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Allocutios by Fr. Andrew Matthew,
the Spiritual Director to the Senatus.

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The Legion of Mary Apostolate and St Patrick
Thursday, 26 May 2016
The Legion of Mary Apostolate and St Patrick.

“The blessing of heaven was upon the apostolate of St. Patrick.
The hills and valleys of Erin were lit up with the light of divine truth; and the whole nation, with heroism, of fervour, and devotion, and gratitude, never surpassed in the history of the Church, embraced the Catholic faith, and were gathered into the one true fold.

The daughter of Lir, tells us, she was held captive under druidical spell for 400 years. St. Patrick arriving on the shores of the lake, erected his altar to offer the holy sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, and no sooner was the tinkling of the little bell heard on the waters than the enchanter's spell was broken, and the fair daughter of Lir arose in the full grace and bloom of youth, and strengthened by faith and arrayed in heavenly comeliness knelt for the saint's blessing at the altar of God. Wherever the apostle went, the cross of Christ triumphed; and, though he had many difficulties and dangers to encounter, yet his charity and patience, and prayer and miracles overcame them all.

St. Patrick sets out for Tara. He is accompanied by his deacons and priests. The youthful Benen, still fragrant with the freshness of baptismal grace, went before the saint bearing the gospels on his breast. The saint himself, wearing a crown which was then the symbol of the episcopal authority, and bearing the blessed staff in his hand, intoned the invocation of the Trinity as an armour of salvation against the snares of the evil one. Truly solemn was that day, and momentous were the issues at stake. Light and darkness, life and death, the slavery of sin and the freedom of the children of God were in the balance for the Irish nation.”
Archbishop of Sydney Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran,
St. Patrick's Day, 9th May 1885

We the Legion of Mary can learn from St Patrick’s apostolic zeal. St Patrick’s apostolate to Ireland was successful through his prayer, organization skills, and personal zeal.

Let us in the Legion of Mary learn lessons from St Patrick.

1. Let us engage in serious interior prayer.

2. Keep the unity and purpose of our organization.

3. Do our 2 hours “substantial apostolic work” every week.

St Patrick’s zeal for lost souls poured forth from His interior life in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
It is well recorded that St Patrick was a man of prayer.
Prayer inspires us and strengthens us to do great things for God.
Prayer allows us to overcome all the obstacles we face every day in our Apostolate.

The Legion Handbook say; “The holiness of the member is of fundamental importance for the Legion. It is moreover the primary means of action, for only in the measure that the legionary possesses grace can he be the channel of it to others. Hence it is that the legionary begins his membership by a request to be filled, through Mary, with the Holy Spirit and to be used as an instrument of his power which is to renew the face of the earth.”

Another means for St Patrick’s success was the unity of his plan.
His apostolic organization and zeal was not left up to chance.
St Patrick would arrive at each village; with men and women who with suitable talents would be able to begin immediately to build churches and schools; to make the necessary liturgical equipment; and to train the next generation in these trades. One can just image how St Patrick would, with procession of evangelizers walking before him and carts full of church goods following, would enter into each new apostolate.

A firm structure of work would begin in every village the Saint entered. After a set period of evangelization St Patrick would move onto the next village, and so his apostolate gathered momentum and, success. When the time of intensive apostolate was over St Patrick would depart leaving a Priest for the Sacraments; Religious Brothers and Nuns and the first monastery building. He would leave the village full of the newly baptized, all ready to be governed, taught, and sanctified. A well-organized missionary apostolate had begun. Saint Patrick always left a village he had visited with the means to continue in their new found Catholic Faith.

Another lesson we can learn from St Patrick is giving a substantial time to the work of the Apostolate. St Patrick spent substantial time in each village building up his apostolate and preaching to the people. Sometimes St Patrick stayed years in one village or another, building up his apostolate and taking care of the souls God had given to him.

Cardinal Riberi, formerly Apostolic Delegate to the Missions in Africa and China once said about the Legion of Mary Apostolate:

"The Legion of Mary is an Apostolate, attractive and alluring; throbbing with life so that it wins all to it; dependent on the Virgin Mother of God; insistent on the quality of membership and numerical strength; safeguarded by plenteous prayer and self-sacrifice, an exact system, and completely in co-operation with the priest.
The Legion of Mary is a miracle of these times."
Part 3. The Legion and the Lay Apostolate,
Chapter 10 The Legion Apostolate,
Legion of Mary Handbook, pg59.

I think St Patrick would agree with all Cardinal Riberi has said about the Legion Apostolate.
In the Legion of Mary we should inmate the lessons found in the life of St Patrick.

1. Let us engage in serious interior prayer.

2. Keep the unity and purpose of our Apostolate.

3. Do our 2 hours “substantial apostolic work” every week.
 
Pray Always
Thursday, 26 May 2016
Pray always!
Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them
that they should always pray and never give up. Luke 18:1

Padre Pio used to carry permanently a Rosary in his hands and would pray it many times a day.
One night to his helper Fr Onorato Marcucci, Padre Pio grabbing His Rosary beads said; "With this, one wins the battles."
Father Marcellino testified that he had to help Padre Pio wash his hands always, one at a time, "because Padre Pio didn't want to leave praying his rosary beads, and passed the Rosary from one hand to the other."
To Lucia Merlinda: "After the Glory, say: Jesus, I love you, and I repent for offending You."
About the repetitiveness of the Rosary Padre Pio said; "Pay attention to the mysteries, they change at every decade."
To Enedina Mori: "When you get tired reciting the Rosary, rest a bit, and then restart again."
To Fr Carmelo at 9:00pm before bed: "I still have 2 rosaries to pray today. I said only 34 so far. Then I will go to bed."
Answering to Fr Michelangelo; "Today I said 32 or 33 rosaries, maybe 1 or 2 more."
Answering Fr Mariano question on how may Rosaries Padre Pio said a day: "About 30, maybe some more, but not less." Fr Mariano said, 'How do you do it?
Padre Pio answered; "What is the night for?"
Answering a similar question Padre Pio said; "Some days I say 40 Rosaries, some other days 50."
The person asked; How do I do it?
Padre Pio answered; "How do you manage, not so say any!"
To Lucia Pennelli one morning around 7:00 AM after Mass: "How many rosaries did you say so far today?" 'Two". Padre Pio answered; "I already have said seven."
To Lucietta Pennelli, one day at about noon: "Today I have already said 16 complete Rosaries."

