Josemaría decided to move with his family to Madrid to pursue a doctorate in Law. There, he became the chaplain of the central headquarters of the Apostolic Dames, a religious congregation dedicated especially to social works. This marked the beginning of an intense pastoral activity, caring for the poor and sick in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of the capital.

On October 2, 1928, Josemaría received a special light from God to remind the world that all Christians are called to reach Heaven through their ordinary lives. At the time, the young priest was only 26 years old and relied on university students to advance this great project of God. In 1933, he launched the DYA Academy and later a university residence. Young students, invited by their friends, found in the residence on Ferraz Street an atmosphere of joy that encouraged them to take their Christian faith seriously, serving God through their university studies and addressing the social problems of 1930s Madrid.

Josemaría arrived in the capital on Easter Tuesday, April 19, 1927.

After a very short stay in a boarding house on Farmacia Street, he found accommodation in a Priests' House with thirty rooms. This place was a charity for priests run by the Apostolic Dames of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The daily cost of the pension was five pesetas (which today would be similar to five euros) and it was located on Larra Street, just over a kilometer from Retiro Park. There, Josemaría made good friends among the priests who also stayed there, although the only time they all coincided was at the midday lunch.

The Apostolic Dames of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are a religious congregation dedicated especially to social works for the marginalized, poor, and sick. It was founded in 1924 in Madrid, Spain, although they are currently present in other countries such as Peru, Angola, Mexico, and Bolivia.

Around May, Josemaría was appointed chaplain of the church of the Patronato de Enfermos. This was the headquarters of the Apostolic Dames and also had a public church. His task as chaplain involved saying Mass daily, making the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and leading the Rosary.

From the Patronato, schools, dining rooms, health centers, chapels, and catechesis were directed; on the ground floor, there was a public dining room, and on the first floor, an infirmary. Josemaría, with the generosity and energy characteristic of his nature, also devoted himself intensely to these tasks. After Mass, he gave catechism classes to children, young people, and adults, and every day he visited the public dining room to get to know and converse with the people. He heard confessions tirelessly from the poor and sick. Additionally, he visited those whose ailments prevented them from physically approaching the Patronato and brought them Communion (these journeys sometimes exceeded 10 kilometers).

In November 1927, Josemaría decided to move to an apartment on Fernando el Católico Street, 46. There, he was finally able to bring his mother and siblings together under one roof. To earn some extra income, besides his work as chaplain of the Patronato, he also began giving private lessons, as he had done during his stay in Zaragoza. He even worked as a professor at the Cicuéndez Academy, teaching Roman Law and Institutions of Canon Law. He became very close to his students, often staying to chat with them after class.

The students of the Academy were mostly young people who, for some reason, could not attend the Faculty classes. Therefore, they reviewed the subjects at the Academy and at home and later took the extraordinary exams that allowed them to advance in their university studies.

Amid all his "comings and goings," Josemaría continued to ask God to show him what He wanted from him. He prayed so much that his brother Santiago, who was only 8 years old, learned the Latin expressions and also repeated: "Ecce ego quia vocasti me!, Here I am, because you called me!" [1], as if it were a song.

In September 1928, Josemaría took the exams for three doctoral subjects. Afterward, he had two weeks of vacation, so he decided to take a retreat course. This took place at the Central House of the Vincentians, located very close to the Patronato, on García de Paredes Street.

On Tuesday, October 2, in the morning, Josemaría went up to his room and opened the notebook where he wrote down his prayer thoughts and purposes. “I received the illumination about the whole Work while reading those papers. Moved, I knelt down — I was alone in my room, between one talk and another — I thanked the Lord, and I remember with emotion the ringing of the bells of the parish of Our Lady of the Angels” [2]. As if it were a movie, God made him "see" the essence of Opus Dei. It was the answer to many years of asking: “Lord, let me see, Lord let me be.”

At that moment, Josemaría understood that God was asking him to remind the world that everyone — children, young people, adults, and the elderly, astronauts, opera singers, and football players, of all cultures and accents — all are called to be saints in the normality of their daily lives, in what they already do because all straight paths of the Earth lead to God.

In the face of such a mission, Josemaría felt fear. He had nothing more than "twenty-six years, the grace of God, and good humor" [3]. He barely managed to provide for his family, and time was not on his side. How could God ask him for something so great? One of the first things he did was to investigate if there was already an institution within the Church that had this charism, to join it. He dedicated several months to this task, adding the difficulty that there was no Google or Wikipedia. When he realized there wasn't one, he ventured forth.

Who were the first to hear him? His friends, logically. One of them, Pedro, recounts: "We were amazed, those of us who were with him, at his full awareness that he had to give his life to that idea. — But do you think that is possible? I asked him. And he replied: — Look, this is not my invention, it is a voice from God” [4]. Convinced of this, he began a campaign to ask for much prayer for this intention. He relied especially on the sick and dying at the Patronato, asking them to offer their sufferings for this "work of God, Opus Dei, in Latin."

So much was of God that Josemaría did not receive all the details of the Work in a single instant; the Lord revealed them to him as if it were a streaming series, episode by episode. Initially, Josemaría thought that only men would be in Opus Dei; as a priest, he was extremely delicate in his dealings with women and did not see how he could interact with them and explain the spirit of the Work. But God quickly made things clear to him, and on February 14, 1930, He made him see that Opus Dei would not be complete until there were also women. “The Lord, as on other occasions, arranged things so that there was an objective external proof that the Work was His. I: I do not want women in Opus Dei! God: but I do” [5].

Josemaría greatly relied on a group of university students who were enthusiastic about the idea of bringing forward this "invention of God," and to whom the founder entrusted to the care of Archangel Saint Raphael and Apostle Saint John. Isidoro (whom you will remember as Josemaría's classmate in the Logroño Institute), Juan, Pedro, Ricardo, Paco, Miguel, and Álvaro were some of the first young men to request admission to Opus Dei.

In 1933, when Josemaría was 31 years old, he launched the DYA Academy, where the subjects of Law and Architecture were reviewed. Among the young people who attended, these initials had a second meaning: God and Audacity. This phrase perhaps took on more significance when they decided to open a student residence during the 1934-1935 school year (and even more so when initially only one resident arrived). There, in a house located at 50 Ferraz Street, those who requested admission to the Work and a small group of university students from other Spanish cities began to live. That was the first center of Opus Dei.

If these years had to be summarized in three words, they would be: friendship, formation, and the needy. Friendship because the atmosphere encouraged valuing each person's personality and genuine affection for everyone. Formation because Josemaría sought for all the young people, in addition to their university studies, to also grow in knowledge of the Christian faith, to live it deeply and consciously. The needy because the young people made constant visits to the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of Madrid to care for the sick, give catechism to children, and perhaps bring some food to families.

During these years, Josemaría ceased to be the chaplain of the Patronato de Enfermos and became the chaplain of the Patronato de Santa Isabel, whose work consisted of the spiritual care of a school for girls and a convent of nuns. This allowed him to devote a little more time to forming the university students who desired it and to transmitting the spirit of Opus Dei to them. Meanwhile, Spain's political environment grew tense: a storm was brewing.