The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei
The main focus of Opus Dei (with Roman Catholic approval), is on the lives of “ordinary people”—those that are not priests or monks. These “ordinary people” according to “The Work” have a universal call to holiness; everyone should aspire to be a saint and holy—ordinary life is a path to sanctity. Only about 2% of its members are priests.
According to the Opus Dei site, all Christians are called by God to make Jesus Christ known and to seek holiness in and through their daily work, family life
and social relations. To help people out, Opus Dei offers specialized pastoral
care through classes, talks, spiritual direction, retreats, etc. This formation
fosters the exercise of human and Christian virtues…
Opus Dei also emphasizes uniting spiritual life with professional, social, and family life…According to Escriva, the vocation to Opus Dei is a calling to be a “contemplative in the middle of the world,” who converts work and daily life
Types of membership in the Opus Dei
Supernumeraries—about 70% of the total membership; married men and women with careers; typically contribute financially to Opus Dei…
Numeraries—about 20% of total membership, celibate members (both men and women) who usually live in special centers run by Opus Dei; devote the bulk of their income to the organization.
Numerary assistants—unmarried, celibate female members of Opus Dei; live and work in special centers run by Opus Dei.
Associates—unmarried, celibate members; do not live in Opus Dei centers.
The Priests—about 2% of Opus Dei members are priests; numeraries or associates who ultimately joined the priesthood,The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, which is associated with Opus Dei.
The Cooperators—not members of Opus Dei, but collaborate in some way with Opus Dei—praying, charitable contributions, assistance in various educational, charitable and cultural activities. Cooperators do not need to be Catholic.
Members of Opus Dei
The Prelature of Opus Dei has about 87,000 members (both men and women) in more than 90 different countries—Africa 2,000; Asia and the Pacific 5,000; The Americas 30,000; Europe 50,000.
98% are laypersons; About 70% of Opus Dei members live in their private homes, leading traditional Catholic family lives with secular careers, while the other 30% are celibate, of whom the majority live in Opus Dei centers.
Membership and Commitments in Joining Opus Dei
Membership in Opus Dei requires a supernatural vocation and involves a contractual commitment rather than by vows to receive spiritual formation from Opus Dei and to participate in its mission.
Supposedly, it is a personal call from God to place one’s whole life at his service, spreading the message of the universal call to holiness in ordinary work and social life.
…Commitments include a plan of spiritual life, centered on daily Mass, Holy Communion and frequent use of the sacrament of Penance, as well as reading Sacred Scripture and other spiritual texts, reciting the Rosary, and spending
time in personal prayer…
• Heroic minute, waking up punctually and saying “Serviam!” (Latin: I will serve)
• Morning offering, fixing one’s intentions to do everything for the glory of God
• Spiritual reading and reading the New Testament
• Mental prayer, conversation with God
• Mass, Communion and Thanksgiving after Communion
• Rosary, a traditional Catholic devotion to Christ and to Mary
• The Preces (the common prayer of Opus Dei)
• Angelus prayer said at noon
• Memorare prayer to the Mary for the Opus Dei member in most need…
• Visit to the Blessed Sacrament—greeting Jesus in the Eucharist
• Examination of conscience at the end of the day
• Three Hail Marys before bed to pray for the virtue of purity
• Short, spontaneous prayers throughout the day…
• Confession, in pursuit of the Catholic recommendation on frequent confession
• a group meeting of spiritual formation (“the Circle”)
• the praying of a Marian antiphon on Saturdays
• taking Psalm 2 as the basis of mental prayer on Tuesdays
Additionally, members should participate yearly in a spiritual retreat…Also members are expected to make a day-trip pilgrimage where they recite 3
5-decade rosaries on the month of May in honor of Mary.
Opus Dei and Spiritual Formation
Among Opus Dei’s corporate apostolic works are secondary schools, universities, women’s centers, medical clinics in underdeveloped areas, schools for farm workers, institutes for professional education, student residences and cultural centers.
Prayer and sacrifice
The formation given by Opus Dei encourages prayer and sacrifice in order to sustain the effort to sanctify one’s ordinary occupations. Thus members strive to incorporate into their lives certain practices of Christian piety, such as prayer, daily Mass, sacramental confession, and reading and meditating on the Gospel.
Devotion to Our Lady occupies an important place in their hearts. Also, to imitate Jesus Christ, they try to acquire a spirit of penance offering sacrifices…things like renouncing small pleasures, fasting, almsgiving, etc.
Unity of life
St Josemaría explained that Christians working in the world should not live “a kind of double life. On the one hand, an interior life, a life of union with God; and on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life.” On the contrary: “There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God.”
Opus Dei’s glorifies pain and suffering, hence the practice of mortification. For ordinary people, Opus Dei focuses on performing sacrifices pertaining to normal duties and to its emphasis on charity and cheerfulness, as well as “corporal mortifications” such as sleeping without a pillow or sleeping on the floor, fasting, or remaining silent for certain hours during the day.
They may also wear a cilice, a small metal chain with inward-pointing spikes that is worn around their upper thigh. Numeraries in Opus Dei generally wear a cilice for two hours each day. A cilice was used by Mother Teresa, Padre Pio, and slain archbishop Óscar Romero.
News articles and Books about Opus Dei
Beyond the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei by Maria Del Carmen Tapia
Maria was one of the first women who were members of this sect and she had a rather high position and spent a lot of time of time in Rome as a kind of secretary to Mr. Escriva.
God’s Torturers: From Torquemada to Opus Dei: Torture Works
by Manuel Garcia, Jr., March 2006
The Way of the Faithful
By Paul Baumann August 10, 1997, The Washington Post
Opus Dei and Pope Benedict XVI April 20, 2005
The election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the new pope is said to be especially good news for conservative Catholic groups like Opus Dei. John Paul II took the group under his wing and Pope Benedict XVI, it is thought, will do the same.
Opus Dei claims to have more than 80,000 members worldwide, nearly $3 billion in assets, and two sitting cardinals to its name
Book lifts cowl on ‘misogynist’ Opus Dei
Susan Bell Nov. 5/2007
Is Opus Dei at work in Blair’s Government? January 22, 2005
This information is for my post:
The Real Presence in the Eucharist: Evangelization of America through Politics