Sunday, July 20, 2008

Spiritual exercises in the Bay Area?

By spiritual exercises, I don't mean specifically the work by St. Ignatius of Loyola or the regimen of prayer and meditations offered therein, but Catholic Christian retreats in general. In some situations "exercise" may be more appropriate, especially if one has lost the habit of frequent prayer.

Doing some searches on Opus Dei centers on the internet, I looked up Arnold Hall, the Opus Dei retreat center in Pembroke, MA. I went on retreat there once... I can't remember if I met the Cal grad student in Chinese history there or at Trumbull Manor. I think it was the latter.

A photo of the chapel in Lockwood @ Arnold Hall:

Having posted so much on Opus Dei recently, maybe I should go to one of the men's recollections one of these days... I don't know of anything comparable in the Bay Area. I believe there are days of recollection at St. Stephen in Sacramento. How about at the ICRSS's St Margaret Mary Church in Oakland? The Dominicans of the Western Province do maintain a retreat house, but I don't see any other spiritual exercises for the laity. Do the Dominicans do days or evenings of recollection, or is that too modern of a practice? I wouldn't entrust myself to the Jesuit retreat house in Los Altos or the Catholic Spirituality Center for the diocese of San Jose.

Wouldn't it be something if Opus Dei priests were to celebrate the liturgy of the eucharist ad orientem? How much resistance there is to the reform of the reform among members of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross? Kneeling for the reception of communion is observed at Opus Dei Masses. (I think receiving on the tongue is as well, if I remember correctly.)

When I last saw Mrs. O, she asked me if I was still involved with Opus Dei activities, and I said no, not since I went to the East Coast to take classes at Christendom. I've given my impressions of Opus Dei spirituality here. I had hoped to both improve my spiritual life and to meet young Catholics and make some friends through attendance at Opus Dei activities, but this hasn't happened in the past, and it didn't happen at Elmbrook. Maybe it's expecting too much from such a short time. There are some numeraries [professionals] living in the college student residences, I believe; still, it's probably only a temporary residence for the college students.

The spirituality of Opus Dei is a rather modern spirituality. I am still looking to develop a liturgical piety, a spirituality centered in the Church's liturgy and emphasizing a return to the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours, or the Divine Office. Of course, for those who seek a restoration of the liturgical tradition of the Roman Rite, there are problems with both the new office, and the 1962. (See Prof. Laszló Dobszay's "Critical Reflections on the Divine Office".)
This shouldn't become an excuse to avoid adopting any spirituality whatsoever... so what are the traditionally-minded to do? I don't foresee the divine office being reformed any time soon. There is the option of switching rites, but I still think I'm too much of a Latin to really do it. How does the office prior to the changes made under St. Pius X compare to the Anglican use Book of Divine Worship?

Today I found myself being able to pray better during the periods of silence of the Low Mass. It's not like the sung Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas, even though it is good that chant and polyphony are sung there. Would there be more periods of silence in a sung of high Mass of the EF? I'm not sure what is going on with myself.

What about the tendency to remake the liturgy in accordance with our preferences our ideas? To innovate for the sake of restoring a primitive (and therefore more authentic) liturgy and to develop a distinctive liturgy to identify a group? For example, there are the liturgical aberrations of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Are the practices of the Neo-Catechumenal Way that are criticized by the bishops of the Holy Land several years ago still in existence there? An excerpt of that letter can be found in this article by Sandro Magister: The Lenten Season of the ‘Way’: Double Penance, in Rome and Jerusalem. It sounds like the Neo-Catechumenal missionaries are not respecting the native Christian communities (and their liturgical rites?). What could be worse than Latinization but a rather bizarre form of Latinization that goes against Eastern liturgical sensibilities? And what exactly can the Neo-Catechumenal Way do to coach Russian Orthodox priests? After the repression of the Orthodox Church by the Communists, skills of evangelization have undoubtedly been lost, but what is being done in Russian Orthodox seminaries to remedy this? And can ROCOR do anything to improve the situation?

Google Books: Statute of the Neocatechumenal Way

Playing around with the texts and rites isn't a problem with Opus Dei priests. Otherwise, though, their way of celebrating Mass isn't much different from you would find at a typical American parish. Maybe this is for pastoral reasons, since those who receive spiritual direction from Opus Dei and the like are also members of a parish in the local Church and there is some thinking that Opus Dei shouldn't be too different by celebrating a more traditional liturgy. Otherwise some might be tempted to see it as some sort of haven, rather than as a springboard for the lay apostolate.

Holy Transfiguration Monastery does offer unguided retreats, in which one follows the liturgy schedule of the monks and is left in solitude the rest of the time. I think for beginners who are recovering from acedia or dealing with ADHD, short attention spans, or bad acquired habits with respect to time management and so on, something that is more organized might be beneficial. I suspect that retreats at Clear Creek Monastery are similar, one of the differences being that those on retreat also participate in doing manual labor around the monastery.

I see that the Legionaries of Christ have a retreat center in Cupertino, and offer retreats for priests. Anything for the laity? One imagines there must be a local Regnum Christi presence as well. Do members of Regnum Christi ever travel in traditionalist circles? I don't remember if American women associated with Regnum Christi typically wear chapel veils. I don't think they do. Looks like the LCs, the Institute of the Incarnate Word and the Jesuits all offer some variation of the Ignatian spiritual exercises locally. (Now all we need are the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Are there any other religious orders that offer the Ignatian spiritual exercises as a part of their apostolate?) Supposedly some RC members have been spotted at St. Joseph of Cupertino, but I wonder if they go there regularly. Anyway, the LCs have no problems celebrating private Mass in Latin, ad orientem. But I don't know if they would celebrate a more "traditional" sung Mass. They don't chant the divine office in common at the seminary, unless things have changed. I can't remember if they sing parts of it in English. I haven't talked to any LCs for a long time, and I'm not that eager to meet them. (Unless it's for making the kind of networking connections Sarge would like... haha.)

The Fathers of Mercy conduct parish missions. Sarge you should be able to recognize one of the priests in the back row of this photo:

More links:
Opus Dei - FROM THE PRELATE - The True Face of Opus Dei
By Michael Pakaluk: Opus Dei: In Everyday Life
Scott Hahn, Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei
My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei by Dr. Scott Hahn (podcast)
Opus Dei: An Interview with John L. Allen, by John Romanowsky
Mr. Allen's book on Opus Dei
Catholic Information Center, Washington, D.C.
John Paul II - Erecting Opus Dei

You can see the distinctive Opus Dei cross on the books by Allen and Hahn:

John Parsons, Reform of the Reform?
Reform or Return? An Interview with Rev. Thomas M. Kocik
Google Books: The Reform of the Reform?: A Liturgical Debate : Reform Or Return (Ignatius Press)
An Introduction to the History of the Christian Liturgy in the West
Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office)
Answer from an EWTN expert on the Liturgy of the Hours

The Book of Common Prayer
The 1662 Book of Common Prayer Website
The Book of Common Prayer | Church of England
Anglicans Online | Books of Common Prayer

Anglican Use Society
The Anglican Use Office by C. David Burt
The Anglican Use of the Roman Catholic Church

Hrm, how far is the Holy Cross Chapel in Houston from JushiFruiti?
Edit: I just asked her and she said she hadn't heard of it before. Downtown Houston is about 15 to 20 minutes away from her, assuming no traffic.

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