God and Daring the life of a man of prayer
The historian Andrés Vázquez de Prada has published in Spain the second volume of The Founder of Opus Dei, the most extensive biography of Josemaría Escriva to date. It covers the period from 1936 to 1946.
These were years of intense work and suffering for Josemaría Escriva and the first men and women of Opus Dei. After the harsh years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Saint Josemaria strove to faithfully transmit the spirit he had received from God, opening up centers in a number of cities throughout Spain.
Vázquez de Prada presents the reader with numerous extracts from the saint writings that reflect his constant interior struggle and his effort to identify himself with God’s will. Especially abundant are quotes from the correspondence of Saint Josemaría. These letters eloquently reveal the priestly concern and love for the Church that filled his soul.
His interior life: the connecting thread
The author finds the connecting thread uniting every moment of Saint Josemaría’s life in his life of prayer and apostolate, a manifestation of his love for God and souls.
In the chapters dedicated to the civil war, Vázquez de Prada shows that Saint Josemaría saw the years of the war as a privileged opportunity to seek purification and to make reparation for the offenses being committed against God. His letters rarely mention external circumstances of the war or victories. Rather they focus on spiritual and priestly considerations, especially the need to pray for peace and to be ready to forgive.
Also given emphasis in this volume is the founder’s apostolic work with women, which was especially important during these years in view of the future growth of Opus Dei.
Romana, No. 35, July-December 2002, p. 350-351.