Jun 1, 2006

Being fit for Opus Dei and the Da Vinci Code

I saw the Da Vinci Code yesterday...my quick review is "Save your money."

But on a more important note...I feel the same way about the movie as I do about Opus Dei. Simply put, it's not for everyone. I'll explain.

Opus Dei, as many of us know, is a fairly rigorous lay organzation in the Catholic church. They are focused on living out a personal life of prayer, piety, and some would say private penitence in theie personal lives. These are certainly not "Sunday only Catholics." They do practice some very intentional acts of corporal mortification such as the wearing of a cilice (for a few hours each day) and the use of the discipline--a small whip (which suppossedly some say doesn't hurt very much--perhaps even at all. One said that it's like hitting yourself with a graduation tassel, although there are more severe types available). Many live in community in an Opus Dei house. I truly believe that most people in the organization are basically very holy people who are simply trying to integrate a sense of holiness into their everyday lives.

Now there are some who would find this kind of extreme catholicism very, very attractive--I would think many milennial young adults would be quite attractive to this way of life. However, it's also obvious to me that there are certain people in society who are simply not psychologically fit for this type of rigor. In short, some people simply can't handle it. There make up leads them to overdo the rigoristic elements of the organization and it leads them to become over-scrupulous and participate in some psychologically unhealthy activities.

I would say that in the past, the failure of Opus Dei to lead these people to greater discernment about their "fitness" in the organization has led to all the questions about their movement. To their credit, I think this has changed a good deal and it now takes a long time to even join Opus Dei and their methods of discernment have improved greatly.

With regards to the film--I have similar feelings. It's simply not a film (or a book) for everyone. If you're the type of person who lets themselves be taken in by every passing conspiracy theory and never bothers to check the facts themselves--then you should not see this film or read the book. However, if your a person who can really think critically about the Da Vinci Code, then you can probably see the movie and it won't make a dent in how you view your faith life.

So discern and decide...perhaps a better decision might be to attempt to work on discernment in general so that you can be able to handle such matters in your life.

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