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70 years of The Way
Posted By Eric Sammons On September 29, 2009 @ 4:00 am In Books,Saints,Spirituality | Comments Disabled
Today is the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Way , one of the best selling spiritual books of the 20th century. Written by St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, it is a compilation of 999 points of reflection which are intended to help in the spiritual life. You can read the entire book online  (although I don’t recommend that – print it out or buy it in book format so that you can better reflect on the points).
In 1966, St. Josemaría explained the purpose of the book in an interview:
I wrote a good part of that book in 1934, summarizing my priestly experience for the benefit of all souls with whom I was in contact, whether they were in Opus Dei or not. I never suspected that thirty years later it would be spread so widely – millions of copies, in so many languages. It is not a book solely for members of Opus Dei. It is for everyone, either Christian or not. Among those who have translated it on their own initiative are Orthodox, Protestants, and non-Christians. The Way must be read with at least some supernatural spirit, some interior life and apostolic feeling. It is not a code for the man of action. The aim of the book is to help men become friends of God, to love him and serve all men. In other words, to be an instrument…as Saint Paul the Apostle wanted to be an instrument of Christ – a free and responsible instrument. Anyone who tries to see a temporal goal in the pages of The Way is mistaken. Do not forget it has been common for spiritual authors of every age to see souls as instruments of God.
- May 16, 1966 issue of Le Figaro
Why 999 points? St. Josemaría liked the “theology of mathematics” and he saw the number 9 – three to the third power – as representing the Holy Trinity. In The Furrow, another compilation of spiritual points, he adds point 1,000: “I write this number so that you and I can finish this book with a smile, and so that those blessed readers who out of simplicity or malice sought a cabalistic significance in the 999 points of The Way may rest easy.”
I remember first trying to read The Way a number of years ago and not “getting it.” However, a few years ago I picked it up again and this time it clicked. It has been very helpful to my own spiritual growth and I recommend it highly to anyone who wishes to advance in the spiritual life and thus become a better instrument of God.
St. Josemaría Escrivá, pray for us!
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