Obviously unlike Padre Pio we cannot be continually carrying a Rosary in our hands, but in our lives we can place objects that continually recall us to prayer. A Holy Water Stoop at the door reminds us to pray as we leave the house. A Holy Picture at the entrance way of our house reminds us to greet God and the Saints when we arrive home again. Holy Pictures are important in all family homes as children grow up with these picture memories. A Family Shrine helps us to pray as a family. On the shrine you can have your favorite statues, pictures of the saints, even pictures of past relatives, so that you are reminded to pray for the repose of their souls. In your bedroom you need to have a Prayer Station, a Crucifix, and Holy Pictures on your walls. These are great helps to remind you to say your night prayers and morning offering. In the kitchen you can glue a crucifix on the fridge you remind you to offer a sacrifice to God some time during the day. In the garden you can build a shrines or even the Stations of the Cross. These are very good places to go to when you need some peace and quiet.
And finally in the car you can glue a statue on the dashboard or a pray card to remind you to pray while you a caught in traffic. These are just some helps to pray like Padre Pio used his Rosary Beads.

 
The Legion of Mary Altar
Wednesday, 19 August 2015

In the Handbook we read:
The table around which they (first) met bore a simple altar,
of which the center was a statue of the Immaculate Conception
(of the miraculous medal model).
It stood on a white cloth, and was flanked by two vases with flowers,
and two candlesticks with lighted candles.
This setting, so rich in atmosphere, was the inspired notion of one of the earliest comers.
It crystallized everything for which the Legion of Mary stands.
Legion of Mary Handbook Name and Origin, Chapter 1, Pg10

Legion of Mary altar crystallizes the Spirit of the Legion of Mary

How does our Legion Altar crystalize our Legion Spirit?

The Spirit of unity is crystallized as all our Altars are identical in the Legion of Mary. The Altar crystallizes the spiritual union of good works (the Spiritual works of Mercy) we all make in communion with Our Lady in the Legion of Mary. We are one worldwide body and Legion Apostolate. Our prayers are unified for one common goal the salvation of our own souls and that of our neighbor, and the Altar reflects the spiritual communion we are, whenever we gather, wherever we gather in the world. We are one spiritual army.

Our white Altar Cloth – reminds us of the white Altar Cloth of the Mass.
The white Altar cloth should remind us of the spirit of self-sacrifice which Jesus teaches us every day at the Mass and the power of the Legion apostolate has in being united with the Eucharistic Christ. Legion of Mary members are encouraged to attend Mass every day, it is one of the elements of the Adjutorian’s rank.
On the Altar cloth is sewn Legio Mariae (not the Praesidium Name) – this is a further sign of our Spirit of unity. We are the ONE Legion of Mary wherever we gather.

The legion hand book asks for “silver Candlesticks and silver flower vases” – silver reminds us of the purity of the Blessed Virgin’s Faith. This “unwavering” faith we imamate in union with Mary, it is prayed for in our Legion Catena, and recommended to us in our Legion Handbook. There are many quotes in the Bible about silver being a symbol of pure faith in God, here is just a couple;
For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined - Psalm 66

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” - Isaiah 48

“But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.
He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver” - Malachi 3

Our freshly cut flowers – are a sign of our living Spirit of Charity.
This Legion Charity is firstly directed towards God and then to our neighbour. I have always recommended fresh flowers, not plastic because they are such a sign of true living love. Fresh flowers take an effort to attain, and so does love. The flowers remind us of God’s love towards all mankind in creation and how our love should be a garden of delight towards Him who is our creator.

The Legion Vexillum – is the pillar of the Spirit of the Legion Apostolate, the Vexillum chrysalises the Apostolate of the Legion of Mary.
The Vexillum Legionis begins with the emblem of the Holy Spirit.
Beneath the Dove a is the inscription “Legio Mariae” (Legion of Mary).
Then the Miraculous Medal bearing the revealed truth of the Immaculate Conception, and Our Lady’s own desired prayer for us; "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee"
The staff of the Vexillum piercing into the world globe can remind us of the Good Shepherd and Legion loyalty to our Bishop. The Vexillium design conveys the idea that the world is to be conquered by the Holy Spirit acting through Mary and her children.

And lastly the statue of Our Lady – is the spirit of Mary herself, and is the center piece of our Altar, the statue represents the Queen present among her soldiers.
“It is through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world’
and it is also fitting that, through her, He should reign over the world.”
Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, St Louis-Maria De Monfort, page 9.


From the Handbook:
“1. The setting of every meeting shall be uniform.
The members should sit around a table at one end of which for the purpose of the meeting a small temporary altar is erected. On a white cloth of sufficient size is placed a statue of the Immaculate Conception (in the attitude of the distribution of Graces), preferably about two feet (60 cm) high - flanked by two vases of flowers and two candlesticks with lighted candles. A little to the right of the statue, and a little in advance of it, should be set the vexillum.
As the idea is that the statue represents the Queen present among her soldiers, the altar must not be separated from the meeting-table or so placed as to remove the statue outside the circle of the members. Filial love towards our Heavenly Mother dictates that the equipment and the flowers should be as good as possible; the equipment is not a recurring item of expense. Possibly a benefactor or some other good fortune might put the praesidium in possession of silver vases and candlesticks. It should be regarded as an honourable duty on the part of some legionary to keep the vexillum and the vases and candlesticks clean and bright, and duly provided with flowers and candles at the expense of the praesidium.
If natural flowers are absolutely unobtainable it would be allowable to use artificial ones with some greenery added to provide the element of living nature.
In climates where it is necessary to shield the flame of the candles, plain glass cups or globes, which will not conceal the candle itself, may be fitted on to the top of the candle.
The words "Legio Mariae" may be worked upon the cloth, but not the name of the praesidium. Points of unity, not of distinction, should be stressed.”



 

 
Mary Mediatrix of all Graces
Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Our Lady Mediatrix of all Graces

God can dispense His gifts, as He chooses,
when He chooses
and to whom He chooses
and through whom He chooses.

When we investigate the Divine Plan we can clearly see Mary has a special place in Salvation History. Mary is the Women of Genesis and Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

God willed to include Mary in His Divine Plan in repairing the fall of Adam.
God chose Mary from the beginning to humble the pride of Lucifer who tricked Eve into sinning. Eve, the first woman whom God created, was truly a royal Queen with her endowments and destiny; for God wished Eve to be “mother of all the living”, as indicated by the meaning of her name in Genesis 3:20, and to serve as an example to those who would come after her.
As Eve through Adam was conquered by the deceiver into sinning, so the reverse is true about Mary. God wills to restore His friendship to fallen man through the obedience of Mary.
In the Bible we can see God often chooses what the world considers “weak” and He makes them strong for His mighty purposes.
Queen Esther, who pleaded before the angry King, foreshadows Mary’s intercession before the King of kings; and Hannah who was faithful in prayer foreshadowed Mary’s faithful trust in God. There are many other biblical examples of Mary being foreshadowed in salvation history.

