Josemaría Escrivá Obras
130

As I speak of these things, there comes to mind the dream of that author of the golden age of Spanish literature — I am sure some of you have heard me mention it in other meditations. The writer sees two roads opening up before him. One of them is broad and smooth, easy to travel, with many comfortable inns, taverns and other places of beauty and delight. Along this road go great crowds of people on horseback or in carriages, in a hubbub of music and mindless laughter. One sees a multitude intoxicated by a joy which is simply ephemeral and superficial, for this road leads to a bottomless precipice. It is the road taken by the worldly-minded, ever seeking material pleasure, boasting a happiness that they do not really possess, and craving insatiably for comfort and pleasure... They are terrified at the thought of suffering, self-denial or sacrifice. They have no wish to know anything about the Cross of Christ. They think it is sheer madness. But then it is they who are insane, for they are slaves of envy, gluttony and sensuality. They end up suffering far more, and only too late do they realise that they have squandered both their earthly and their eternal happiness in exchange for meaningless trifles. Our Lord has warned us about this. 'The man who tries to save his life shall lose it; it is the man who loses his life for my sake who will secure it. How is a man the better for it if he gains the whole world at the cost of losing his own soul?'

In that dream there is another path which goes in a different direction. It is so steep and narrow that the travellers who take it cannot go on horseback. All who take it must go on foot, perhaps having to zigzag from side to side, but they move steadily on, treading on thorns and briars, picking their way round rocks and boulders. At times their clothing gets torn, and even their flesh. But at the end of this road a garden of paradise awaits them, eternal happiness, Heaven. This is the way taken by holy people, who humble themselves and who, out of love for Jesus, gladly sacrifice themselves for others. It is the path of those who are not afraid of an uphill climb, who bear the cross lovingly, no matter how heavy it may be, because they know that if they fall under its weight they can still get up and continue their ascent. Christ is the strength of these travellers.

Previous View chapter Next