Something I am guilty of is talking more about reading books than actually picking one up and reading it. This temptation is especially present with June just around the corner and talk of “summer reading lists” starts popping up. A mixture of fun-to-read mystery novels, a toe-dip into recent publications, and some classics that were started, but never finished find their place on my summer reading list. Now I just have to put my library card where my mouth is.
However, there is one read I’m currently working through that doesn’t have me sweating a deadline. I hope to read it throughout this summer and even beyond into the fall, winter and next spring. Shoot, add it to my summer reading list for 2017! What I’m currently reading is The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva.
St. Josemaria Escriva is the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Dei is Latin for “Work of God” and that is the central philosophy behind Opus Dei. Its mission is to take what Catholics are already doing–working, starting families, being in the world–and sanctify it, turning it into the work of God. St. Josemaria claims “Human life – your life – and its humdrum, ordinary business, have a meaning which is divine, which belongs to eternity” (Opus Dei).
The Way is a collection of St. Josemaria’s reflections on work and life. Presented in short sentences or paragraphs, each reflection offers some encouragement or guidance on several different topics including character, formation, the holy mass, and inner struggle. It is available as a book and also online here.
I anticipate (and hope) to be reading this book for a long time because it’s a perfect daily reflection or reminder of my duty in the world. I try not to blaze through the entire book in one go and instead take one bit at a time each day. There are literally hundreds of reflections in this book and it’s small enough to conveniently fit in most pockets or purses. It’s sure to be a great summer companion.
The reflections themselves seem less like meditative prayers and more like daily battle cries. Like an arrow plunging into the center of a target, St. Josemaria’s words fly straight and aim true. They speak directly to the everyday man and woman who live in a secular world and come against daily obstacles. One reflection relates:
Detachment. How hard it is! Oh, to be fastened by nothing but three nails and to have no more feeling in my flesh than the Cross (The Way, 151).
A powerful, straightforward reflection. A simple word– “Detachment”–” to carry throughout the day. A true image– “three nails… the Cross”–to bring to each task. Its simplicity helps me let go of unnecessary thoughts and refocus on my target–eternity.
I am excited and interested in reading more about how my daily life, the mundane actions I participate in, are actually heroic because I am made for something great. I would highly recommend adding The Way to your
summer life reading list.
To learn more about Opus Dei, check out their website here.