"Saint" John Paul II praying over the mortal remains of Álvaro del Portillo (Escriba's right hand man), tended over the floor in Jewish fashion.

Work as means of “sanctification”


God, in all that is most living and incarnate in him, is not far away from us, altogether apart from the world we see, touch, hear, smell and taste about us. Rather he awaits us every instant in our action, in the work of the moment. There is a sense in which he is at the tip of my pen, my spade, my brush, my needle-of my heart and of my thought.” Teilhard de Chardin, Le Milieu Divin


In Opus Dei, work is the means towards attaining holiness; the earthly and the material constitute the base matter on which the adept of Escriba’s sect must work through his “sanctification”. The adept must therefore thoroughly immerse and impregnate himself with everything that is of the world if he is ever to achieve his desired end of “sanctity”. Matter and human action – “Work” – attain, supernatural, divine dimensions. Hence “Saint” John Paul II, in the apostolic brief for the “beatification” of Jose María Escriba y Albás, quoted from Escriba’s infamous landmark homily delivered at the University of Navarra on October 8, 1967 to highlight his supernatural vision of human activity, “Our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occurrences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them to the service of the Kingdom of God." It is a supernatural, divine, even arguably pantheistic vision of the world that is proclaimed (at least, implicitly so), so that John Paul II in the brief quotes Escriba exclaiming: “The divine paths of the world have opened up” (Christ is Passing By, 21). It is a thoroughly materialistic, carnal type of spirituality that as a practical matter relegates the saving power of divine grace to a secondary plane in favour a neo-Pelagian, anthropocentric type of soteriology where man sets himself up as a his own saviour (which incidentally, is one of the defining features of the teachings of the “Craft”, i.e. masonry). It should therefore come as no surprise that Berglar in his book Opus Dei speaks of work as the means of sanctification without even mentioning the important and indispensable role of divine grace: “The only condition (indispensable of course) so that work may be a sanctifying labour that itself sanctifies [the worker] is that it be an honest and decent work.” [1] Ana Sastre’s statement in Tiempo de Caminar further underscores the importance given by Opus Dei to work with its neo-Pelagian approach towards attaining salvation and holiness: “It [i.e. work] comprises not only the environment in which man lives, but the means and path of sanctity; a sanctifying reality that sanctifies.” [2]

The implicit consequence of such a materialistic view is that the secular world also attains a religious (spiritual) component (or that matter contains the spiritual in potency) which reflects the conflation between nature and grace that is one of the defining features of gnosticism [3]. If Escriba told his followers that they must in effect be “spiritualized” by the world, the pantheist heresiarch Chardin put it in similar but ostensibly opposite terms: for him, the Christian must set about to “spiritualize” the world. For Chardin, this spiritualization was not a matter, “of superimposing Christ on the world, but of ‘panchristising’ the universe”. [4] “If you follow this path”, Chardin told his correspondent, “you are led…to turning your perspectives upside down.” With this new perspective, no longer is evil considered a “punishment for a fault, but ‘sign and effect’ of progress” (!), while MATTER comes to be considered THE STUFF OF THE SPIRIT”. Escriba’s and Chardin’s views may appear confusingly contradictory but they are merely the two sides of the same gnostic coin that equally conflate nature and grace since for both of them the “physical” and the “spiritual” (and hence, in some way, grace) are inextricably linked. In fact, Escriba would occasionally speak in distinctly Teilhardian terms, such as his reference to “divinizing” “work” [5], or when he spoke directly of “spiritualizing” “matter” and the most common, vulgar situations in his homily from October 8, 1967. There, he reiterated that the world is the only path of sanctification: “There is no other path, my children: either we learn to find in our ordinary life the Lord, or we will never find him.” Hence, the secluded hermit or religious, strictly separated from the implicitly “divine” or “spiritual” world which surrounds him, forfeits access to this immanent source of holiness.

