Day 1: Childhood and calling. Homily "Freedom, a gift from God"
Born in a staunchly Christian Spanish family, Josemaría Escrivá joined the seminary at the age of 15. As a priest, he understood gradually that he was called to open a new path: the one leading laypeople to sanctification.
By practising the Christian virtues, they are to become everyday life's heroes.
Years later the Second Vatican Council also encouraged Catholics to strive to transform the world from the inside.
How a vocation is born
Josemariá Escrivá was born on the 9th of January 1902 in Barbastro, Spain. He had 5 siblings: Carmen (1899-1957), Santiago (1919-1994) and three young sisters, who died in childhood.
The education they receive from their parents is deeply rooted in Christianity. For instance, when aged 2, Josemariá falls badly ill. His mother entrusts his life to the Virgin Mary at the nearby sanctuary of Torrecuidad. She will later take him there to pray in gratitude for his recovery. At the end of his life, Josemaria will ask for the chapel to be significantly extended to foster Marian pilgrimages. In 1915, the family moves to Logroño, North of Spain. It is in this town that the young Josemariá -then 15- will perceive for the first time God's calling to him. On a beautiful winter morning in 1917, he notices in the snow the footprints left by a barefoot carmelite. Seeing so much generosity, he understands that God is expecting something from him ; but what exactly? To become a priest seems to be the answer, enabling him to be available to whatever Providence is preparing him for. He begins to get ready for it ; first at Logroño Seminary, then at the Great Seminary of Saragossa ; studying at the same time civil law.
Texts from Saint Josemariá Escrivá
Freedom, a gift from God (First excerpt from the homily "Freedom a gift from God", published in Friends of God)
With his sense of humour, Josemariá called himself "the last of the romantics." To him, you can only love God in a climate of freedom. But, as Saint Paul claimed with strength, freedom sets one free through Christ.
I accept no slavery other than that of God's love. This is because religion is the greatest rebellion of men ; who refuse to live like animals ; who are dissatisfied and restless until they know their Creator and are on intimate terms with him. I want you to be rebels, free and unfettered, because I want you - it is Christ who wants us! - to be children of God. Slavery or divine sonship, this is the dilemma we face. Children of God or slaves to pride, to sensuality, to the fretful selfishness which seems to afflict so many souls.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6