Sunday 16 June 2019

Praying 15 Days with St. Josemaria Escriva - Guillaume Derville

Praying 15 Days with St. Josemaria Escriva
Guillaume Derville
James Socias (Translator)
Midwest Theological Forum
ISBN 9781890177744
eISBN 9781939231895

Sometimes I really struggle with getting around to reading physical books. This was not the first volume I bough and it sat on my bed side table until the eBook edition came out. I started the physical book a few times but kept missing days and then once the eBook came out, I devoured it on the planned schedule. It actually took me 16 days to read it. One for the biography of Saint Josemaria Escriva and the introduction. Then the 15 days of the meditations. There is an excellent bibliography at the end of the book with a list of the works by saint Josemaria Escriva and a list of books about him and Opus Dei. 

The meditations in this volume draw from all 9 of the works of Josemaria Escriva that are widely published. It also draws from books about Saint Josemaria and from the General Archives of the prelature. It also draws from four sources, Letters, Instructions, Meditations, and Personal Notes from Saint Escriva, which I have yet to encounter in English. Once I got going with this book, I found it hard to stick to the 15 days. I often wanted to keep going. But I keep to the 15 days schedule, and already have plans to reread the book again soon.  I highlighted several sections on my first read through this work. Some of the sections that impacted me most are:

“Mary’s Son will be a sign of contradiction, and her soul will be pierced by a sword (cf. Lk 2: 35). She stores up everything in her heart. Mary wants Jesus to be born in us, in our everyday work, in the performance of our civic, family, and social duties. Offer your day to the Lord, as a kind of flower alongside her, the most refined and most beautiful Mystical Rose, who rests in the heart of the mystery of the Three Persons.”

“Many people cling to whatever feeds their sense of importance. They think they are indispensable. They jealously hoard what they know, like chefs hoarding prize recipes. What can we do to help others grow? St. Josemaria said we must humbly form people who can replace us, giving them the benefit of our experience. In short, we must teach.”

“Here, too, joy and sorrow. “The way to our personal sanctification should daily lead us to the Cross. This way is not a sorrowful one, because Christ himself comes to our aid, and in his company there is no room for sadness. I like to repeat with my soul filled with joy, there is not a single day without a cross” (CP, 176). St. Josemaria wrote these words in his daily calendar on January 1, 1975, the year of his death, so that they would stand as a permanent challenge.”

“But he also wants to make it clear that he stands by the social customs of his time, and therefore you and I must make an effort to be detached from the goods and comforts of the world, but without doing anything that looks odd or peculiar.”

“Above all, sanctifying work means doing it just as well as possible, down to the very last detail, doing everything with all the professional expertise one can bring to bear on the task.”

I pray those few samples will spark your interest in this wonderful book. This is one of those life changing books! It is a book I will read often and recommend to friends and buy copies to give away. It is an excellent book that will nourish your spiritual life. But also challenge you to be more. A great read that I highly recommend. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 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

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
Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century - Mariano Fazio
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:

Books by Father Guillaume Derville available in English:
Praying 15 Days with St. Josemaria Escriva
Eucharistic Concelebration: From Symbol to Reality

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