Escriba’s followers, thoroughly imbued with his Teilhardian vision that recognizes the spiritual in matter, speaks of work in terms strangely – or perhaps, not so surprisingly – reminiscent of terminology used in the alchemical-gnostic “work” – the magnum Opus or “Great Work”, whose stages gradually proceed through the purification of base matter, leading to its final and complete “spiritualization” and perfection. Hence, Salvador Bernal, one of the official hagiographers of the “Founder” states: “Work is therefore the base matter that must be sanctified, the instrument for the sanctification of others.” [6] It is therefore congruent to hear Escriba speak of a, “Christian materialism that is boldly opposed to those materialisms closed off to the spirit.” [7] While here he may appear to be firmly opposing “materialisms closed off to the spirit”, i.e. atheistic Marxism, the gnostic counter-part to his own “Christian materialism”, as usually happens with all things related to Opus Dei and the “Father”, mere appearances are deceptive: his “Work” will eventually find no compunction with cooperating with communists during the “Founder’s” very own lifetime in a remarkable and revealing case, as we will see in a later part of this study. It is probably not coincidentally that in a conference in Buenos Aires the “Father” stated that the ultimate goal for the followers of Opus Dei is the same as that of the magnum Opus, conversion of the base “matter” which one encounters in daily life into (metaphorical) “gold”, i.e. the full “spiritualization” and perfection of matter, which in the alchemical “Work” simultaneously represented the “divinization” or perfection of the adept himself: “We have to occupy ourselves with the things of the earth….You and I must touch everything…, but with everything…, one must emulate King Midas: convert it into gold.” [8] Escriba’s “Christian materialism” has another dimension: in its attempt to unite the human with the divine, it ultimately seeks happiness on earth as life’s goal, which in genuinely Calvinist fashion is the ultimate assurance of one’s election. Thus, in Forja, 1005, Escriba says: “I am increasingly persuaded of this: happiness in Heaven is for those who know how to be happy on earth.” As is often typical of Escriba’s warped “spirituality”, this materialistic view is the perfect opposite of the message delivered by Christ in the Gospel: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal.” (John 12:25).

This “spiritualization” or “perfection” of the world could also be viewed in terms of the Kabbalistic “work” of tikkun olam, the process of “repairing the world” or God’s ontologically flawed creation, consisting of a neo-Pelagian, naturalistic type of effort to bring back perfection both to the self and the world. In a homily given on March 2, 1952, Escriba appeared to allude to the Kabbalistic doctrine of tikkun olam: “ ‘Be imitators of God, as his dearly beloved children,’ [1 John 3:19] cooperating humbly but fervently in the divine purpose of mending what is broken, of saving what is lost, of bringing back order to what sinful man has put out of order, of leading to its goal what has gone astray, of re‑establishing the divine balance of all creation.” According to Kabbalistic doctrine, man is the perfecting agent in a cosmos disordered after the fall of Adam Kadmon, the pre-cosmic “Adam”. After the fall, man’s principal mission is to bring about a restoration or tikkun of this world. This is a process of naturalistic “redemption” that takes place in the world, and as a necessary consequence through the material, and thus through work. The spiritual element of work and its redemptive value, as in Opus Dei, is thus highlighted. Man is self-sufficient within himself and consequently divine grace is redundant in order to bring about this “redemption”; men of any belief or none can therefore join in this naturalistic path to bring back wholeness and peace to the world. The Manichaean “lifting of the sparks”/tikkun is a process that necessarily takes place in the materiality and corporeality of the world, because as the “Founder” himself stated, “we find that invisible God in the most visible and material things [of the world].” [9] The Work of God – Opus Dei – would thus comprise an elite cadre of Christians called to transform and complete an ontologically deficient world in the name of “Christ” and the Christianity which they usurp.

