I recently re-discovered St. Josemaria Escriva-a Saint that played a big role in my college years as I was really choosing and coming into the faith more fully. He was born in 1902 and died in 1975, and he was a priest in Spain for the majority of his life. He saw a lot of things in his life, and that’s clearly reflected in what and how he wrote.
I really love him because of his insistence on tradition, beauty, piety, and fervor. The way that he writes reminds me of how a father would speak to his son, or of how a little league coach might speak to his players. What he says is sometimes hard and sometimes gentle, but always profound.
Even before Vatican II, he was insistent on the universal call to holiness-that everyone, regardless of what they did in life, was called to live a life of sanctity and holiness. It was this that caused him to found Opus Dei-an organization of laymen and religious in the church, dedicated to sanctifying daily life, regardless of the details of that life.
He wrote a few books, among the most famous are The Way, Furrow, and The Forge, which I hope to review soon (a collected edition is pictured below). They are collections of about 1,000 short meditations that I took with me to prayer, adoration, and to reflect on before mass. They all focus on practical, concrete things from real human life. I’ve found them to be immensely helpful, as they speak to every part of the human condition-patience, prayer, purity, courage, study, mass, work, etc. They truly are wonderful to read through and chew on.
Random quote that I found helpful lately, from Furrow, 464:
“Look at the set of senseless reasons the enemy gives you for abandoning your prayer. ‘I have no time’-when you are continually wasting it. ‘This is not for me.’ ‘My heart is dry…’
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.”
It’s harsh and gentle, and reminds us about the importance of prayer. Especially as we enter into the final weeks of Lent, it’s good to remember that it’s not we who win over the Lord with fancy words and long soliloquies. It’s a heart that loves.
Thanks be to God for St. Josemaria-check out his works, and the video below of him doing a speaking session.
St Josemaria, pray for us.