“Lord, here is this wretch, who doesn’t know how to love You like John the milkman.” (Saint Josemaría)
Saint Josemaría is the founder of Opus Dei, which is a movement that encourages sanctification through secular life and his principle teaching is that every part of our life offers an opportunity for us to try to please God.
It is in this way that we can build character through the virtues and remove ourselves from occasions of sin, rather placing ourselves into occasions of Grace.
When we work, we can offer up our work for God and the Glory of God. When we eat, we can offer up our meal for God and the Glory of God. When we rest, we can offer up our rest for God and the Glory of God. In this way, there is opportunity for prayer through our actions in every part of our lives and our lives become submerged in the GOODNESS of GOD rather than separated from Him…
Saint Josemaría taught that prayer “is not a question of what you say or feel, but of love. And you love when you try hard to say something to the Lord, even though you might not actually say anything.” Really what we do is pray – not because we love it, but because GOD LOVES IT!
Saint Josemaría recognised that it takes great effort to please God – but it is the EFFORT – not merely the RESULT – which is pleasing to God. For of ourselves, we are nothing, but WITH GOD – FOR GOD – we are everything possible in the universe, because we commune with He who created it.
The other day, I read a most beautiful story about Saint Josemaría. When Saint Josemaría was working as a priest in Spain he would spend each morning in the confessional of the church. Every single morning, he would hear the front door of the church open, he would hear a clattering sound and then he would hear the front door of the church close. One morning, he decided to work out what was making the noise and so he waited at the door of the church to see what would happen. The door opened as it usually did, and the milkman came inside carrying his cans of milk which he placed on the floor beside him with a clatter. Saint Josemaría asked the milkman what he was doing, and the milkman replied, “Father, every morning I come up here, open the door … and say to Him, Jesus, here's John the milkman.”
“…here’s John the milkman.”
Saint John the Baptist, when told about the Messiah preaching in parts of Judea near to him replied, “He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:27). When faced with a diminishing of his own congregation as people flocked to Christ, Saint John the Baptist did not try to show his own glory and he did not try to prove his own worth. Saint John did not try to convince people to stay with him. He did not try to become better than Christ. He did not begrudge the rapidly growing following of Christ, who was after all his younger cousin. Instead, Saint John SENT HIS OWN APOSTLES TO CHRIST. He sent them to where it was better to be. For he understood, that everything is better with GOD…
“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he (Saint John the Baptist) said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.” (John 1:35-39).
When Saint Josemaría heard that milkman’s reply all those years ago, he spent the rest of his day repeating the aspiration, “Lord, here is this wretch, who doesn't know how to love You like John the milkman.”
And so now, with humble faith I also say, “Lord, here is this wretch, who doesn’t know how to love You like John the milkman.”
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.