Latin Proverbs, Mottoes, Phrases, and Words: Group O

(classical-language maxims, slogans, adages, proverbs, and words of wisdom that can still capture our modern imagination)

Expressions of general truths: Latin to English maxims, proverbs, and mottoes

Word entries are from Latin unless otherwise indicated.

Opes regum sont corda subditorum.
The treasures of kings are the hearts of their subjects.

Motto of German Emperor Leopold II (1790-1792).

Optimum est aliena insania frui. (Latin motto)
Translation: "From the fervor of others take all possible advantage."

Motto of Emperor King Charles IV of Luxembourg (1347-1378). Shortly after his election, Germany was stricken by the plague, the "Black Death". Incited by religious fanatics, the superstitious people made the Jewish minority responsible for the outbreak of the epidemic and persecution of the Jews and public acts of contrition, including self-flagellation, were undertaken to ward off the plague.

During his reign Charles founded the first university in the Empire (1348). He issued the "Golden Bull" confirming the right to the seven prince-electors to choose all future emperors. The Golden Bull further ruled that all German emperors were to be elected in Frankfurt.

—Compiled from information located in
Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 10; 1968; page 294.
Opus Dei
Work of God, a Roman Catholic lay order, particularly influential in Spain, also known as the “Societas Sacerdotalis Sanctae Crucis.” The order was founded in 1928 by a wealthy lawyer turned priest, José María Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás, who objected to the liberal atmosphere at the University of Madrid, Spain.

Historical background

Receiving increased support from the Vatican since the late 1970s, the organization has grown to more than 80,000 members in more than 80 countries. In 1950 the Vatican recognized it as a secular institute; in 1982 it was given the status of “personal prelature.” Its membership is now, therefore, considered a separate diocese with its own bishop.

Believing that a Catholic can lead a holy life without taking religious vows, lay members pledge to serve God in worldly vocations; roughly a third of the members live communally and celibately in Opus Dei centers. The movement seeks to promote traditional Catholic values and teaching and to oppose liberalism and immorality, and is noted for its emphasis on preaching to government officials, professionals, intellectuals, and business executives.

Opus Dei has been controversial among some Catholics because of its secretive nature, its emphasis on discipline, its conservatism and wealth, and its historical association with the Franco regime in Spain. This controversy became pronounced in 1992 when the Vatican, under John Paul II, beatified Escrivá; Escrivá was canonized in 2002.

Opus Dei is considered the most controversial group in the Catholic Church today!

The faithful of the prelature carry out their individual task of evangelization in the various sectors of society in which they live and work. Their apostolic work is not limited to specific fields such as education, care for the sick, or other forms of direct social aid. The prelature seeks to remind people that all Christians, whatever their background or situation, must cooperate in solving the problems of society in a Christian way, and bear constant witness to their faith.

To its members it is nothing less than The Work of God, the inspiration of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, who advanced the work of Christ by promoting the sanctity of everyday life. To its critics it is a powerful, even dangerous, cult-like organization that uses secrecy and manipulation to advance its agenda. At the same time, many Catholics admit knowing little about this influential group. Moreover, because of the dichotomy of views on the group, and perhaps because of its influence in Vatican circles, it is difficult to find balanced reporting on Opus Dei.

Does Opus Dei advocate "corporal mortification" or "self-punishment"?

In modern times, mortification is associated with some Catholic and Eastern Orthodox monks, but Opus Dei advocates it for lay members in everyday life. An Opus Dei priest in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), The Rev. Michael Giesler, describes two methods of mortification: 1. The cilice, a sharp chain worn around the leg. 2. The "discipline" or flagellum, a small whip of knotted cords applied to one's back.

Opus opificem probat.
The work proves the crafts person.

This maxim applies to anything which people accomplish in any field that counts, not just the glorified appellation we claim for our profession.

opus, op.
ora, os.

A medical term used in prescriptions.

Orando laborando.
By prayer and by labor.

Motto of Rugby School, U.K.

Ovem lupo committere.
To set a fox to keep the geese.

Don't get a fox to guard the geese [or chickens, ducks, etc.].

Pointing to a page about a kleptomaniac Units of mottoes and proverbs listed by groups: A to X.