Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Busy, busy, busy. Time is kingdom

Busy, busy, busy. You had to be busy all the time. It wasn't normal to have some idle time. Time is kingdom.

The pressure to be productive was incredible. Every minute had to be dedicated to something. You couldn't be caught doing nothing.

Even during retreats or spiritual exercises you had to employ every minute. You were required to fill out a free time schedule and hand it in to you superior for approval. (To tell the truth, my most fruitful moments during retreats were walks, just thinking and praying.)

I would see priests and brothers in front of computers at their desks or the computer room for hours at a time "working." On what? Building the kingdom, of course. In fact they spent these hours in front of a screen opening and closing windows and files, tweaking and revising, but not saving their work in the end. It was all an illusion of being busy.

There were all consuming apostolates. But there were others that had a lot of down time. Those who were sincere used their time well, maybe reading a book. But books had to be approved. You couldn't read a book that was seen as wasting time. Novels, for example, were only for vacation. But who would want to spend those precious two weeks with you nose in a book when you were sitting behind a computer screen all year long? So if you wanted to read, it had to be something that would help build the kingdom. You had to be busy.

If you weren't constantly busy, you felt guilty. You were even encouraged to mention wasting time as a sin in confession.

Idle talk was frowned upon. God forbid you were caught talking about anything enjoyable. Conversations had to revolve around, you guessed it, building the kingdom. At meals, if a superior was at the table, all attention had to be on him so he could drive the conversation, of course, to the greatness of the apostolate.

You had to be busy at all times building the kingdom. Time is kingdom.

5 comments:

  1. As a lay person out of the LC for 10 years after 13 years in, I still struggle with "keeping busy" and feeling guilty if I can't have a long list of accomplishments at the end of the day. "Time and Eternity" you know!!!!

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  2. The whole scheduling of every 5 minutes of the day made me unable to do any true thinking. I was in for 11 years and had I time to really reflect and pray about life I would have left long before.

    The whole keeping busy thing misses the point of finding peace in God. Retreats too were scrupuously scheduled events - we even had to submit a plan for our so called "free times"

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    1. It was all to keep you from thinking, or feeling. And if you did think and went into crisis, superiors were there to help you forget and get back on track

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  3. My husband left the Legion in 2009, not because of Maciel though, he had made his decision before all that came out. Anyway, I would just like to point out that my husband read the entire Harry Potter series during his time in the Legion, while he was on his internship, I believe. So, I don't really think it was as strict as you say. I think so many of the Legion's rules were interpreted and experienced differently by so many according to the person's personality. My husband never felt how you describe feeling here regarding this topic, or how you discuss your feelings/experiences in other circumstances. His experience had positive and negative aspects, but I think it's important to look at it in a balanced way. And, it's important for those who read this blog to know that others have had very different experiences than you.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I agree that many had different experiences in the Legion. My blog expresses mine. Others may disagree with me. That's OK. My experience was, for the most part, negative, not because I was inept, lacking talent, or that I didn't try. In my case, and I can only speak of mine, the cards were stacked against me from the start.

      By the way, I read all of Tolkein's works, Harry Potter and many other good books in the Legion. But that was only because I was so often stripped of all responsibility for long periods of time and had to fill my time somehow.

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