Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wheat: Light Weigh and St. Josemaria Escriva

This is the first little installment of Wheat: nourishing links of Catholic interest that I recommend. (I'm still working on some of the more substantive posts I promised.)

In "About me," I mentioned my involvement with The Light Weigh and Opus Dei.

Light Weigh is a Catholic weight loss program based on spiritual growth. In the end, the weight loss is only a fringe benefit of an improved relationship with Jesus in the Faith, feeding ourselves on what is we really desire and need. It's a 12-week program that you may repeat as often as you like; you meet weekly with a group (usually at your parish) to do a brief Bible study and to watch a video. You receive a large spiral workbook, a three-CD series, and a bag of spiritual aids (St. Therese sacrifice beads, finger Rosary, Holy Water bottle, Pieta prayerbook, novena cards, etc.). The price is a little steep, but the program works, and you often make really great friends, too.

After three babies in as many years -- and no weight loss between them -- I found an announcement for this program in my parish bulletin and decided to try it. (In my single life, I once lost a lot of weight on Weight Watchers, but I knew that I wouldn't have the money or the time to attend the meetings, do the food logging, join the gym and exercise, etc. again.) I'm almost through my first session of The Light Weigh and I've lost a little less than a quarter of what I have to lose. Frankly, I had hoped to do better, but I had several weeks where I simply didn't follow the program and broke the good habits I was forming. I'm sure that I will lose steadily once I consistently follow the program and form good habits.

Opus Dei is one of the most misunderstood groups in the Church. Simply put, "The Work of God" is a group whose members and cooperators seek to make holy their daily lives in the world as an offering to God for His purposes. Really menacing, huh?! A particularly good introduction to Opus Dei and livable Catholic spirituality is a searchable website of the prolific written works of its founder, St. Josemaria Escriva.

My husband and I are cooperators of Opus Dei, which means that we are not members, but we do support The Work with our daily prayers and voluntary contributions. We regularly attend cooperators' circles, where we meet to pray and hear a brief talk by a member on a spiritual topic. There are also mornings/evenings of recollection with a priest and lay members, doctrinal classes, and retreats available for cooperators. Opus Dei was the first spiritual program that seemed to really make practical sense to me as a wife and mother.

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