An article from the opusdei.org site that was later deleted [10] further demonstrates the affinities between Escriba’s “Work” and the Jewish gnostic tradition. An article from January 31, 2002 quotes Rabbi Angel Kreiman, international vice president of the World Council of Synagogues, from his address at a congress convened in Rome on “Josemaría Escrivá”. We feel the article is so illuminating that it deserves to be quoted at some length:

"The Talmudic concept of work, said Kreiman, is that ‘work is not a punishment, but man's duty, a blessing from God that allows us…to be in the image and likeness of God.’ Likewise, the rabbi noted, work was central to the teaching of Josemaria Escriva, who saw it as an original vocation of man and a blessing from God. According to Kreiman, ‘to meet God within ordinary occupations and serve others through one’s work is one of the principle non-violent battles to be won.’ The rabbi mentioned that in Hebrew ‘the word ‘work’ is also applied to religious worship, taking it to mean adoration as a holy action and in turn work as a holy adoration.’ Similarly, Blessed Escriva ‘never tired of repeating the necessity of transforming every occupation into prayer.’ ‘Many of Josemaria Escriva's concepts call to mind the Talmudic tradition and reveal his profound knowledge of the Jewish world, as well as his passionate love, as he openly repeated, for two Jews, Jesus and Mary,’ said Rabbi Kreiman. Moreover, that which most likens his teachings to Judaism is the vocation of man to serve God through creative work, perfecting creation every day, through perfection of work."

We have briefly sketched some key similarities between Escriba’s and Chardin’s conflation of nature and grace, that is, of the material (or the world and the activity which takes place therein) with the supernatural. It turns out that, upon a deeper investigation for whether Chardin may have influenced Escriba, we found out that the “program” of salvation offered by Opus Dei was already outlined by Teilhard de Chardin in 1927 in one of his most significant works, Le Milieu Divin, “The Divine Milieu”, written between 1926 and 1927 in which he seeks to offer a way for the Christian to “divinize” the ordinary actions of everyday secular life. Included most prominently in this outline is a call for everyday work to be turned into something akin to a divine prayer and means of sanctification for the worker (which as we have seen, has its roots in the Jewish Talmudic tradition). Once Chardin’s lay spirituality is investigated at greater length, we cannot see any difference in its most significant points between the vision offered by Chardin for the “sanctification” of the ordinary things in life, most particularly work, in Le Milieu Divin, and the purportedly “new” teaching offered by Escriba in his Work. Chardin attempted to publish the work in 1927, but being a heretical work publication was obviously denied by the ecclesiastical censors. One year later, Escriba would experience the “mystical” event that would inspire him to found Opus Dei, and we are not inclined to believe that the closeness of the two dates is a mere coincidence. In fact, we believe there is a very strong likelihood that Escriba quite simply plagiarized the defining spirituality of his Work from Chardin’s radical materialist vision described in Le Milieu Divin. It is not difficult to conceive that he may have obtained a copy of this work then possibly being distributed through underground networks (we know that as far back as Angelo Roncalli’s student days that subversive works were freely distributed around the seminary by their promoters). Otherwise, if we assume a masonic affiliation for Escriba, he may have had access to the work through the lodges as early as 1927 or 1928. At least, we know from Yves Marsaudon, the 33rd degree Scottish Rite Freemason, author of Ecumenism viewed by a Freemason of Tradition, that the works of Chardin were among the most popular in the masonic lodges. At the very least, if we assume that by 1928 Escriba was unaware of Chardin’s views expressed in Le Milieu Divin, the utterly remarkable closeness between the pseudo-Christian materialist “spirituality” offered in Le Milieu Divine with that of  Opus Dei necessarily means such a modernist mind-set was rampant and flourishing throughout a significant segment of the clergy, so that in no way can it be said that Escriba was the “originator” for this secular spirituality; he was merely the one who brought it by far most successfully to the entire Catholic world. Moreover, it is impossible to believe that such an intellectually mediocre mind as Escriba’s could have come up with anything “new”, and therefore whatever he did come up with must necessarily have originated from ideas already in existence.

In a letter from 14 November 1926, Chardin describes to his correspondent his upcoming writing project which would culminate in his work, Le Milieu Divin, “…I am about to write, in as simple a manner as possible…, my religious point of view, not outlined systematically, but in its practical attitude. Its title is The Divine Milieu, and I try to demonstrate how Christianity can and must fill human life with God, without dehumanizing it…” [11] Quite appropriately given the “Christian” materialistic outlook of Le Milieu Divin, the book’s dedication is, “For those who love the world”, a category of men which would of course also include someone like the secular leaning and anti-clerical Escriba y Albás. Let us analyze more closely the key section in this work found in Part I, aptly titled, “The Divinization of our Activities” and we will see its unmistakable similarity, and we would argue, even identity, with the spirituality of the Work.