Mary Mediatrix of all Graces.
When we think of Mary’s title of Mediatrix of all Grace a certain theological tension arises in the words “all Graces”. In this phrase some wrongly consider God is being a servant to Mary or Jesus is no longer the supreme mediator before God. It is as if Jesus has to “check in” to see if it is okay for him to have cured a sick person or to heal a blind man.
They see Mary Mediatrix of all Graces, as a title taking God’s freedom away.
This is an erroneous way of thinking and is based in a lack of understanding on how the Holy Spirit works.
God the Holy Spirit dwells in our souls and delights to act through us.
This is the very meaning of the words of the Mass, through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all glory and honour is Yours Almighty Father, forever and ever, Amen. God chooses to channel His grace through Mary His Mother for His greater glory.
This channeling is both active and passive in Mary.

Mary is the supreme co-operator in our salvation.
Mary has an active spirit in the grace we receive when she intercedes for us directly, and Mary has a passive spirit when she knowingly, freely, co-operates with all Her Son’s works.
Being a “Mediatrix of all Graces” does not require Jesus to be subservient to the will of His Mother but rather He freely chooses to include Mary in all His actions, for His Glory, and Her greater glory. The graces that come to us through Jesus may be said to come to us also through Mary not as the origin of the graces, but as a conduit, the channel of grace.
As a Catholic Priest I am well aware I give to others something I do not produce myself.
My active will is to provide the sacraments and hence all God’s grace to souls. My co-operation is both active and passive, I do not know what each soul is given, but I am happy that they are receiving God’s grace. I freely co-operate with what God is doing through me.

Comclusion:
“One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her.

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?”
Song of Solomon 6:10
 
The Legion of Mary and St Patrick
Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Legion of Mary and St Patrick.

“The blessing of heaven was upon the apostolate of St. Patrick.

The hills and valleys of Erin were lit up with the light of divine truth; and the whole nation, with a heroism, of fervor, and devotion, and gratitude, never surpassed in the history of the Church, embraced the Catholic faith, and were gathered into the one true fold. 

The daughter of Lir, tells us, she was held captive under druidical spell for 400 years. St. Patrick arriving on the shores of the lake, erected his altar to offer the holy sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, and no sooner was the tinkling of the little bell heard on the waters than the enchanter's spell was broken, and the fair daughter of Lir arose in the full grace and bloom of youth, and strengthened by faith and arrayed in heavenly comeliness knelt for the saint's blessing at the altar of God. Wherever the apostle went, the cross of Christ triumphed; and, though he had many difficulties and dangers to encounter, yet his charity and patience, and prayer and miracles overcame them all. 

St. Patrick sets out for Tara. He is accompanied by his deacons and priests. The youthful Benen, still fragrant with the freshness of baptismal grace, went before the saint bearing the gospels on his breast. The saint himself, wearing a crown which was then the symbol of the episcopal authority, and bearing the blessed staff in his hand, intoned the invocation of the Trinity as an armour of salvation against the snares of the evil one.  Truly solemn was that day, and momentous were the issues at stake. Light and darkness, life and death, the slavery of sin and the freedom of the children of God were in the balance for the Irish nation.”

Archbishop of Sydney Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran, St. Patrick's Day, 9th May 1885

We, the Legion of Mary, can learn from St Patrick’s apostolic zeal. 

St Patrick’s apostolate to Ireland was successful through his prayer, organization skills, and personal zeal. 

We in the Legion of Mary can learn valuable lessons from St Patrick.

1.         The need to engage in serious daily interior prayer.

2.         To always keep the unity and purpose of our organization.

3.         Do our 2 hours “substantial apostolic work” every week.

St Patrick’s zeal for lost souls poured forth from His interior life in Christ and the Holy Spirit.  

It is well recorded that St Patrick was a man of prayer. 

Prayer inspires us and strengthens us to do great things for God; prayer allows us to overcome all the obstacles we face every day in our Apostolate. 

The Legion Handbook say; “The holiness of the member is of fundamental importance for the Legion. It is moreover the primary means of action, for only in the measure that the legionary possesses grace can he be the channel of it to others. Hence it is that the legionary begins his membership by a request to be filled, through Mary, with the Holy Spirit and to be used as an instrument of his power which is to renew the face of the earth.”  

Another means for St Patrick’s success was the unity of his plan.  His apostolic organization and zeal was not left up to chance.  It is well known that St Patrick would bring men and women with suitable talents to build churches and schools and to make the necessary liturgical equipment; carts full of church goods would rattle in with the Saint’s team of evangelizers.  A firm structure of work would begin in every village the Saint entered.  After a set period of evangelization St Patrick would move onto the next village, and so his apostolate would gather momentum and success.  When the time of intensive apostolate was over St Patrick would depart leaving a Priest and possible Deacons, Religious Brothers and Nuns, to teach the catechism and work with the people.  A well-organized missionary apostolate had begun. Saint Patrick always left a village he had visited with the means to continue in their new found Catholic Faith.

Another lesson we can learn from St Patrick is giving a substantial time to the work of the Apostolate.  St Patrick spent substantial time in each village building up his apostolate and preaching to the people.  He stayed years in one village or another, building up his apostolate and taking care of the souls God had given to him. 

In the Legion of Mary we should inmate the lessons found in the life of St Patrick.

  1. Let us engage in serious interior prayer.
  2. Keep the unity and purpose of our Apostolate.
  3. Do our 2 hours “substantial apostolic work” every week.

Cardinal Riberi, formerly Apostolic Delegate to the Missions in Africa and China once said about the Legion of Mary Apostolate: "The Legion of Mary is an Apostolate, attractive and alluring; throbbing with life so that it wins all to it; dependent on the Virgin Mother of God; insistent on the quality of membership and numerical strength; safeguarded by plenteous prayer and self-sacrifice, an exact system, and completely in co-operation with the priest. The Legion of Mary is a miracle of these times."  Legion of Mary Handbook.

ST. PATRICK'S APOSTOLATE.

