My Life as a Cult-Follower
I find myself sometimes asking, what will I do, once I’m a full Catholic? The answer is…I don’t know. But I do have an idea. I think I’ll join a Catholic cult and worship Mary. I can’t wait to just find all the Mary worship and finally join in. Every time I try to worship Mary in mass I get kicked out. (Funny problem, that one.)
Kassie and I have been talking about joining Opus Dei. Now, I know what you’re thinking. And yes, you’re exactly right, I’m taking my best friend/girlfriend into the middle of a Catholic cult that intends to rule the world through the petty, albeit dangerous stunts of rogue albino monks.
Well, since I am dating a spy from the Vatican, I may as well announce my plan(Doesn’t every evil genius?):
I intend to conquer the world with the Secret Vatican Spy, and we are going to do so in style(Fendi and Versace), by conquering the world under the full and powerful jurisdiction of the Jesuits, and the personal direction of Opus Dei. We intend to make full use of intense and merciless corporal mortification and will steal art, kill curators, and bribe the police as necessary to make our leaders profit in power. We will extend the reach of the secret Inquisition and torture the non-believers to keep the Church’s secrets hidden. We will crucify any who oppress us at famous Catholic sites in Rome, or at the very least Maryland. This would make us so exceedingly happy it would be disgusting.
We would be handsomely rewarded for stealing from the world to feed the Vatican coffers, and they would buy us a villa in Rome for our services to the Whore of Babylon’s favorite cult. We’d be so happy with ourselves we’d steal away into the night and make cult babies to follow in our treacherous Opus Dei footsteps. We would make so many cult babies in fact that Opus Dei would herald me as the most successful man in the world, for turning my wife into a veritable baby farm. It would be wonderful.
Ok, for those of you who are rational enough to understand I was kidding, thanks for reading on.
What Opus Dei is can be answered here and in the linked documents on that page. Opus Dei is not a treacherous organization, and to simply refute a claim of the Da Vinci Code hands down right now, Opus Dei has no monks. It’s a “secular vocation.” This means, it’s a literal calling, just like marriage and celibacy. It’s intention is to help make faith a central part of your life, and to encourage you towards a more spiritual way of living secular life. The intent is to see everyday life as opportunity to connect with God.
I mean, I’d love to join a secret Catholic conspiracy to take over the world, especially if I were to be allowed a license to Inquisition, but frankly, there isn’t anything like that in the Catholic Church. Trust me. I’ve looked.
Pastorally Motivated Questing
Moving right along, and now that we’ve poked fun at some myths and conceptions floating about due to Dan Brown’s horribly inaccurate yet wildly popular piece of fast-paced, impossible drivel let’s talk about the real Opus Dei.
I am a pastor-convert. I obviously feel called to work pastorally in the Church, but I know I’m not supposed to be a priest. What is a young convert to do? Well, Opus Dei seems to be the preliminary answer to this question. Whether I will ultimately join or not remains to be seen. However, on a totally shallow and half-joking side-note, it would be awesome to see the looks on people’s faces if it ever comes up in conversation. Seeing the sheer terror on especially the hardcore Dan Brown lovers out there or the fundamentalists who disagree with his Christology but like his conspiracy theory, would simply tickle me.
But on a serious note, Opus Dei is not a crazy cult, they are legitimate in the eyes of the entire Church, and their teachings in no way deviate from the teachings of the Church. My calling to continue to be active in service and helping others seems to fit the general mission of Opus Dei. My guess is that some of you might have already looked into organizations and fraternities and prelatures like this.
I guess the tip we can glean from this little thought project is, if you’re a former pastor, you’ll likely feel a need to be doing something. Well, you may as well do something useful, that is bigger than yourself or your local parish. I’m not discouraging involvement in your local parish, but if you’re likely to be tempted into a power struggle with your priest, or otherwise tempted by having too much energy to give, it might be time to look into something like Opus Dei.
I know that the program of spiritual instruction that they offer to their members and even non-members. As a convert, I know that I’m looking for ways to develop a rich and full-bodied Catholic life that is both interior and exterior. To do so, something like Opus Dei sounds just like what the Great Physician ordered.
I mean if it doesn’t work out, I suppose I could always continue questing for that super-secret-yet-recently-exposed-in-pop-fiction-catholic-cult and resume my plans to take over the world and worship Mary while making cult-babies with The Secret Vatican Spy.