Being- Not Doing

My story in Regnum Christi is probably not that unique or different from others. As I read testimonies of others and talk with people who have left RC, I am finding that many of us have the same experiences; many of us echo the same sentiments about how we felt in this constricting hi-jacked spirituality. Many of us also feel the need to talk about our experience. Somehow sharing one?s story is like a purging and helps us make sense of our experience in this cult. All of these points hold true for me in writing this short testimony. I wish to present my story to help myself continue to heal and make sense of this surreal experience of leaving RC. Moreover, I wish to validate and encourage others in their struggles to leave RC or to heal from its effects in their lives.

I was member of Regnum Christi for 11 years. I incorporated into Regnum Christi as a single woman; I eventually married a man that became RC before we married, and we began raising children with the desire of putting them into the RC clubs. I loved Regnum Christi and believed it was a gift that God had given me to help me become holy. I was excited to be in an orthodox but dynamic Catholic organization. I tried to live the RC vocation to the fullest, striving to fulfill the prayer commitments, living the apostolic dimension to the fullest, working in various apostolates and even launching apostolates in a remote area.

What brought this love, excitement, and zeal for the Movement to an end?

The beginning of our end in Regnum Christi started after we moved from an area in which RC was not established in order to be closer to the heart of RC. My family moved so we could attend a Legionary school and be in the same city as the established section of our area. Our expectation in moving was that we thought we would have an increased sense of camaraderie among like minded friends. We believed we?d find support in our vocation as parents. We believed we?d grow as Catholics and our children would thrive.

What happened in actuality was the opposite. We actually felt more alone, became more and more worn out, and I became depressed. This was not a good recipe for a happy family life!

The overarching concern that my husband and I always had after we moved was the lack of friendship we had. We revisited this idea so often. It was a question I posed to my spiritual guide, and it was a discussion my husband had with our local Legionary. We went to both of them stating that we understood the busy-ness with everyone in modern times, but it seemed natural to us that we would develop friends with Regnum Christi families since we all had the same vocation and the same spirituality. However, with everyone doing apostolate, trying to recruit, saying prayers, making resolutions and trying to fulfill them, doing acts of charity, going to encounter….and on top of all that, taking care of our real vocation our families we quickly found out that there was no time for friendship.

In all of this activity apostolate and charity we as members of RC weren?t truly present to one another. We didn?t really know each other. I couldn?t say that anyone truly knew me (except my spiritual guide). I couldn?t say that I had a friend I could call if I were having a rough day. I couldn?t say I had a friend that had time to be a friend and do what friends do together to enjoy each other?s company.

Sure, I could say my husband and I socialized; he and I saw families at events and visited, and we were great at making small talk. Each of us were very adept in conversation and could talk about what was going on in apostolate and be polite. But the friendship did not feel real.

In hindsight, having left the Movement, I can see now that I did not know how to be a real friend. I had taken the RC mandates so seriously for the past 11 years, that I almost forgot how to just be “real” with someone. Legionary and RC lingo imbued my thoughts. I always was on as an apostle for Christ, objectifying the people I met. At times I felt a twinge of guilt like I was feigning interest in someone or making small talk only to get to the bigger picture of recruitment, but I would quickly dismiss my difficulties with the RC party lines and circle logic: You have an obligation to present the vocation to others; they may have a vocation to Regnum Christi, and if they miss this opportunity to hear about RC, they may miss their vocation…and you would be responsible for this loss before God. I was constantly assessing and judging people (not judging them morally, but judging them to figure out how they fit into the RC mission/plan). I did not know how to just be with someone. I didn?t know how to just call someone to talk, to find out how they were. I needed a reason to call an event to invite them to, a question about apostolate to speak with them about, etc.

Wow! What a pressure to be under – to be responsible for someone missing their vocation which would help them grow closer to God! Funny how easily I dismissed the solid Catholic teaching that sacramental Christian marriage was the legitimate and sufficient means to grow in holiness that Christ had given me and the many others I was trying to recruit. Funny how I couldn?t see that being a true friend meant just being present to someone, a journeying with someone in his or her life, both the good and the bad. This is the type of friendship for which my husband and I were longing and yet we couldn?t give that to others because our heads were so buzzed with RC talk – the next project, apostolate, meeting, contact, etc.

There were many other things that God showed us in order to give us the strength to leave Regnum Christi and find freedom in our real vocations as husband and wife; father and mother. Some of these truths we had to face about Regnum Christi and about ourselves were very painful. The truth is freeing, not necessarily easy to face. But the deep desire for friendship was pivotal for both of us. This lack of being real and /”being present was the first step that made us realize something was out of balance with our lives.

Now that we have left Regnum Christi a beautiful thing is occurring: we are becoming less and less human doings and more and more human beings. My husband and I are growing in the process of learning to be present to God, allowing Him to just love us and inspire us gently. We are learning to be present to our children, enjoying the gifts that they are and their preciousness. We are learning to be present to each other, listening without the pressure of other outside obligations. And, yes, finally, we are forming authentic friendship; we are making solid friends. I am getting together for play-dates with other women and their children and we have fun! My husband and I are going out with other couples for dinner and enjoying ourselves. We have found that our lives are now filled with a new joy and richness that was not there before. And while things are never perfect, nor will they be in this life, this life out of Regnum Christi is far better than the one I had in it.

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