Early on in Section 5 (“The Christian Perfection of Human Endeavour”), Chardin starts by outlining the basic idea of sanctification through work in words that could easily have been used by the “Founder” himself: “…God does not deflect our gaze prematurely from the work he himself has given us, since he presents himself to us as attainable through that very work…” Much like Escriba, Chardin wanted to underscore this fundamental “truth” for achieving sanctity in the clearest and most unequivocal manner possible, and he therefore continues as follows: “We ought to accustom ourselves to this basic truth till we are steeped in it, until it becomes as familiar to us as the perception of shape or the reading of words.” God is immanent in the world in a pantheistic sense – indeed he is incarnate in the world –  and thus all of our actions bring us in direct contact with him. He therefore meets us in all of our activity, in all of our work, so that man’s work and God’s presence could be considered one and the same: “God, in all that is most living and incarnate in him, is not far away from us, altogether apart from the world we see, touch, hear, smell and taste about us. Rather he awaits us every instant in our action, in the work of the moment. There is a sense in which he is at the tip of my pen, my spade, my brush, my needle-of my heart and of my thought.” (The Divine Milieu – An Essay on the Interior Life, Teilhard de Chardin, Harper & Row New York, p 64) The divine power animating man’s actions thus necessarily, “make man's endeavour holy”. (Ibid., p 65) Like the Talmudic conflation of work and prayer, the activity and work of man is thus turned into an ontologically holy action; it is divine because God’s presence necessarily animates it.

In the sub-section which follows, appropriately titled, “The sanctification of human endeavour”, Chardin starts by outlining the problem purportedly faced by the ordinary Christian who views work as an impediment to the spiritual life, after which he goes on to offer the remedy based on his pantheistic-gnostic principles which we believe is crucial for properly grasping the heretical scope of Chardin’s and Escriba’s “theology of work”: “I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that nine out of ten practising Christians feel that man's work is always at the level of a 'spiritual encumbrance'….Then it is impossible, too, to aim at the deep religious life reserved for those who have the leisure to pray or preach all day long.” (Ibid., p 65) Next, he outlines the ontological basis for the thesis of sanctification by work or the ordinary actions of life from a kind of pseudo-Christian materialism with roots on a pantheistic ontology: “To repeat: by virtue of the Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see [italics in original]. On the contrary, everything is sacred to the men who can distinguish that portion of chosen being which is subject to Christ's drawing power in the process of consummation.” (Ibid., p 66) According to this pantheistic thesis, through the creation of the universe God quite literally became “incarnate” in all of matter, whether living or inanimate. All of creation therefore attains an ontologically sacred value; accordingly, and following the gnostic paradigm, nature and grace, the profane and the sacred are all utterly conflated. We here briefly note the passage from Gaudium et Spes no. 22 ceaselessly repeated by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II to justify his teaching of universal salvation, which only properly attains its significance if understood through the same gnostic-pantheistic perspective which undergirds Chardin’s idea of the divinization of matter through Creation and, more particularly, the Incarnation: “For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man.”