One of the finest and most eloquent panegyrics of Ireland's Patron Saint was delivered on St. Patrick's Day by the Archbishop of Sydney in his Cathedral, and we wish we could re-produce it in its entirety. The discourse fell under three heads : the marvellous and mysterious ways by which Providence prepared St. Patrick to be the Apostle of Ireland ; the fruitfulness which the blessing of heaven imparted to his apostolate ; and the fruits of his apostolate perpetuated to his children and cherished by them as their most precious birthright and inheritance. Having traced his early years, his call, and his life, to the time of his leaving St. Germanus, the Archbishop proceeded to exemplify the first division of his subject :

THE MIRACLE OF TARA.

The blessing of heaven was upon the apostolate of St. Patrick. The hills and valleys of Erin were lit up with the light of divine truth ; and the whole nation, with a heroism of fervour and devotion and gratitude never surpassed in the history of the Church, embraced the Catholic faith, and were gathered into the one true fold. One of the early writers of Ireland has depicted, under poetic imagery, this marvellous conversion of the nation. The daughter of Lir, he tells us, was held captive under druidical spell for 400 years. Clothed with the snowwhite plumage of the swan, she moved silent and solitary over the waters of Lough Foyle. St. Patrick arriving on the shores of the lake, erected his altar to offer the holy sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, and no sooner was the tinkling of the little bell heard on the waters than the enchanter's spell was broken, and the fair daughter of Lir arose in the full grace and bloom of youth, and strengthened by faith and arrayed in heavenly comeliness knelt for the saint's blessing at the altar of God. Wherever the apostle went, the cross of Christ triumphed ; and, though he had many difficulties and dangers to encounter, yet his charity and patience, and prayer and miracles overcame them all. He bent his steps to Tara, then the chief monarch's seat and the great centre of the druidical worship, to announce in the presence of the assembled princes of Erin the glad tidings of redemption. As he journeyed on, the feast of Easter was at hand, and on the hill of Slane, in full view of Tara's banqueting hall, he lit the Paschal fire, symbol of the divine gift of faith and charity of which he was the bearer to Erin. The monarch Leoghaire was celebrating a pagan feast with solemn rites in Tara's royal halls. The princes and warriors of Erin, the Brehons and chief druids and magicians, all were assembled there, and it was the rule that during this pagan feast every fire was quenched throughout Erin under the penalty of death, until the signal fire would be kindled on the summit of Tara. The druids announce to the monarch that a stranger has dared to transgress his law, and they forebode that unless before morning's dawn this fire be extinguished, their kingdom shall be destroyed and their religion overcome. St. Patrick is now summoned to appear before Leoghaire, and obeys with joy. As the leader of the chosen people stood before Pharaoh to demand the freedom of the son of Israel, so he shall plead that the tribes of Erin be at length freed from the thraldom of Satan. St. Patrick sets out for Tara. He is accompanied by his deacons and priests. The youthful Benen, who the day before had scattered flowers on his bosom as he slept, and had clung to his feet, praying never to be separated from him, and who was still fragrant with the freshness of baptismal grace, went before the saint bearing the gospels on his breast. The saint himself, wearing a crown which was then the symbol of the episcopal authority, and bearing the blessed staff in his hand, intoned the invocation of the Trinity as an armour of salvation against the snares of the evil one. Truly solemn was that day, and momentous were the issues at stake. Light and darkness, life and death, the slavery of sin and the freedom of the children of God were in the balance for the Irish nation. The monarch was enthroned in royal state ; his chieftains and poets and wisest men were around him. The druids left nothing undone that the malice of Satan could suggest to achieve the triumph of paganism. Armed men were placed in ambush to assail the saint, the royal war-chariots were sent against him, poison and every magic spell were made use of to destroy him. But all was in vain. The invocation of the blessed Trinity was a breastplate of salvation, and the power of God brought him unharmed from every assault. Through the druidical incantations deep snow had fallen upon the slopes of Tara, and a dense cloud had spread darkness over the fair plains of Meath. St. Patrick chided them that their diabolical power was only for evil and not for blessing, and in the

name of God defied them to remove the cloud or the snow that had fallen around them. All their incantations were now made in vain, and then St. Patrick knelt in prayer, and at his prayer the snow melted away and the cloud lifted up as a curtain, and the green fields of Meath were seen once more in all their freshness. To the monarch and assembled chieftains he then unfolded the sacred mysteries of divine faith, the creation and redemption, God's Trinity and Unity, the infinite love and mercy, the eternal destiny that awaits us ; and as he spoke the chief druids listened in breathless silence, and the princes quitted their seats to gather around him, for never before had such words of heavenly wisdom been heard in Erin. On that day truth triumphed. Many of the chiefs and druids embraced the faith, and leave was given to the missionary to announce the tidings of redemption through the length and breadth of the land.

THE SAINTS OF ERIN.

Treating of the fruits of St. Patrick's work, his Grace said For 300 years the whole Christian world looked to the Church of Ireland as the home of learning and virtue, the sanctuary of civilisation and religion. And happy was it for Europe that God had thus formed to Himself a shrine of faith and piety in the hearts of the Irish people. Whilst St. Patrick was engaged in the labours of his apostolate, wave after wave of barbarians was pouring in upon the.Imperial province of Rome, and what were hitherto fruitful gardens were changed into desolate and barren wilderness. Clovis and his Franks were destroying the last traces of Roman civilisation in Gaul. Attila and his Huns were plundering Italy. Countless other barbarian hordes laid waste each fairest district of Europe, till it would seem that barbarism had again settled down upon the land, and the sun of learning and civilisation had for ever set. The names of many tribes and peoples were then heard for the first time in Christendom. Those names have been heard of ever since. They were then the symbol of pagan

barbarism, the scourges of the Christian world. For 1,200 years they have been the symbol of Christian heroism, the centres of European civilisation. Whence this marvellous change ? The Christian world is

indebted for it to the saints and the missionaries of Ireland. It pleases heaven at times in the spiritual life to reverse the material order of

