Finding time to take a break from daily life for spiritual reflection and growth may seem, for many, unattainable at times. But Marilyn Muegge described a recent evening of recollection she attended as the perfect mini-retreat to feed her soul.
“This all feeds me — the quiet prayer, reflection, the sacraments, the thoughtful, uplifting talk, the challenges, and the time to chat a little and meet someone new,” said Muegge. She added she was “happy and grateful to be out there again” and to gather safely as a community once again.
The evening of recollection for women, held Aug. 2 at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in Oakville, was offered by Opus Dei, a personal prelature dedicated to evangelizing others through the ordinary circumstances of its members’ lives. Opus Dei, whose membership includes lay men and women and priests, offers short recollections for men and women at several locations in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
We all need time with God to pray, to sort things out and to think of ways to build upon our spiritual lives, said Father Michael Geisler, a priest of Opus Dei, who gave two short meditations from the sanctuary of church during the two-hour evening.
Speaking on the topics of justice and charity, Father Geisler spoke in particular about how justice is the virtue that enables us to assume our responsibilities and to give others their due; and charity, another virtue in which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
Acting on both virtues, he said, begins in the home; for parents, that includes teaching children things such as honesty, thinking of others, and putting God first. Justice is not enough alone; St. Josemaria Escriva, Opus Dei’s founder, said that charity is just as important.
“Without charity, things become kind of cold,” Father Giesler said. “It’s like lubricant in an engine. We all have to get our cars a proper oil change at a certain time; society is like that.” Charity is the lubricant that helps things run smoothly, he added. It’s a kind word said to a neighbor. Going above and beyond to help a friend. Forgiving someone.
Laurie Coultrip, a mother of 11 children, said the evening was a good way to break away from her responsibilities and take time to reflect and pray. Priests were on hand to hear confessions that evening, too. Coultrip became involved with Opus Dei because of her parents, who were Opus Dei members in Chicago.
“There are so many good things happening in our Church, and the beauty of Opus Dei is that they have the reason and the ‘why’ the Church teaches what it does,” she said. “You can ask them anything, and I trust where they are getting their info from.”
Muegge jotted down notes as she listened to Father Giesler’s talks, as well as a separate talk from Mary Beth Rowles on authentic friendship. She said she appreciated the simplicity and straightforwardness in the messages she heard. “I asked myself, what can I do in my life? And it’s asking Jesus for the grace to do these things.”
Opus Dei offers monthly recollections as an opportunity to reflect on everyday life in light of basic Christian principles. The recollection typically includes two meditations (time of guided prayer by the priest), a talk and the opportunity for spiritual direction or to go to confession. They aim to help you refresh your spirit and strengthen your personal relationship with God.
Women’s recollections are offered both in the morning and evening at several locations throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Men’s recollections are held monthly at Wespine Study Center in Kirkwood and Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie.
Opus Dei also offers regular retreats for men and women, and other programs geared toward teens, college students and young professionals. For more information on women’s programs, see www.lindellstudycenter.org. For information on men’s programs, see www.wespine.org.
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Opus Dei’s mission is to contribute to the evangelizing mission of the Church by fostering among Christians a life fully consistent with their faith, in the middle of the ordinary circumstances of their lives, and especially through the sanctification of their work. Work, family life and the ordinary events of each day are opportunities for drawing close to Christ, and making Him known to others.
Opus Dei was founded in 1928 in Spain by St. Josemaria Escriva, and is a personal prelature of the Church. Personal prelatures exist to carry out specific pastoral missions in the Church, and are part of the jurisdictional, hierarchical structure of the Church. Opus Dei is currently established in 66 countries. There are two Opus Dei centers located in Kirkwood: Wespine Study Center for men, and Lindell Study Center for women.