The efforts of our labour, thus divinized, can work towards the attainment of the Kingdom of Heaven, which accordingly attains immanent, rather than eschatological dimensions. “God’s” Kingdom is right here on earth, contrary to Christ’s well known reply to Pilate described in St John’s Gospel that his Kingdom was not of this earth. With this new immanent perspective in mind, it is in fact in the midst of the Augustinian Earthly City where modern man now seeks to be imbued with “God’s” presence and thereby be sanctified: “Try, with God's help, to perceive the connection-even physical and natural-which binds your labour with the building of the kingdom of heaven; try to realise that heaven itself smiles upon you and, through your works, draws you to itself; then, as you leave church for the noisy streets, you will remain with only one feeling, that of continuing to immerse yourself in God.” (Ibid., p 66) The next passage seems like a programmatic description of the lay spirituality of Opus Dei which could equally have been uttered in similar terms by the “Founder” himself for apologetic purposes: “Why should there not be men vowed to the task of exemplifying, by their lives, the general sanctification of human endeavour? – men whose common religious ideal would be to give a full and conscious explanation of the divine possibilities or demands which any worldly occupation implies – men, in a word, who would devote themselves, in the fields of thought, art, industry, commerce and politics, etc., to carrying out in the sublime spirit these demands…?” (Ibid., p. 67) Man is now to prostrate himself in wonder and awe before a world that is the embodiment of the sacred, in terms of its matter, or the work and all human efforts carried out therein, which now elevated to divine status is ultimately to be worshipped, rather than the transcendent God: “Right from the hands that knead the dough, to those that consecrate it, the great and universal Host should be prepared and handled in a spirit of adoration.” (Ibid., p 67) Chardin ends this section with a statement expressing his Utopian hopes for humanity: when men finally are awakened to the reality of the divine presence permeating the universe (God’s “Incarnation”), that is, to “the close bond linking all the movements of this world in the single, all-embracing work of the Incarnation”; then finally, the Heavenly and Earthly Cities will undergo their full reconciliation and the citizens of God’s City will fully embrace their “humanity” as members of the Earthly City which is also their rightful inheritance: “When that comes to pass, there will be little to separate life in the cloister from the life of the world. And only then will the action of the children of heaven (at the same time as the action of the children of the world) have attained the intended plenitude of its humanity.” (Ibid., p 67) This last statement is fully in accordance with the “Founder’s” insistence that the priests of the Work should consider themselves as fully present within the world while adopting a fully lay mentality, thus conflating or entirely blurring the distinction between the religious and lay states.

Like all heretics, Escriba twists and distorts Sacred scripture to accommodate it to his own distorted theology. The particular passage which Escriba uses as the “key” to demonstrate the all-importance of work as a means of sanctification is Genesis 2:15, where man is placed by God, “into the paradise of pleasure, to dress [ut operaretur, i.e. cultivate] it, and to keep it.” Escriba distorts this passage to mean that man was placed in the Garden of Eden quite simply to work, as if that was somehow his ultimate supernatural end or raison d'être. The catechism has always taught, on the other hand, that God did not create “man in order to work” as Escriba maintained but “to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and thus to obtain happiness in heaven”. Escriba’s glorification of work as an end in itself for which man was created can also be sharply contrasted with St Ignatius of Loyola’s statement that: “Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.” Nowhere is the word “work” or its derivatives found in the Ignatian anthropological conception of man’s end.

The view of man whose essential function or mission in life is that of work is typically Protestant, and perhaps most particularly, finds a strong precedent in the Calvinist tradition. It is a conception that primarily views life and man from a purely immanent, horizontal plane, where the “vertical” component is left increasingly to the subjective sphere, and driven to its ultimate conclusion, ultimately derives in socialism or Marxism. The Catholic tradition, on the other hand, rather holds the position that while work can have a redemptive value in so far as it can fulfill a penitential function, it has in any case never erected work as an absolute value necessary for salvation, as Opus Dei does. The weak, the infirm, and the disabled unable to work but nevertheless able to offer their sufferings as a sacrifice in reparation for the sins of the world to the Most High are thus bereft of any effective means of sanctification according to the warped spirituality of the Work. Ironically, the “universal call to holiness” preached by Opus Dei turns out to be restricted to a certain segment of humanity: we see that, in reality, the ability to attain “holiness” depends on the utilitarian value that can be extracted from man’s work. Accordingly, acceptance as a “numerary” – the highest echelon in the three tiered structure within the Work – is dependent on passing a rigorous medical examination, since a potential future member with serious (or not so serious) underlying health problems poses little utilitarian value. While Escriba and Chardin praised work on its own as a means of sanctification, there was little to no reference to the necessity of charity in their theology. That is, as Dom Georges Frenaud states in his study of Chardin’s theology, citing 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 in support of his assertion: “…it is certain that any natural human action merits eternal salvation only in so far as it is governed and motivated by Charity.”

