Saturday 21 May 2022

Loving Christ Through St Josemaría Escrivá - Holly Melita Rodriguez

Loving Christ Through St Josemaría Escrivá
Holly Melita Rodriguez
ISBN 9798782289874

The author had indicated at the time of release of this book in December of 2021 that she was working on a digital edition. With my dual form of dyslexia I greatly prefer eBooks so I can change the font, font colour, and even page colour to make it easier to read. That digital version was delayed and still has not arrived. So I decided to read the book over Lent. The book is self-published it does not have any copyright information, nor does it have a table of contents, it would benefit from both. The author on social media admits to being on the spectrum. She has been discerning vocation and is starting a noviciate with the Carmelites in California. This volume was released I believe just prior to her acceptance. And She had travelled and is on her way there now. She had announced another volume her spiritual biography, or conversion story but I do not know a date or time for such a release. And her social media accounts have been disabled. But back to this volume. The description of this book is:

“Embark on a forty day journey through the desert with Christ and this book as your companion of reflections by St Josemaría Escrivá for each daily intention, along with prayers written by the Author, daily devotion to the Holy Rosary and contemplation on Sacred Scripture. As you journey through each daily exercise in prayer and contemplation, you will also witness the life of The Father of Opus Dei through a photographic biography.

You will strengthen your prayer life, grow in your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and find daily exercises for common struggles. If you’re looking for a fruitful yet challenging way to grow in holiness and renew your faith, with the spiritual guidance and wisdom of St Josemaría Escrivá, then look no further...

This is a devotional prayer book and contains an option for readers to consecrate themselves to Jesus Christ through the spiritual guidance of one of the greatest Catholic Saint’s of the 20th century, Josemaría Escrivá.”

The chapters in the book are:

A Prayer before a Crucifix
Our Lady as Mediatrix
Day One: A Peaceful Heart.
Day Two: The Christian Family.
Day Three: Charity.
Day Four: The Way of The Cross.
Day Five: Dedication.
Day Six: Hope.
Day Seven: Sainthood.
Day Eight: Detachment.
Day Nine: Sincerity.
Day Ten: Generosity.
Day Eleven: Chastity and Modesty.
Day Twelve: Obedience.
Day Thirteen: Mortification.
Day Fourteen: Plan of Life.
Day Fifteen: Poverty.
Day Sixteen: Fidelity.
Day Seventeen: Rest & Recovery.
Day Eighteen: Free Will.
Day Nineteen: Simplicity.
Day Twenty: Providence.
Day Twenty-One: Natural Law.
Day Twenty-Two: Maturity.
Day Twenty-Three: The Holy Rosary.
Day Twenty-Four: Conscience.
Day Twenty-Five: Prudence.
Day Twenty-Six: False Pride.
Day Twenty-Seven: Discipleship.
Day Twenty-Eight: Vocation.
Day Twenty-Nine: Ecumenism.
Day Thirty: The Magisterium.
Day Thirty-One: The Holy Eucharist.
Day Thirty-Two: Confession.
Day Thirty-Three: Divine Worship.
Day Thirty-Four: Divine Filiation.
Day Thirty-Five: Priesthood.
Day Thirty-Six: Redemption.
Day Thirty-Seven: Instruments of God.
Day Thirty-Eight: Unity.
Day Thirty-Nine: Reparation.
Day Forty: Jesus Christ.
Preparation for Consecration
Consecration to Saint Josemaría Escrivá

The introduction begins with these words:

“I wrote this book over the course of forty days from Christmas until Candlemas during the year 2020. The writings within these pages are from my personal diary as I journeyed for forty days in the desert with Our Lord, Jesus Christ in prayer and contemplation. Within these pages you will find reflections by St Josemaría Escrivá for each daily intention, along with prayers I’ve written and sacred scripture to contemplate on. Each day is devoted to Our lady through the Holy Rosary, as a way to grow closer to Christ through the guidance of St Josemaría Escrivá. I hope that you will find spiritual growth and a strengthened prayer life through these exercises. There is a consecration prayer at the end of the journey, which I have written for those who wish to consecrate themselves to St Josemaría Escrivá and adopt him as a companion for spiritual guidance and intercession.”

