Dan Brown and God's Work
This monk's character (sorry I can't think of his name) is a member of the group "Opus Dei" which it seems Mr Brown more than embellished about their true nature.
(Read this article in The Age )
Opus Dei basically means the work of God. A group of people who dedicate their lives to God and the service of their community through Christian teachings. Most are lay people, living with their families and have careers, etc.. They are called "Supernumaries".
Others have vowed to dedicate their life in every sense to God. They are celibate, they give their salaries to the group and engage in self discipline (mortification) . They are Numeraries.
So far it seems a bit like monasticism, only you live out in the world and serve others. In a report by Sunday today there were interviews with members who basically live to serve others and carry out God's work!! There was also an interview with a lady who left the group because of what she says is brainwashing and controlling practices by the group. But John Allen, author of the book Opus Dei, simply said "when I talked to members and ex-members, I basically heard the same accounts...only from two different perspectives"
So, while ex-members talk of brainwashing, controlling and inflicting harm on oneself...members speak of a life lived for Christ, dedication and discipline.
It's hard for me to understand the life these people choose. Perhaps I have been spoilt some with all the comforts around me? I don't know. But I do know that these people are not harming anyone. If someone chooses to live a life of celibacy and purity, while working hard to benefit those around them, why is this bad? Isn't this what Christianity is about? Selfless love, serving your community, and just basically doing God's work!!
The very last paragraph in the article indicated above is worth noting.
Already the book has led Australians to inquire about membership in the movement. For Opus Dei, the movie might represent one step back and two steps forward.
So maybe Mr Brown is doing God's work after all!