things, and so in the ways of God it was decreed that from the remote island of the west, the sun of religion and civilisation shoul arise from the nations that were thus plunged into darkness. The saints and scholars of Erin were found everywhere labouring as only apostles could labour, securing for themselves the confessor's golden crown, and many, too, winning the palm of the martyrs of Christ. They sanctified the Picts and evangelised the Saxons. They instructed the Franks in Gaul, and the Allemaai in Switzerland. They triumphantly combated Arianism among the Lombards, they planted the cross of Christ over the shrines of paganism far beyond the Rhine, and onwards to the very banks of the Danube. The Irish monasteries of Iona and Lindisfarne were for centuries schools of saints and the chief centres of learning and piety for Great Britain. Luxeuil and Bobbio were for a thou-sand years named with honour among the great sanctuaries of the western world. St. Columbanus shall never be forgotten in France and Italy. St. Gall, after the vicissitudes of a thousand years, is still the patron of the city and canton of Switzerland which bears his name. The Abbey of Sackingen honours St. Fridolin as its founder. St. Catholdus preached the faith in Taranto. On his festival day thousands of pilgrims visit his precious relics at Sezze. St. Donatus is patron of Fiesole ; St. Romuld, of Mechlin ; Salzburg enshrines the relics of St. Virgilius, the apostle of Carinthia. Wurzburg, too, in its venerable cathedral, honours St. Kilian as chief patron, who by his preaching and miracles and martyrdom won for himself the aureola of the apostolate of Franconia. And so the name of Ireland, as the island of saints and missionaries and scholars, was honoured throughout all Christendom, and from her bright sanctuaries at homle she reflected the light of religion and civilisation upon almost all the churches of Europe.

THE INHERITANCE OF IRELAND.

What shall I say of those ages when the fidelity of her sons was tried in the crucible of persecution ? The persecution which Ireland suf fered for the faith was the most lengthened and continuous ever endured by any Christian nation. Other Churches may point with pride to the bright list of names which they have added to the roll of

the martyrs of Christ. It is Ireland's glory that she offers to God a whole nation of martyrs. And how terrible was that martyrdom I For 300 years death, exile, or the prison, was the portion of her Catholic children, and every means that the power and wealth of this world could wield, and which the perverted ingenuity of man could devise, was availed of to corrupt and destroy their faith. But Ireland

remained true to God and to the teachings of St. Patrick. Like the oak in the forest when the tempest rages around it, the Catholic faith amid those trials of persecution struck deeper its sacred roots in the

genial soil of the affections of the Irish people. The branches that were torn from the parent trunk, though borne by the violence of the storm to distant lands, did not wither or decay. They have taken root in evety climate. They have grown in comeliness, and their blossoms have been blossoms of peace, and their fruits have been fruits of blessing, and they have yielded to the nations around them a saving shade. And now that the era of persecution has closed, what do we see ? We see Ireland as immovably as ever attached to the 'divine faith preached by St. Patrick, and her people are as fervent to-day in works of charity and in every exercise of religion, as they were in the golden ages of piety. The Irish Church has renewed its strength as the eagle, and stands erect in the full vigour of youth and in the freshness of its early comeliness, without a trace of decreptitude or decay. Once more the Irish missionaries are to be found the heralds of the Catholic faith in every land. I should rather have said that the whole nation has become a nation of missionaries, and wherever the true Irish emigrant finds a home, churches spring up and schools are erected and piety abounds. Like the children of God described by the Psalmist, they have gone forth in sadness and have wept, casting their seeds. With sorrow they forsook their motherland, its green hills, its ivy-clad ruins, and the loving friends so dear to them. But wherever they went they cast the seed of the Catholic faith, and that sacred seed has produced fruit a hundredfold. "Coming they shall come with joyfulness carrying their sheaves." (Psalm cxxv.) Their children are true to the piety and the traditions of their fathers. In England and Scotland and Canada and the United States, and our own Australias, flourishing churches have arisen, full of life and vigour, radiant with faith, and worthy of the palmiest days of Christendom. In truth heaven has set its seal upon the fruits of St. Patrick's apostolate. May that seal ever remain unbroken ! May the blessing of St. Patrick be ever upon the dear old land of the west, and may his prayers be with his children in whatsoever clime their lot be cast, that their faith may be ever fervent and their lamp of virtue be never extinguished ! May we be true to the lessons of heavenly wisdom which he taught, and diffuse around us the blessings of piety, charity, and peace, and thus the old Celtic race which St. Patrick won to God, may ever continue to be in the future as it has been in the past, the consolation of the Church and the glory of Christendom !

 
St Louis Maria De Montfort – The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Friday, 16 May 2014

Feast day 28th April

 

I would like to divide this talk into three devotions that St Louis Maria De Montfort calls for in his treatise, True Devotion to Mary

  1. He calls for a disturbing - Holy Slavery.
  2. He calls for a disturbing - True Devotion.
  3. He calls for a disturbing – Way, through Mary to Jesus.

Often the spiritual treatise of St. Louis de Montfort's is also known as;

Holy Slavery to Mary,

The True Devotion to Mary,

The Total Consecration to Mary,

A Holy Slavery

Echoing St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians St Louis Maria De Montfort promotes a “Holy Slavery” through Mary to Jesus.

This is how St Louis Maria De Montfort explains holy slavery:

“Now there are 3 kinds of slavery;

natural slavery,

enforced slavery,

and voluntary slavery.

 

All creatures are slaves of God in the first sense, for "the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord".

The devils and the damned are slaves in the second sense.

The saints in heaven and the just on earth are slaves in the third sense.

 

Voluntary slavery is the most perfect of all three states, for by it we give the greatest glory to God, who looks into the heart and wants it to be given to him. Is he not indeed called the God of the heart or of the loving will?

For by this slavery we freely choose God and his service before all things, even if we were not by our very nature obliged to do so.” 

True Devotion to Mary Chap 2, para. 70.

Saint Paul wrote;

“For he who was called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.”  1 Corinthians 7:21

St Louis Maria De Montfort is not asking for something Mary has not already given herself.  Mary acknowledges her total reliance on God in the Annunciation by saying; “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word”. 

In a real way Mary was the first to say what we all say in the annual Acies but her consecration was to Yahweh;

I am all yours Yahweh

And all that I have is Yours

My Lord and My God

The Legion of Mary has accepted the value of this true devotion of holy slavery.  We make ourselves (to a certain extent) “slaves” to Mary by the complete consecration of ourselves in Acies consecration...   

 “I am all yours My Queen and My Mother,

and all that I have is Yours”.

Secondly, A True Devotion

St Louis Maria De Montfort calls for a “true spirit” in our devotion. 

He outlines his true devotion as;

  1. A real desire to serve from God from your heart.
  2. Prolonged prayer that proves and supports your desire.
  3. Death to self.
  4. And a true love of suffering.

