Monday, December 16, 2013

First Love Syndrome

For those of us who are outside the influence of the legion or the RC it is easy to see how we were influence and manipulated. For those who are still in, it’s not so clear, and it is quite impossible.

There is something I like to call the “First love” syndrome, not because it is an illness, but because it helps to understand a person’s loyalty. Many present day Catholics came back to the Church by way of movements like the Charismatic Renewal, the Cursillo Movement, Opus Dei, Shalom and so many others. Regnum Christi and the Legionaries are included in the list. No doubt many have left behind worldly ways and begun to live their faith more fully with the help of one of these moments. Once converted, a person makes a conscious decision to never go back to living like they did before. There is a deep gratitude toward the movement as an instrument of that conversion. It is, for many, their first true love.

I see this often in my parish. I have helped two dozen couples who were living together to marry in the Church, and they are devoted unconditionally to the parish: they would not think of giving their time to another. Like any parish we are made up of imperfect sinners, beginning with its Pastor. But that doesn’t matter. People are grateful for the grace received through the parish.

The same can be said for loyal Legionaries and Regnum Christi members. They are grateful God has touched them through the Legion and the Movement. Many still hold to their devotion to the Founder.  They are willing to forego, and even accept the manipulation and the lies. It is, for them, just fallen human nature. And the support they receive from others who are equally manipulated and lied to helps them get by day to day.

Someone is deeply in love with and unfaithful spouse is capable of forgiving the infidelity at all costs. Many Legionaries and Regnum Christi members are deeply in love with the Legion, Movement and its Founder. That’s a fact. It’s their first love. It doesn’t matter how much they have been (and are being) deceived. They cannot turn their backs on their first love, and they cannot turn their backs on God.  

It is only when one steps outside the box that the real destructive effects of this can be seen clearly, as many of us have experienced. The manipulation and lies clouded our reason and freedom to the point of unconditional fealty sometimes tainted with fear of losing faith if we denied total surrender to the gift received. But now we see that renewed faith came from God through an instrument that is no longer necessary. Our faith lives despite that instrument.

Others have lost their faith in God and the Church on leaving the Legion or Regnum Christi. I pray for them. I don’t judge them. God never abandons his children. After all, it is not their fault if their first love let them down. 

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