A couple telling posts from the Regnum Christi blog reveal the usual mixture of shallow discernment and fear that comprises the vocational decisions made by members of the Movement. First the track meet "parable:"
I’m a sprinter out to beat my best time and finish strong. But just as I rounded my first curve I hit something, hard. I found myself, and every other runner, sprawled out on the ground. There were hurdles in the middle of our race! Everyone was totally perplexed. Some runners got up quicker than others and continued on. Others just sat there bewildered, nursing their banged-up shins or scraped knees. Still others simply got up, dusted themselves off and walked off the track. This was not what they signed up for...
The takeaway for her was that maybe she wasn't a sprinter after all, but was really called to be a hurdler -- perish the thought that she should analyse what hurdles were in her path, and why. [This is as opposed to the young lady who spent time with the Missionaries of Charity, admired their work, and discerned it was not for her -- was she "walking off the track? Clearly not.] It also manages to imply that good Christians should accept all hurdles as the plan of God, and deal with them, and those who "walk off the track" [i.e. leave the Movement?] are pansy lightweights: Those who love Christ enough will stay!
Then we have this:
Life in the trenches can be difficult. The daily grind, the struggles of married life and raising kids, the "ordinary" schedule of school, work, cooking, carpools and errands, etc…can wear you down. Sometimes, you may feel the urge to jump out of the trench and run away from the battle, but you will find that the cross outside of the trench is actually far worse. Embrace your identity, embrace your vocation with a loving and enthusiastic spirit…God notices and he will bless this fidelity both now and into eternity!
In any other setting, a nice pep talk like this, grounded in a quote by Saint Francis de Sales, would be nice, but as with anything stemming from a Legionary, there are ripples of meaning that are not exactly Salesian. There is the fear factor, that reminds the member that no matter how bad life is inside, it's only worse outside.
Then there's the command to be enthusiastic about your vocation, with a dollop of quietism: this is where you are, so this is where God wants you to be. STET. That is standard RC-think, a variation on the theme: since you're sitting in that chair, listening to this talk, and called to this retreat, voila! you must be called to the Movement.
Ignoring urges is dangerous, for discerning where to serve the Church is not the same as the vow that nails you to your spouse and the life that entails. Any mother dreams of escape every now and then as the laundry piles up and the kids run you down -- but of course you cannot leave (for long!)
But not one single member of RC (the target audience) is in a vocation subject to vows. He doesn't explicitly say that the post is about remaining faithful to RC, but what else could he mean, especially in a blog that is meant to provide encouragement to the members, who are stumbling over hurdles and wondering if they're meant to stay?
This is unfortunate, especially when read by people who have been well-trained to submit to superiors, who will reveal God's will concerning their vocations. It's meant to continue the "steady, monotonous thrumming" that has been a part of spiritual direction from the start. And it could never be confused with Salesian thought, nor with the finer tradition of guiding souls. Pity, that.
ADDENDUM: Phew, I had a moment and just read the comments below that last thread linked (with the Narnia quote). Those are powerful little testaments to the manipulation inside. That was Sept. 2009, and very little has changed. Do read them if you have the time.