In our Legion Promise we have dedicated ourselves to the Most Holy Spirit for Him to use… “my poor acts”…and that they may be sustained by His power, and become an instrument of His mighty purposes.”  We say: “let your power overshadow me, and come into my soul with fire and love, and make it one with Mary's love.”  This is truly the foundation of Louis Maria De Montfort’s True Devotion.  We can find it in the Legion of Mary.  If we could but only live out our Legion promise, what great saints we would all become.

St Louis Maria De Montfort’s True Devotion has even been practiced by Saint Pope John Paul II.  In 2003, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to the Montfort religious family. 

He said:

“As is well known, my episcopal coat of arms symbolically illustrates the Gospel text;

“Standing by the Cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, Your son!’. Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, Your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took Her to his own home” (Jn 19: 25-27).

… and the motto Totus tuus is inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort.

These two words express total belonging to Jesus through Mary: “Tuus totus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt,” 

As St. Louis Marie wrote and translated them as:

“I am all Yours, and all that I have is Yours,

O most loving Jesus, through Mary, Your most holy Mother”

This Saint's teaching has had a profound influence on my own life.  Reading the True Devotion to Mary has marked a decisive turning point in my life.  

I said 'turning point', although this is a long inner journey....

Totus Tuus – by Pope John Paul II

Mary Immaculate

Totally yours, Totus Tuus,

Immaculate Conception, Mary my Mother,

Live in me, Act in me,

Speak in me and through me,

Think your thoughts in my mind,

Love through my heart,

Give me your dispositions and feelings,

Teach, lead me and guide me to Jesus,

Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and behavior,

Possess my soul,

Take over my entire personality and life, replace it with Yourself,

Incline me to constant adoration,

Pray in me and through me,

Let me live in you and keep me in this union always

Thirdly, A Way through Mary to Jesus

In the True Devotion St Louis Maria De Monfort says;

“…here are some very sanctifying interior practices for those souls who feel called by the Holy Spirit to a high degree of perfection.

They may be expressed in four words, doing everything,

 through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary,

in order to do it more perfectly through Jesus,

with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus.”

True Devotion to Mary Chapter 8, Para. 257.

These words of St Loius Maria De Montford, especially for any Priest, are disturbing as they are the same words the Priest says in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass just after the consecration while offering our Sacrificial Victim to God the Most High…

Through him, and with him, and in him,

O God, almighty Father,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all glory and honor is yours,

forever and ever. Amen.

St Loius Maria de Montfort suggests doing everything,

through Mary,

with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary,

in order to do it more perfectly

through Jesus,

with Jesus,

in Jesus, and for Jesus.

So, quite rightly, this “Way” has its completion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  

Recently in the Mass the Church has brought back the word “oblation”.  An oblation is a complete offering of something to God.  In fact the latin “ob latus” hints at a complete outpouring.  When we use that word oblation at Mass we are asking God for the grace to pour out our lives before Him, through Jesus and with Jesus and in Jesus. 

Mary has a good reason to lead us in every Mass. 

It is through her body that she gave Jesus His body. 

The same body Jesus offers to His Father on our behalf at every Mass. 

It only makes sense to allow Mary to bring us to the body of her Son Jesus; she fittingly prepares us to “pour out” our lives in True Devotion to the One who is the source and summit of all grace and charity in the Church. 

If you have not read St Louis Maria de Montfort True Devotion to Mary I suggest you get a copy and read it slowly and perhaps the best place would be in a Church before the Blessed Sacrament.

 
What is Faith?
Saturday, 10 May 2014

To see what Faith is we can look under 3 headings.

  1. The Authority of Faith
  2. The Content of Faith
  3. The Perfection of Faith

1. The Authority of Faith.

Our Catholic Faith comes from the authority of God who reveals His Divine Plan for the salvation of souls.  Faith rests solely on the authority of God. 

Who is speaking? God is speaking. 

Who is commanding? God is commanding.

The first Commandment tells us.

You must love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Jesus called this is the first and greatest commandment.

The first commandment directs us to believe in God at all times.

We must accept his Word and acknowledge his authority over us.  

God alone is almighty, infinitely good, and unchanging.

In our Catholic Faith we confess knowing the truth about God and His Divine Will for His people.  The gift of Faith calls for our co-operation; a holy obedience to God, by which men and women commit their whole lives to God, offering the full submission of their minds and hearts. To have this kind of Faith is a gift from God; in fact it must be directly given by God Himself to each soul.  The Church calls this kind of faith, the “infused virtue” of Faith.

The authority of God calls for our obedience.

Submission of mind and heart is given to God.  But how do we know God is speaking?

God sends us authentic messengers, not just anyone can speak for God, they must be sent by God.  Anyone who speaks in God’s NAME must be sent, with authority, to speak for God!

God sent patriarchs, prophets and finally He sent His Son, Jesus. 

Jesus is the complete and last Word God has spoken to His people.

And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side.

The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them,

"Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:21

In His turn Jesus sent His Apostles to be His authentic messengers. 

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned”.  Mark 16:15

2. The content of our Faith

What are we to believe?

Jesus is the fulfilment of all the content of what we are to believe.

Jesus said; I am the Way; I am the Truth; I am the Light.

The content of our Catholic Faith begins in the written lives and legacy of the great men and women of the Old Testament. 

Abraham is called “the father of Faith” and Moses is the great Lawgiver of God.

But the fullness of Faith, the complete content of our Faith, is found only, with Jesus, in Jesus, and through Jesus.  He alone is the final Word of God, find Jesus and you find the content of our Faith. The content of our Faith can therefore be found in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Eucharist is the living presence of Jesus in the world. 

The prayers and actions of the Mass give each one of us the content of our living Faith.

In the Gloria - we acclaim Jesus’ divinity.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;

You are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

In the Creed – we profess our Faith in the Most Holy Trinity.

In the Our Father – we profess communion with Jesus calling God our Father.

We can also find the content of our Catholic Faith in the authentic teaching of the Magisterium of the Church, in the Sunday homily, in papal encyclicals, in the Catholic Catechism, and in many other ways.

3. The Perfection of Faith

The word “perfection” has its roots in the Latin language

per = through                         facio = to do

The word perfection thus gives us the English “making it through to the end; completing a task”.

Your Faith sets you free!

Faith humbles our pride

Faith overcomes poverty, and makes us want riches that really last

Faith stops greed and avarice in worldly things because Heaven is our true home

Faith stops us becoming prisoners of self-indulgence, excessive luxury and pleasure seeking in this world.

