The Church has been through the wringer. In a much smaller way, so have I. My mind has been inundated with information, data, speculations, and questions. My heart has been bleeding for the pain of those victims and the courage that they have had to come forward and share their stories. Every moment of prayer and each daily mass, when I enter the church, the recent events of abuse fill my mind and heart. Seventeen years ago I consecrated myself to Christ and His Church as a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi and I find myself asking: ‘what I am supposed to think and feel about this?’ These are horrific actions – and at the hands of men who have also dedicated themselves to Christ and the Church.
Every time I enter a church and look up at the crucified Christ, He seems to answer me silently and with a penetrating gaze. His Heart is pierced and bleeds. His Heart feels the pain and shame of every sin and every sinner and every victim. He has taken the full weight of sin upon Himself on that salvific cross. Used to the crucifix in our Catholic churches, I now see Him in a new light. From His cross, He speaks to me in a new way. He understands. He hurt. He is hurting right now. And my small offering of my own suffering heart each mass and moment of prayer, I pray can in some way be a reparation for the sins that have been committed.
Less than a decade ago, we found out about similar misconduct from the founder of Regnum Christi. That was a period of great suffering, pain and asking difficult questions and receiving tough answers. All of us had to pray much and seek the Lord and His voice – in our hearts and conscience, and in those challenging circumstances. After a few years, I came to the decision to remain in Regnum Christi and continue as Christ’s consecrated woman. I realized that I had not gotten consecrated to the founder but because Christ had personally called me and I had responded. I still felt called to Regnum Christi and had a new certainty that the rest of my life would be an offering of reparation for the sins of the founder and institution. I would seek a life of holiness: of purity and love.
Now, as I look at the Church, I am again asked the question, ‘will you leave?’ And though I am ashamed of what has happened over these decades, I did not get consecrated or choose my Catholic faith because of those who lead the church. I am Catholic because I firmly believe that Christ instituted the Church and remains as always: yesterday, today, and forever the Head of the Church.
There is a moment in The Lord of the Rings when Frodo is talking to Gandalf about the weight of the mission to carry the ring to Mordor. Their conversation speaks to my own heart. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” And so I hear Christ’s voice in my pain and prayer asking if I too will leave? And my own response echoes Saint Peter, “Lord to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68). I offer my life as an offering of reparation for the whole Church. I will continue to love and serve as I seek to build Christ’s Kingdom here on earth.