Story of two geniuses

Transforming Faith: The Silent Influence

José Luis Olaizola, a great novelist, with more than twenty titles and countless readers, Planeta Prize winner, who tells his story. It is this:

“I was the youngest of nine siblings. Bibiano was one of the middle ones. My mother died when I was one year old and the family was somewhat disorganized, and we were not very religious, to say the least. For example, my father did not attend my First Communion”.

Bibiano had to participate in three wars and lost all three. When he turned eighteen, there was a civil war in Spain, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, and he had to be part of a communist battalion, which was defeated by other soldiers from the same red side. Then the red side was defeated by Franco’s armies, the second war that he lost, and he had no choice but to go to Russia, forming part of a so-called Blue Division, to fight with the Germans against the Russians, and it was the third war that lost. But the latter had serious consequences: he was assigned one night to strike against a machine gun nest, on Lake Ilme, in a winter of 20 degrees below zero, and a grenade destroyed his leg. He realized that he was going to die and decided to pray to My Lord Jesus Christ, but he did not know it. He had not prayed it since he left school. Not only that, but he tried it with the sinful Self, with the same result: he didn’t know it. Likewise, he thought that he was going to die like a dog, and he preferred it to happen as soon as possible, so he asked the comrades who came to his aid to shoot him. He couldn’t bear the pain of the wounds.

Fortunately, they did not listen to him, they amputated one of his legs, he returned to Spain, became a doctor, and shortly after he learned about Opus Dei, that unbeliever requested admission as a supernumerary, and began to sanctify his life. My brother Bibiano became deputy director of one of the main hospitals in Spain, he saved the lives of hundreds of people, some not only physically, but spiritually.

And he began to worry about me, who was quite confused, and with a painful past. I had been a terrible student, dedicated to sports, and thanks to a woman who crossed my path, Marisa, I married her, managed to finish law school and start making a living as a lawyer.

Bibiano introduced me to Eugenio Jiménez, an industrial engineer, who with enormous patience managed to turn my life around. It took him more than two years. He told me about Opus Dei, which at first sounded Chinese to me. Then it seemed like an interesting thing to me, but it had little to do with me. Holiness seemed very good to me, but for others. He bothered me to go to retreats, from which I came out a little better, but with a temporary improvement. I found out that one of them, who had joined the University Militias with me, told Eugenio, which was obvious: “Don’t bother, José Luis Olaizola doesn’t understand anything.”

Eugenio did not pay attention to such a prudent warning, he continued to insist, and he managed to make me understand something until the vocation to Opus Dei, as a supernumerary, was awakened in me, in which I have persevered for more than fifty years.

I, who moved in the world of law, surrounded by good speakers, do not remember Eugenio as one, rather he expressed himself slowly, but with such a dose of patience that he made up for any other deficiency. Furthermore, he had an admirable virtue: the tenacity to do good. Thanks to Eugenio’s tenacity I became part of the Work, and my wife, my sister, a niece followed me as numerary, two of the interns from my law firm, and a good number of my friends, and still many more friends of my wife.

In the last years of his life, suffering from Alzheimer’s, Eugenio lived them with his mind lost, perhaps he did not even remember God, but God always remembered him and the enormous good he did during his life. How many, like me, have benefited from the undoubted holiness of Eugenio Jiménez?

It is difficult to forget that young industrial engineer, who believed in me, who showed very few signs of understanding anything.