Faith makes sense of suffering.

Faith makes us sympathetic to others.

Faith gives us the virtue of Hope.                       

Faith is Patient           

Faith overcomes our anger and hatred.

Faith unleashes the Power of God.

And finally; Faith will even overcome death – for Jesus says; “I am the resurrection and life, He who believes in Me even though He may die will live.”

At death human life is changed, not ended.  Eventually our Faith will give way to the perfection of the Vision of God.  Faith is cast off, and hope is fulfilled in the vision of the children of God who have proved themselves obedient to the Word of God.  We call this, vision, of all things in God,  the Lumen Gloriae, the light of Glory!

A fitting analogy or comparison for this new way of seeing when we are in Heaven is a common household tropical fish tank.  When the light is switched off the fish tank is dark and it is hard to see what is in the tank, everything lacks colour and shape.  But when the light is switched on the fish tank takes on a new life.  The fish are all colourful and brightly shining, the green plants can be seen and the rocks glow.  That is similar to what the light of glory Lumen Gloriae does for the soul.  We see all things in God’s light clear, bright, and shining.

Let us pray for the gift of Faith,

Prayer for New Zealand 

O Almighty God, Who in your infinite goodness sent thy only begotten Son into this world to open again the gates of heaven, and to teach us how to know, love and serve You, have mercy on the people who live in New Zealand.    Grant to them the precious gift of faith, and unite them in the one true Church founded by thy Divine Son; that they may love, serve and worship You in this world and obtain for themselves eternal happiness in heaven.   We make this prayer through Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.    R/ Amen

 
The Spirit of Generosity
Monday, 10 February 2014

When we think of being a generous giver we must always thank God as He is always the first to be generous.

God the Father can be seen as supremely generous in creation; 

God the Son is seen as totally generous in salvation history; 

God the Holy Spirit is complete generous in the lives of the Saints.

The nature of God is to be supremely generous it is one of His attributes.

“God is never self-seeking, but acts only and always with selfless generosity, pouring out good gifts, from His abundance, on His creatures showing His infinite abundance and generosity”. St Thomas Aquinas

Jesus taught us to be generous

In the Bible we have Jesus’s own commentary on the spirit of generosity.  

Jesus spoke to His apostles about the widow who gave all she had to God and He praised her generosity.  Jesus also taught, God is a mysterious and generous rewarded.  He gave us the parable of the workers in the vineyard.  He taught us not to judge God’s generosity.

Filled with the Holy Spirit one day Jesus taught of the good things to come…

Give and it will be given to you.

A good amount will be poured into your lap.

It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

The same amount you give will be measured out to you." Luke 6:38

Generosity is a spiritual possession given by the Holy Spirit

We must pray for the gift of generosity and then like any other virtue we must find occasions to practice it.  Some people see being generous as a balancing act of their material possessions but they fail to see all things in fact belong to God and we are only temporary owners.  Being generous is a spiritual power that contains a real act of faith in God.

Some people are fortunate to have been born with a generous nature.  My brother was a very generous person naturally and my other brother was often joked about because of his lack of generosity. His friends would say ………name…….. has short arms, and deep pockets.

For most of us being generous is difficult and requires small action that may grow.  

We must learn to give without counting the cost, and that is a hard lesson.  

Give and it will be given to you.

A good amount will be poured into your lap.

It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

The same amount you give will be measured out to you." Luke 6:38

In heaven we will be completely generous, but not with anything you own, for we will have learnt the lesson that all in fact belongs to God.  

Therefore we must pray for the spirit of generosity.  Your generosity like any virtue in this life and it must be tested and being tested it grows.  

That is why we have the saying a virtue …. grows a habit…..a habit gives a destiny.

At the source of all Edel's activity was her deep union with God, sustained by constant prayer. The Eucharist was the centre of her life: "What a desolation life would be without the Eucharist", she wrote. 

Her devotion to Mary was marked by childlike trust and utter generosity. She said she could never refuse Our Lady anything she thought she wanted. Mary's rosary seemed to be always in her hand.

The Legion does not require persons of talent but rather persons with generous and willing hearts, generosity is part of the Spirit of the Legion as Edel Quinn has shown us.  

Just listen to some of these Legion titles from the Handbook from the chapter LEGIONARY SERVICE -  

A Legionary;

Must "put on the whole armour of God".

Must be "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God . . . not conformed to this world." 

Must not turn from "toil and hardship."

Must "live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us."

Must "finish the race"

Practical conclusions:

Being Generous with God

We are all called to live a morally good life which will be tested in our generosity towards God.

We are all called to spend some time each day generously in prayer to adore, and thank God.

We are all called to be generous with our approaching all the sacraments of God and not just to receive Holy Communion and never to go to confession.

We are all called to share our faith in God with others, especially we Legionaries.

Being Generous in your vocation

We are all called to be generous with our spouses.

Married people are called to be generous in having large Catholic families witness of their co-creative activity in God.

Then you are called to be very generous in feeding and clothing your co-creations in God.

Being generous in your parish

Some people can receive from the Parish, but never give to the Parish.

Boomerang love – selfish salvation

Turn up to events for others in the Parish

Cup of tea in hall for others in the Parish

Children catechism / parish feast days

Join the Legion of Mary       Friends Club    Marian Mothers has just 

start your own group!  I love Fr Andrew group…

Visit Parishioners – invite someone to dinner

Going to work and working like Jesus for the co–creations in God Christian witness in society

Christian witness at work / school / friends 

The principle is that Our Lord and Our Lady are never outdone in generosity.  If we sacrifice some time, effort or energy doing their work in the Legion, they always give something in return.

 
Assumption of Mary
Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Allocutio

This month we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption for all Catholics to believe.

"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."

 The church has always acknowledged Mary’s unique part in salvation history. 

God chose Mary and set her apart from all other women. 

She was to be the Mother of God, the first disciple of Jesus who is our Saviour and the incarnate Word of God.

 Here are some insights the Church has given us over the centuries on Mary’s unique place in salvation history.

We begin with the “first good news” called the Protoevangelium; then the Immaculate Conception; then the prophesy of Simeon predicting the suffering of Mary in union with Her Son; and finally the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.

 God preordained Mary to be the new Eve with her Son the new Adam, we call this the protoevangelium, the first good news. 

