It seems to be open season on Opus Dei, at least judging by Damian Thompson’s writing. So I would like to put on the record that I owe a debt of gratitude to Opus Dei for my own formation as a Catholic.
From the age of around 11 through to 17 I was a regular attender at one or other of their boys’ clubs in London. I was given a pretty sound formation in the Faith (though I should hasten to add that my recent aberration was none of their doing!), a particular love of Benediction, and some habits which have endured.
Two things in particular live with me to this day.
The first is the understanding that as laity we are called to sanctify ourselves and the world through our work. The second is the concept of the plan of life. That is, the discipline of having a regular commitment to a set of spiritual practices.
Typically, for members of Opus Dei, if I remember correctly, that will include daily: Mass, private prayer, rosary, spiritual reading, lectio divina, examination of conscience etc; and also weekly confession, and monthly days of recollection.
I have translated that for my own use into a slightly less rigorous regime (eg I can’t get to daily Mass, as there isn’t an early morning one locally, and I have to go to work; I struggle to get to confession even monthly due to idleness, the Devil etc, and there are no days of recollection that I know of within a hundred miles...). However the framework for the day is invaluable: particularly the daily examination of conscience to keep the rest on track.