We’ve all had someone tell us to “be the best version of ourselves.” Whether at school, with friends, or on social media, we always have people telling us to be authentic, to try our best, to go far… And on the one hand, it’s kind of exciting (even if it also strikes us as a bit cheesy). Who doesn’t want to believe that they have unique gifts to offer the world? But on the other hand, we can feel pressured to craft lives that live up to the expectation of happiness we see in others. In our quest for authenticity, funnily enough, we end up comparing ourselves to other people, and this can be more than a little discouraging.

But the story doesn’t end there. We’re not alone: there’s Someone Else who wants to offer us his Life so that we can live ours to the full. “The best version of myself” isn’t a puzzle I have to work out on my own. It’s more like a team sport, an adventure I embark on in friendship with Jesus, who knows me better than I know myself. And as I get to know him, I get to know who I am called to be. To live the life of Jesus Christ is to become my true self. This is a paradox that liberates us from sterile comparisons and sets us free!

This “getting to know Him” isn’t an adventure that takes place in a distant land or a galaxy far far away. It happens in my daily life, if I’m open to Jesus’ invitation. St. Josemaría, who encouraged young people “to seek Christ, to find Christ, to love Christ,” and was also very practical, helped each person come up with a personalized plan for growing in knowledge and friendship with Christ. Part of this plan can include “means of formation” that help form Christ in our minds, hearts, and hands.

The “traditional means of formation” in Opus Dei are the ones that were born little by little when the Work of God consisted of a young priest accompanied by a group of university students who had received a call from God to follow Him in Opus Dei. They’re “traditional” because they characterize the essence of Opus Dei’s apostolate with young people. You’ll find a short description of each of them in the story above.

They’re like elements of a fitness routine that you try to come back to over and over again, day after day, to keep up your spiritual health and strength in the adventure of transformation in Christ.