“Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear—confiding them—as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God.” With these words, the best known and most popular of Saint Josemaría’s books, The Way, begins.
This 1939 spiritual classic was his first book, being essentially a reworking of the smaller Consideraciones Espirituales published a few years earlier. The 999 points (the number deliberately chosen as a multiple of 3 out of devotion to the Trinity) cover aspects of Christian life needed in order to really be and to act like a child of God in the middle of the world: starting from personal character and ending with the apostolate, passing through prayer, work, and virtue. The purpose is laid out in the prologue: “I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul.”
“I wrote most of the book,” said the author, in an interview with Le Figaro in 1966, “in 1934, summarizing my priestly experience for the benefit of all the souls with whom I was in contact, whether they were in Opus Dei or not… It is not a book solely for members of Opus Dei. It is for everyone, whether Christian or non-Christian. The Way must be read with a minimum of supernatural spirit, interior life, and apostolic feeling. It is not a code for the man of action. The book’s aim is to help people to become God’s friends, to love him, and to serve all men and women.”
The Way has sold 4.5 million copies and has been translated into 44 languages.