It was Luther who first severed the necessary link between faith and charity for salvation – he was absolutely emphatic about the fact that charity was superfluous for salvation: it was rather the anthropocentric fact of the assertion of “faith” that granted salvation. In Escriba, “faith” in the “Word” is substituted for “faith” in “work”, carried out for its own sake, while tending to place to one side the love of God to which it must be oriented. We also note that the negation of charity as necessary for salvation is also an absolutely paradigmatic feature of gnosis in any form. Ironically, Opus Dei itself has no problem with being classified as a religious movement with Protestant antecedents. In fact, professor Martin Rhonheimer in his book Transformación del mundo – La Actualidad del Opus Dei, “The Transformation of the World – The Present State of Opus Dei” (published by Rialp, the Work’s official publishing house!) argues that both Lutheranism and Calvinism rediscovered the religious value of the “ordinary” state of life, and that the Protestant “reformers” were the first to rediscover ordinary life and work as a Christian vocation. Wishing to conflate the supernatural, divine calling, with ordinary life, Luther went as far as changing “calling” or “vocation” [klésis] in his rendition of 1 Corinthians 7:20 (“Let every man abide in the same calling [i.e. vocation] in which he was called.”) for “profession”, in the sense of trade or professional work, and therefore concluded that it was not necessary to adopt the religious state or make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in order to attain perfection (here again we see a heretic changing Scripture to conform to an unorthodox understanding of work!). Having noted the Protestant conflation between the divine, supernatural calling, and the ordinary “condition” of life expressed in everyday, ordinary work, is it not apparent that there is a similitude here with the standard mind-set of the average Conciliar priest who views his life not as being fundamentally defined by a supernatural vocation but by the regular terms of any “ordinary” profession, including the priests of Opus Dei with their “lay mentality”?

Luther spoke of salvation through faith, by “grasping” or “seizing” the Word, which for him (as expressed in his theologia crucis) was eminently expressed in the form of the “Crucified God”. For Luther, the “revealed God” is this “Crucified God”, but in esoteric terminology this actually represents the “death” or radical emptying (kenosis) of God as he is “incarnated” into the matter of the universe (e.g. as expressed in Chardin’s essay Mon Univers), a kenosis or “death” of the transcendent that culminates in the Incarnation, where God’s a priori “incarnation” with the human race was materially, visibly expressed. Put another way, the “Crucified God” is a gnostic metaphor for the tragic Theogony of the gnostics, since in gnostic terms, God is viewed not as Being but as dynamic becoming who evolves together with the travails of the universe and man as they move towards “unity” and rise towards their spiritualization, so that God is conflated with the world and its processes. Therefore, the “salvation” that such “faith” offers is world centered: the believer must cling in “faith” to this world that is an image of the “Crucified God”, and such an act of “faith” would therefore involve an ever increasing sense of love for anything related to the material in the world, which from a gnostic perspective is the visible incarnation of Christ himself: labour, human effort and achievements, progress, and so on. This is the “Christian materialism” which Escriba proclaimed himself to be following. Furthermore, Luther rejects the deus absconditus, the “hidden” transcendent, immaterial God, whom he loathes and despises. Luther’s notion of “faith” in the “Word” ultimately reduces down to a “faith” in the revealed “material” “God”, that is, the “Crucified God”, who, as we have seen, is a gnostic metaphor for the ontological presence of God in the innermost being of all Creation. Drawn to its ultimate conclusion (and not all Protestants, logically, do reach this point of intellectual progression), therefore, the stuff of the cosmos where “God” is impenetrably hidden is the ultimate “object” of worship for the Lutheran. Hence, “faith” is ultimately “faith in the world” – where “God” himself is “incarnate” – and its processes. This is the pantheistic “divine Host” of the World loved passionately by Escriba and before whom Chardin calls Christians and all believers of any religion to kneel in worship and adoration. Now, “divinization” and “sanctification” means engaging and becoming ever more closely united through work and worldly activity with the source of divinity, which is the world itself.

