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3 Holy habits recommended by the founder of Opus Dei


Oficina de información del Opus Dei

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 06/25/23

These habits are beneficial for any Christian and can add a joyful structure of prayer and love for God to your daily life.

There are many lay movements in the Catholic Church, organizations within the broader family of God dedicated to specific spiritualities and evangelizing missions.

One such widespread organization is Opus Dei, the only personal prelature of the Church. 

Members of Opus Dei celebrate the feast day of their founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, on June 26. St. Josemaria led a fascinating life that’s well worth reading about (among other things, he nearly died as a child, and had to flee Madrid during the Spanish Civil War). 

He wrote numerous books sharing his spiritual insights, and his most lasting contribution was founding Opus Dei: “Opus Dei’s mission is to spread the Christian message that every person is called to holiness and that every honest work can be sanctified.”

In honor of his feast day, here are 3 holy habits St. Josemaria encouraged all Catholics to follow.

1Make a morning offering of your day to God

Starting the day with prayer was a frequent recommendation of his:

Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish. (The Way, 191)

He called this quick rise from bed followed by prayer “the heroic minute.”

There are many Morning Offering prayers you may choose to use. Here is a traditional one: 

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, sufferings of this day, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart; the salvation of souls, the reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians; I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all members of the Apostleship of Prayer, and in particular for the intention recommended by the Holy Father this month.

2Pray the Angelus at noon

St. Josemaria had a great love for Our Lady and always encouraged devotion to her. He wrote:

When we do this we discover the meaning of the Marian prayers, which the Church has always used, as if we were saying them for the very first time. What are the Hail Mary and the Angelus if not loving praises of her divine Motherhood? And when we say the Holy Rosary, which is a wonderful devotion which I will never tire of recommending to Christians everywhere, our minds and hearts go over the mysteries of Mary’s admirable life which are, at the same time, the fundamental mysteries of our faith. (Friends of God, 290)

Praying the Angelus at noon is a very old Catholic tradition. Here is the wording of the prayer:

The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace …

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

Be it done unto me according to your word.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

And the Word was made flesh.

And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace …

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Pour forth we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts: that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

3Examine your conscience at night

Examining your conscience every evening is another Catholic tradition that St. Josemaria strongly encouraged in his writings. He wrote,

Examination of conscience. A daily task. Bookkeeping — never neglected by anyone in business. And is there any business worth more than that of eternal life? (The Way, 235)

There are various ways to do this, and you can read more about them here. The traditional format is to thank God for his blessings of the day, express contrition for any wrongdoing, and ask God for his help to improve and grow in holiness. 

Besides these three habits, members of Opus Dei are encouraged to do daily reading of spiritual books and the Bible, pray the Rosary daily, go to daily Mass, and spend about 15 minutes each day in “mental prayer” (or contemplative/meditative prayer). 

Whether you’ve heard of St. Josemaria before or not, these habits can be beneficial for any Christian. Hopefully they can add a joyful structure of prayer and love for God to your daily life.

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