Wednesday, September 26, 2012

$9,064.00

According to an article published in Spanish, Fr Alvaro Corcuera established how much economic help Legionaries who abandon the congregation should receive. Here's the breakdown.

According to these criteria, a novice who leaves the congregation receives a maximum of 100 euros (129 dollars), the first period of religious vows about 300 euros (388 dollars) while the second and third period of vows 1,000 euros (1,294 dollars).
Religious professing perpetual vows will be supported by 1,500 euros (1,942 dollars) while the priests with over 15 years in the congregation a maximum of 7,000 euros (9,064 dollars).
I was in the congregation for 24 years, professed my perpetual vows, and was ordained a priest.

So the question is...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Waiting for an indult

Today I learned that all the necessary documents have been turned in to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life requesting that I be dispensed from the Evangelical Counsels in the Legionaries of Christ and incardinated into the Archdiocese of Brasília. This is the final step. The only thing left is to receive the indult from the Holy See and I will be officially out of the Legion. I wish I had a date so I could do a count-down.

I think I already mentioned this... I have a bottle of 21 year old Scotch I'm going to break open with some priest friends the day the indult arrives.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There are feast days, and then there are feast days

Just celebrated the Patroness of my parish this weekend, or better yet, the Birthday of our Patroness, the Birth of Mary.

Just some striking differences between how we celebrated this feast and how the legion celebrates its feasts.

1. The Novena.

  • For nine days before the Feast of Mary's Birth, we prayed the rosary together, celebrated Mass in her honor with a homily on her virtues preached be guest celebrants, prayed the novena prayer at the end of Mass and sang song honoring Mary. 
  • In the legion a novena means nine days where there is a special talk preached by one of the superiors about the virtues the Sacred Heart, the Holy Spirit, the Birth of Christ, all according to the charism and methodology of the legion. 
2. The Feast.
  • We had a motorcade and drove through the city streets with the Statue of Mary mounted on a pickup truck; lots of holy water to bless people, their images of Mary and their homes; live music over loud speakers singing hymns to Our Blessed Mother and more than 50 cars honking their horns.
    The image of Mary was brought into the Church in procession by the Legion of Mary to clapping and shouts of praise.
    Our Mass was solemn, but very joyful. The songs were uplifting and exuberant.
    The children were dressed as angels and sang songs in honor of Mary at the end of Mass. They crowned here as queen and tossed rose petals at her feet (and just about everywhere else).
    We had booths set up outside selling hot-dogs, soups and cakes, and a live band playing Christian songs. 
  • In the legion the early morning Mass is after an hour of "meditation" and before breakfast. It is in Latin which very few really understand, and the homily, like the novena is about a legionary virtue faithful legionary superior. There is a big meal, and that means a lot more work, then sports until you drop and merienda-cena, which means more work.
    At first I looked forward to feast days. Then I dreaded them. 
3. The fruits
  • Masses during the novena were full, not to mention the feast itself. People who hadn't been to church in a while came to Mass. Many of these will keep coming. Others won't. That's alright. We are all free. But a seed was planted in the heart of each and every one. 
  • In the legion, the younger members will be pacified for a time, until the next feast day, and won't think too much about their families, the pain they are feeling, the lack of friendship, the humiliations. Their bellies were filled with good food and maybe a little wine. They heard a moving homily on God's will, and maybe saw a documentary on the founding of the legion. As time goes by, and they are further integrated and the option of leaving becomes treason, they will no longer need these feast days to placate their consciences. 

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.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I had a dream


Some have mentioned that they have frequent dreams, even nightmares, about their experience in the legion or the movement. I don't normally have that kind of dream. I forget most of my dreams. 

But I had a dream the other night that was so vivid, it stuck with me. Not only that, it had an intermission. 

The long and the short of it was that Muslim terrorists had declared 15 legionaries had to die. Why? I don't know. So the superiors gathered us in the conference room and read the list of names. It was kind of like how they would give out new assignments each year. My name was on the list. 

The shock of being on the list woke me up. I got up, drank some water and went back to bed. 

Then came part two which was how the superiors were planning the day and means of execution. At the same time I was planning my escape: I would steal a legionary car and high tail it out of there. Finally, all fifteen condemned were sitting in a circle, like an encounter with Christ. The lethal pills were ready. Last thing I remember was opening the door to leave. Then I woke up.