Saturday, December 09, 2006

Using humor as a proper reply

At some point people have to laugh. With many of the outrageous accusations flying high, some are worth a good joke becuase they're simply too funny to swallow. This LA Times story captures the spirt of being a good sport.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Why I joined Opus Dei

It's important for people to understand that joining Opus Dei requires a divine vocation. I joined because God was -- and still is -- calling me to be a saint in the middle of the world. Humanly speaking, what appeals most to me about my vocation as a married (supernumerary) member is that nothing basically changes in my life (i.e., my family, work, friends, hobbies, etc.), yet everything becomes a part of my path to sanctity--everything. For me, this is to be a contemplative in the middle of the world. Amazing in practice. It may sound odd, but it has always appeared to me strange that Catholicism was basically restricted to Sunday Mass and a few limited "holy" practices here and there. What about the rest of my life? That is now the pressing question my vocation actually helps me answer--and lead others to embrace as well.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Turning lemons into lemonade

With all the media hype surrounding the DaVinci Code, Opus Dei's response is perfectly appropriate: let's turn lemons into lemonade. Over the past few days, media coverage has intensified and also brought along with it an enormous opportunity for members of Opus Dei to fulfill our primary mission of fostering the universal call to sanctity. More people are getting interested and starting to listen and learn more; this is why Opus Dei exists, to serve as a real reminder that we are all called to be saints. The more publicity, the better.

Friday, May 05, 2006

An article too funny to pass up

I was googling recent Web postings for "Opus Dei" and ran across an article from the UK that caught my eye: "Opus Dei is so normal it's scary." In the May issue of the Spectatator, Mary Wakefield investigates Opus Dei hoping to find something terribly odd, only to discover people so well balanced she eventually got bored.

The entire article is to long to include, so I've chosen a few choice excerpts. My thinking is that if jaded british journalists find little to excite, that alone is a strong enough defense indeed.

"After three hours with Opus Dei women at Ashwell House in east London I wandered west, half-stunned, like a cat hit by a car. At Oxford Circus the usual loons were saving souls: ‘Repent now, turn to God!’ from a woman on the south side. From a north-end traffic island, megaphone man provided the antiphonal response: ‘Seek salvation before it is too late!’ And in my pocket my mobile, ringing with a message from an Opus Dei publicity man. ‘Hi there! When you’re finished at Ashwell House, come to Notting Hill to have tea with Sebastian. He’s a supernumerary and he plays the cello! I think it’s important that you meet him.’
Maybe, but I wasn’t sure I could. I’d had enough. It wasn’t that Opus Dei had been unexpectedly sinister or murderous, like Silas, the anti-hero of The Da Vinci Code — after all, St Josemariá Escrivá beat himself till he bled, so I’d been expecting, hoping for, gothic. It wasn’t even that they were sallow and enigmatic, like Ruth Kelly, Opus Dei’s representative in the Cabinet. Instead, the members I’d met had been so mysteriously well-balanced and comfortable in their skins as to be actually frightening. If I had to sustain eye contact with another well-adjusted, devout young Catholic, I thought I might start swearing, or crying."

"Ashwell House was quiet, the walls a startling salmon pink, and my first impression of Sam and Eileen was of a quieter version of television’s Trinny and Susannah, the hosts of What Not to Wear. Sam, dark-haired, in a high-collared red chiffon shirt; Eileen, blonde, made-up, in a V-neck lined with sequins. After a quick tour of the premises, ‘a good environment for clean-living students’, we settled in a common room for coffee and life stories. ‘I was an Anglican,’ said Sam, ‘at a little CofE school, but my experience of Anglicanism was of nice middle-class ladies in hats going to church on a Sunday, and I wasn’t satisfied. I thought, there must be an objective truth, and this isn’t doing credit to it."

"Then I met a Catholic girl who seemed to be cheerful and great fun, and started going to meetings with her. She was in Opus Dei, so I went to classes, then joined as a numerary.’ Simple! She smiles. How could you be sure this was your vocation? ‘I wasn’t!’ said Sam. ‘It’s more like being in love and deciding to get married — everything points in the same direction, it all makes sense and there’s a feeling of tremendous happiness.’"

"I liked Opus because I met people who were young, vibrant, sporty,’ she said. ‘To be honest, all the Catholics I’d met before had been old and nice but, you know, not like me.’ She laughed. ‘Now if I feel like a big fat load of zeros, I remember I’ve got Christ in front of me and I can do anything!"

"Everyone seemed well turned out, clever, devout, but where were the regular messed-up folk? Where were Dan Brown’s freaks, his everyday weirdos? "

"Before I left, Sam admitted that the hype around The Da Vinci Code sometimes got her down. ‘It’s been a great opportunity for us but also difficult,’ she said. ‘We’ve been afraid of the press in the past, but we’re beginning to realise that not all journalists are out to get you. Some of them,’ she said cautiously, ‘can be normal human beings."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A level-headed response

Fr. John Wauck's recent Associated Press (AP) interview provides a balanced response to a pressing question: will the DaVinci Code draw throngs of Catholics away from their faith? His reponse, as well as that of Opus Dei, is that it is a work of fiction that represents a bigger issue, that is, people's ignorance.

"As a book, 'The Da Vinci Code' doesn't merit serious attention," Wauck told AP in a telephone interview before the conference. "However, as a phenomenon it demands serious attention, because a book that sells 40 million copies is not just a book, it tells us something about our society and the world we live in," Wauck said.

The novel's success is a sign that there is "tremendous religious ignorance" but that readers also have a thirst for history, art, symbolism and a more spiritual life, Wauck said, indicating that the movie might draw some people closer to Catholicism."

Well said.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New Opus Dei Web site

The prelature of Opus Dei relaunched its Web site recently. It is a tremdous resource, especially for those curious about its message, mission and members. Take a quick look at the "What is Opus Dei?" section; the answers are clear and straight to the point.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

AP Story on the release of the DaVinci Code movie

A brief article that explains Opus Dei's position on the release of the movie and the defense of its image. It is a legitimate right for Opus Dei to protect its reputation. In order to succeed in its mission (i.e., to foster the universal call to holiness in the middle of the world), it is paramount that public opinion accurately reflects the true value of Opus Dei and its untiring service to the Catholic Church.