The Path Through the Mountains (St Josemaria Escriva and the Origins of Opus Dei) (Volume 2)

 
9781517343255: The Path Through the Mountains (St Josemaria Escriva and the Origins of Opus Dei) (Volume 2)
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The first volume of Keenan's biography of Josemaria Escriva, The Day the Bells Rang Out, (Batchwood Press http://www.amazon.com/dp/1463768699) covered the life of Opus Dei's founder from childhood to November 1937, when, in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, he and his companions were planning to escape from the "Red" zone of Spain to be able to continue their apostolate in freedom. This new volume picks up the story and sees Escriva on his "path through the mountains" to the other side of Spain via the Pyrenees, Andorra and Lourdes, France. The title, however, has a much deeper sense: in spreading the message of Opus Dei, Escriva and his followers were cutting a new path of holiness and apostolate in the world, and when they met difficulties, which came abundantly, he would remind them of the words of Scripture, inter medium montium pertransibunt aquae - the waters will make a path through the mountains (Ps 103/104: 10). Notably, Escriva quoted this verse in the first chapter of his classic work The Way: "Let those very obstacles give you strength. God's grace will not fail you: Inter medium montium pertransibunt aquae! You shall pass through the mountains! Does it matter that you have to curtail your activity for the moment if afterwards, like a spring which has been compressed, you will reach incomparably farther than you ever dreamed?" The Path Through the Mountains is divided into three parts, the book consisting of 87 short chapters, ending up with Escriva's first stay in Rome in June 1946. The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, just months before the outbreak of World War 2. Keenan shows Escriva and his companions living in dire poverty, filled with irrepressible good spirits and fired with zeal for apostolate, no matter what. The book fills in the rather sketchy picture of Escriva's life at this time offered by Joffé's film There Be Dragons, supporting Joffé's inspired artistic impression with historical facts. Far from being a dry, historical document, however, the book is enlivened from the start with the humour, homely details and breathtaking vision that were so evident in Escriva himself, as a result of his deep, active faith and love.

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