Each of the days follow the same format:
Day Number: Title
Quote from Saint Josemaría Escrivá
Prayer Intention
Bible Verse
Prayer to St Josemaría Escrivá
Bible Verse
Rosary (Prayers and over view of Mysteries)
Hail Holy Queen
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

And on everyday there is a cropped version of the cover photo before the Prayer to St Josemaría Escrivá, and the day ends with a photo of Saint Josemaría Escrivá with caption and date. After the Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe there is a drawing of the Tilma, I believe by the author. I used a random number picker and a sample day is:

Day Twenty-Five: Prudence.

“Such wisdom of the heart, such prudence will never become the prudence of the flesh that St Paul speaks of, the prudence of those who are intelligent but try not to use their intelligence to seek and love Our Lord. A truly prudent person is ever attentive to God's promptings, and, through this vigilant listening, he receives in his soul the promise and reality of salvation: I glorify Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for having hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to little ones.”
-St Josemaría Escrivá

Prayer Intention

Lord Jesus Christ, I desire to exercise genuine prudence which is not self-serving or cunning, but discerning and helps me to grow in my faith. Through attending the sacraments, Mass, and praying the Holy Rosary, I can learn to be more prudent and discerning so that I make the right choices which are focused on serving You and putting my trust in You, dear Lord
“The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. The wise person fears and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and overconfident. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and a devious man is hated. The naive inherit folly, but the careful are crowned with knowledge.”
- Proverbs 14:15-18

Dear Lord, I humbly beg You, through the intercession of St Josemaría Escrivá, for the grace to fill my spirit with prudence so that I may carefully discern each step I take down the path which You have laid out for me to follow. The path to Sainthood and sanctifying my every day ordinary life, is greatly enriched by exercising prudence, not being overindulgent or impulsive but by following You, Lord Jesus.

Prayer to St Josemaría Escrivá

Most loving God, through the mediation of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin, You chose St Josemaría Escrivá to serve You and honour you. You have gifted St Josemaría Escrivá the wisdom and grace to form Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfilment of the Christian’s ordinary life and duties. Grant that I too may learn to turn my everyday life into one that serves You God, and imitates the way of St Josemaría Escrivá with a zeal for loving all souls and striving for sanctification. Grant unto me God, through the intercession of St Josemaría Escrivá the favour of (intention).

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
- John 16:13

Holy Rosary of Joyful Mysteries

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Five Joyful Mysteries are prayed
Monday and Saturday.

The Joyful Mysteries remind the faithful of Our Lady’s Fiat and Christ’s birth:
The Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38); The Visitation (Luke 1:39–56)
The Nativity (Luke 2:1–21); The Presentation (Luke 2:22–38) The
Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52)

Hail Holy Queen
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, make intercession for the Holy Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee in their necessities, and since thou art the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Mother of the True God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, of burning charity, and the most precious gift of perseverance so that we may carry our cross cheerfully.”

Each day is 6 pages including the photo at the end of the chapter. Many of the photo’s in this volume I had not seen before. Or at least do not recall doing so. I have read many books by and about Saint Josemaría Escrivá, and consider this a worthwhile read. This volume was a good book to work through during Lent. It can easily be done over any 40 days in the year, or even over 40 weeks. It there was a table of contents, or index it could be used for specific needs from time to time in a more accessible manner. 

Overall I would say this a good volume, and with a little polish could be excellent. I would not hesitate to pick up the authors announce book if it ends up being released. I was blessed by reading this book, It was wonderful to spend 40 days reading quotes by, praying to, and reading reflections on Josemaría Escrivá.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

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 

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