It was Luther who set the theological basis for Nietzsche’s final proclamation that “God is dead” thus initiating a long centuries long process passing prominently through Hegel. With “God” dead in the post-modern world, it only remains for the universe and Man himself as the pinnacle of creation to be worshipped, as set forth in Gaudium et Spes 12: “According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.” The abbé Emmanuel Barbier, writing in 1910, had this to say in L’Infiltration Maçonniques dans l’Église with regards to the gnostic understanding of the “Word” and “incarnation” which confirms everything we have said here: “…the Word, the Divinity has manifested, incarnated itself. Creation is the flesh of the Word, it resides within all creatures; all men are therefore gods in the sense that all men participate in the Divinity to a certain extent. God lives in all men with a real moral presence. The Word is equally present in all rational beings, only the degree of this presence varies, while in Christ the measure of this presence was perfect.”  (p. 202) I would argue that it is in this gnostic sense that the Work’s and Vatican II’s UNIVERSAL call to holiness must be understood if it is to be understood at all (for there is nothing inherently new in the Church’s universal call to fallen humanity towards holiness with the aid of Christ’s grace and as members of his only Church): this is rather a call for the “universal” man – that is, regardless of whatever his beliefs may be – to strip away those outer layers of imperfection that stain his “human dignity” via a naturalistic “theology of work” which drives him to immerse himself in the world’s divine nature, thus leading man towards the “perfection” that will ultimately reveal his innate but latent divinity. That is, the likeness of God which in traditional Catholic theology was lost due to original sin (while God’s image was wounded or disfigured), remains fully present but is merely “veiled” over by the stain of sin in the new Conciliar theology as expressed by John Paul II. According to the new heretical view, therefore, it is ultimately man that can and does perfect and redeem both the world and himself. This is the divine “Work” of perfection and divinization derived from the gnostic-Kabbalistic tradition expressed in the “alchemical” opus of divinization of matter or in gnostic-Talmudic principles such as tikkun olam, the Manichaean “lifting” of the “divine sparks”, culminating in the Teilhardian “Omega” point and the full unity from plurality of the universe.


1.     Opus Dei, Peter Berglar, Rialp, p. 320.

2.     Tiempo de Caminar, Ana Sastre, Rialp, p. 95.

3.     As it pertains to the gnostic theology of Teilhard de Chardin, this has been described by Dom Georges Frenaud in Pensée Philosophique et Religieuse du Pere Teilhard de Chardin, and more generally by Fr Julio Meinvielle in De la Cábala al Progresismo as an essential feature of progressivist gnosis

4.     Letters to Léontine Zanta, p 114.

5.     Si no tuvierais vida interior, al dedicaros a vuestro trabajo, en lugar de divinizarlo, os podría suceder lo que sucede al hierro, cuando está rojo y se mete en el agua fría: se destempla y se apaga…etc” San Josemaría, Carta 15-X-1948, n. 20, en E. Burkhart, J. López, Vida cotidiana y santidad en la enseñanza de San Josemaría, III, Rialp, Madrid 2013, p. 210.

6.     Mons. Escrivá de Balaguer, Salvador Bernal, Rialp, p. 141.

7.     Ibid., p 141.

8.     SALVADOR BERNAL, Monseñor Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. Apuntes sobre la vida del Fundador del Opus Dei; Rialp, Madrid 1980, 6ª ed., p. 306.

9.     Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer – Apuntes Sobre la Vida del Fundador del Opus Dei, Chapter 3: “La Fundación del Opus Dei”, Section 3. La Santificacíón del Trabajo, Rialp, Salvador Bernal.

10.  Deleted article from opusdei.org site recovered via archive.org: https://web.archive.org/web/20210226074657/http://web.archive.org/web/20020213091115/www.opusdei.org/art.php?p=3007

11.  La Filosofía de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Alfonso Pérez de Laborda, Ediciones Encuentro, p 2001, p 157.