Friday 27 January 2017

A Man Who Knew How to Forgive: Lessons from the Life of St. Josemaria Escriva - Francesc Faus

A Man Who Knew How to Forgive:
Lessons from the Life of St. Josemaria Escriva
Francesc Faus
Scepter Press
ISBN 9781594171536
eISBN 9781594171574

This book took me completely by surprise. I have read a lot about Saint Josemaría Escrivá over the last 15 years or so, but the depth of his mercy, and his ability to forgive and be cheerful in almost all circumstances is incredible. I really believe that all people, especially Christians can improve in our practice of forgiveness. And in this book we have an incredible example, actually many examples from a man that lived through far more than most of us will ever experience.

This book draws examples from Saint Josemaría Escrivá's life and ministry but breaks them down chronologically, before the Spanish civil war, during the war and after the war. The specific sections in this book are:
Part I: Forgiving Amid A Climate Of Hatred

A Young And Poor Student
Darkening Clouds
A Heart In Love With Freedom
Reconciliation Through Soccer
Climbing The Hill Of Forgiveness
Prejudice And Class Hatred
The Construction Worker Covered With Lime
Black Spain!
A Cockroach!
Mud On His Head
Festering Hatred
Where Did This Forgiveness Come From?
A Wager By His Students
The Wounded Gypsy
The Brothel Owner's Brother
The Strength With Which To Go Forward

Part 2: Forgiveness In Times Of War
The Conflict Breaks Out
Pursued Like A Criminal
The Refugees
Living Space
Family Life
A Noticeable Absence
The Fugitive
Murdered Friends
The Periscope And The Laugh
A Story Of Resentment
Forgiveness In Less Dramatic Situations: Patience

Part 3: Forgiveness In Peacetime
"Friendly Fire"
The Circumstances Of The Time
Where Were The Attacks Coming From?
In Barcelona: "A New Storm"
Some Events And Their Repercussions
Pray, Be Silent, Forgive, Work, And Smile
Consolation In Tribulation
The Shock Wave Reaches Rome
Where Freedom Is Not Loved
A Man Who Knew How To Apologize

Appendix I
On The Life And Message Of St. Josemaría Escrivá
Appendix II
Excerpts From Pope John Paul Ii At The Canonization Of St. Josemaría

Saint Escrivá's ability to forgive brought me to tears a few times while reading this book. I am not sure in the same circumstances I could even ask God to help me forgive. Faus states "Awareness of being a sinner in need of forgiveness did not take away his peace or hope. He lived trustingly, because he abandoned himself to the mercy of God." And that is central to many of the stories in this book. His own awareness of the need for mercy and forgiveness allowed him to be so forgiving, and when needed to ask forgiveness of others.

The stories in this book are moving, they are personal and they are a great example to us as people of faith. Reading this book may bring to mind people you need to forgive or even people you need to ask forgiveness of. It will soften your heart, and once softened the Holy Spirit will be able to work and using the examples from Saint Escrivá's life guide you to live more love, more forgiveness, and to live a life of sanctity.

This book was an incredible read. I have already added it back into my reading list to reread it again in 6-8 months. I know I need the reminders of the examples in this book. And I think you would benefit from it also. It is well worth reading for all who hope to grow closer to god!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by St. Josemaria Escriva:
Christ Is Passing By
Conversations with Saint Josemaria
The Forge
Friends of God

Holy Rosary
In Love with the Church
The Way
The Way of the Cross

Books about St. Josemaria Escriva:
A Man Who Knew How to Forgive: Lessons from the Life of St. Josemaria Escriva - Francesc Faus

Josemaria Escriva - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky - CTS Biographies
Praying 15 Days with St. Josemaria Escriva - Guillaume Derville

Volumes in the St Josemaria Escriva's Collected Letters:
Letters 1: Singuli dies, 24 March 1930
Letters 2: Videns eos, 24 March 1931
The Burgos Letters (1938-1939): Three Circular Letters
Letters: Letter 3: Res omnes, 9 January 1932
Letter 4: Vos autem, 16 July 1933 : Letter 4: Vos autem, 16 July 1933 
Letter 5: Euntes ergo, 2 October 1939 
Letter 6: Sincerus est, 11 March 1940
Letter 7: Quem per annos, 24 October 1942 
Letter 8: Legitima hominum, 31 May 1943 

Other Posts:

Other Way of the Cross Reviews:
The Way of The Cross
The Way of The Cross II

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