Questions and Answers about Opus Dei
What is Opus Dei?
As the organization's founder used to say, if we had to find a phenomenon like Opus Dei in the history of the Catholic Church, we would have to look back to the early Christians: ordinary people who tried to live their Christian commitment ina coherent way while doing their everyday occupations and carrying the message of the Gospel to all areas of life. This is what is known as seeking holiness in the middle of the world: trying to be like Jesus Christ and turning everyday life into a chance to love God and others.
What does sanctifying work mean?
It means working with the spirit of Jesus: working well, to high standards of quality, in accordance with justice, and with respect for the law and the aim of loving God and serving others. It is one of the most distinctive features of the spirit of Opus Dei.
Who belongs to Opus Dei?
People of all kinds belong to Opus Dei: adult Catholics, men and women of any culture, nationality, social condition, married or single, who hear God calling them to serve fully in the world and who respond freely to this call. Joining Opus Dei is always a commitment of love in response to a divine vocation. Some priests who belong to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross also belong to Opus Dei because that society is intrinsically linked to the Opus Dei Prelature. There are currently more than 85,000 members of Opus Dei.
There are also many people close to Opus Dei who do not belong to the Prelature but benefit from its spiritual formation and help support its apostolic work. The ultimate reason for promoting Opus Dei is to bring God closer to as many people as possible.
What do the members of Opus Dei do?
First of all, the members of Opus Dei do the same things as other people: they work, take care of their family and take part in all the good things in life. They also try to share their faith in their own surroundings as a natural, spontaneous expression of their Christian commitment. This apostolate ennobles the bonds of friendship, and a good Christian makes an effort to be a good, sincere and loyal friend.
As a result of their desire to help solve the problems around them and help those most in need, some members of Opus Dei, along with many other people, promote educational and health initiatives such as schools, hospitals, professional training sessions and universities. These initiatives are highly varied and are imbued with the personality and culture of the country where they are established. One example of these initiatives is the University of Navarra.
What specific activities does Opus Dei do?
Opus Dei offers spiritual formation for those interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge about their faith through classes, informal talks, retreats and spiritual activities in order to spread the word about the Gospel and the Magisterium of the Church and help people live in accordance with its teachings. These activities are organized in schedules and places that are compatible with the family, professional and social life of participants.
What is the connection between Opus Dei and other Church institutions?
The Opus Dei Prelature itself and each one of the faithful in particular make every effort to live in union with the Pope, bishops, priests, members of the clergy and, in general, with all Christians. The founder of Opus Dei said that Opus Dei exists exclusively to serve the Church and that the faithful of the Prelature should promote unity among all believers.