you live your ordinary life in a holy way....". 

Prof. José Luis Illanes, dean of the School of Theology from 1980 to 1992, and director of the St. Josemaría Escrivá Historical Institute, pointed out that this 1967 homily opens the door to a genre, the homiletic, to which St. Josemaría dedicated a good part of his time from 1968 until his death. The fruit of this work were the 36 homilies that make up two of his best-known works: It is Christ who passes y Friends of God.

Friends, freedom

In his article, Professor De Pablo explains various difficulties that the University of Navarre had to face. Perhaps for this reason, in his homily, St. Josemaría expressed his gratitude for the help given to the university by its Association of Friends, of which "people from other parts of the world, including Catholics and non-Christians, form part. The founder of the University also expressed his wish that the Spanish State, as in other countries with similar centers, would also collaborate in a significant way with the University, alleviating 'the burdens of a task that does not seek any private gain. 

De Pablo concludes: "Those who listened to him in 1967, or those who read him now, will realize that he spoke with those events in mind, with the desire to illuminate them from an assessment of the University, which in turn went beyond the specific problems of that time".

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.
Banner advertising
Banner advertising