  1. Mary is born Immaculate free from all sin.  When we are free from sin we are free to co-operate in God’s Plan for our lives, this is the purpose of our transformation in Christ.  We are called to be persons, free from sin to share God’s life in Heaven, and this is the whole point of salvation history. 
  2. Mary was pre-destined to be meritorious in God’s eyes through suffering.  Mary lived a sinless life while suffering in this world.  Mary did not suffer alone but was to share uniquely and mysteriously, in the sufferings of her Son Jesus.  In the Presentation of Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem Simeon tells Mary she will suffer with Her Son.
  3. God’s plan extends to Mary’s triumphant Assumption, body and soul, into Heaven. She is the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary who reigns with her Son triumphant over the serpent and all fatal poisons produced by the first sin of our parents.

 God’s plan for Mary is clearly seen at the beginning when Adam and Eve had sinned, death and a fatal poison had entered the world.  God declared that another man, the new Adam and another woman, the new Eve, would fulfil His original Divine Plan and become the salvation of many of the children of the first Adam, and the first Eve. 

 “Death was not God’s doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. To be – for this he created all; the world’s created things have health in them, in them no fatal poison can be found, and Hades holds no power on earth; for virtue is undying.  Wisdom 1:13-15

 The first Good News (The Protoevangelium)

The first good news is really concerning the Victory of Jesus Christ over the enemies of mankind.  The Church calls our enemies the fallen flesh, the fallen world and fallen Man, the fatal poisons the Devil caused in human history.  But in the book of Genesis we can also see God has preordained Mary’s role in salvation history.  The child of the “woman” was to be the cause of restoration for mankind.  The Woman and her Son were to be the downfall of the serpent who had tricked our first parents Adam and Eve into disobedience and sin.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring;

he shall bruise your head,  and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

God’s plan was that Mary was not to suffer any ill effects of the sin of Adam and Eve.  God made Mary unstained, Immaculate, delighting God from the beginning of her existence and being free from the effects of sin to work with God on His Divine Plan for our salvation.

 The Angel greeted Mary saying Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee”

“All ages will called me blessed for the Lord has done great things for me”

The prophesy of Simeon

The prophesy of Simeon predicts Mary as one pre-ordained by God to stand beneath the Cross sharing uniquely in the sufferings of Jesus Her Son.  Mary was not passive in suffering with her Son but actively co-operated with God’s will in obedience, hope, and love.  God wanted Mary to be meritorious with her Son.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother,

Behold, this [child] is set for the fall and rising again of

many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,

that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:34-35

Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it:

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body (974).

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen within His temple, and there were flashes of lightening, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake and heavy hail.  And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child. ... She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Revelation 11:19 - 12:1.

 
The Spiritual life of Mary after the Ascension of Jesus
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
The spiritual life of Mary
 
The tradition of the Church states that Mary the Mother of Jesus retired to Ephesus with the John the Apostle, living a hidden life of prayer until her own Assumption into Heaven some 12 years later.  
 
Under the guidance of the Church, archeologists have found what they believe to be the house of Ephesus.  This site has been visited by five different Popes and venerated for many years.  The shrine has also gained the Apostolic Blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pope Leo XIII in 1896.  On the site there is a small chapel.  
 
It is a welcome thought for Catholics to know the Virgin Mary once attended Mass, received Holy Communion, and prayed to her Son hidden in the Eucharist.  We can only wonder at the spiritual life of Mary, in union with her Son present in the Eucharist, for these 12 years.   
 
An excellent example of this devotion for the Eucharist is Our Blessed Lady: "her heart was drawn towards the Blessed Sacrament as iron is towards a magnet". 
 
Mary would have been very busy every day serving Jesus in prayer. 
 
Mary lived a Devout and Holy life.
 
Humility, prayer and obedience before God and our neighbour pleases God very much.  
Jesus made this type of life a condition of entering the Kingdom of God.
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. - Matt 18:3
Mary lived this prayerful, humble, and obedient life while she was at Ephesus.  She must have grown in the love of God her Father and won many graces for the family of the Church while she was living at Ephesus.
 
Mary’s life of prayer with her Eucharistic Son.
 
There are four basic forms of prayer. A.C.T.S. is a short way of remembering them.
 
Adoration; Contrition; Thanksgiving; Supplication.
 
- Mary ADORED God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
 
- She made acts of CONTRITION (sorrow for sins) in reparation for lost sinners.
 
- She gave THANKSGIVING to God for the life of her Son Jesus and the Church. 
 
- and lastly INTERCEDING for all she knew needed her prayers.
 
Blessed Peter Julian Eymard says, 
“that in the Eucharist, the divinity, power, glory, and even humanity of Christ are concealed; that Jesus lives a life of poverty; that He labours unceasingly for the saving of souls, but mysteriously and in silence, so that the world hardly notices His activity. 
In consequence, anyone living in close union with Christ in the Eucharist is bound to lead an interior life of intense charity, but their external life must be poor and humble. 
“Their life is hidden with Christ in God."
The Priest in Union with Christ, By Garrigou-Lagrange
 
The Interior life of the members of the Legion of Mary
 
But what about our hidden spiritual life in Christ!  
How do we live a devout and holy life, today!?
Surely, humility, prayer, and obedience are the foundation of the Legion of Mary spiritual system.  
 
Her humility is our humility, her prayer is our prayer, and her obedience is our obedience.
 
The Legion Handbook is very clear how we are to accomplish this spiritual work; 
  1. by attending our weekly Legion meeting, 
  2. by saying our Legion prayers.  
  3. by doing our apostolic work every week for two hours.
 
The following is taken from the beginning of a little booklet "Can We be Saints" written by Frank Duff.  
 
What is a Saint…It is this…
 
“One who, with the object of pleasing God, does his ordinary duties extraordinarily well. 
 
Such a life may be lived out without a single wonder in it, arouse little notice, be soon forgotten, and yet be the life of one of God's dearest friends.”
 
So, let us be friends of God, and let us be friends of Mary, and then surely, we will “be-friend” all those souls who surround us daily.
 
 
PRAYER TO THE EUCHARISTIC HEART OF JESUS
 
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, gracious companion of our exile, I adore you.
 
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, 
lonely Heart, 
humiliated Heart, 
abandoned Heart, 
forgotten Heart, 
despised Heart, 
outraged Heart, 
Heart ignored by men,
Heart which loves our own hearts, 
Heart pleading for our love, 
Heart so patient in waiting for us, 
Heart so eager to listen to our prayers, 
Heart so anxious for our requests, 
Heart, unending source of new graces, 
Heart so silent, yet desiring to speak to souls, 
Heart, welcome refuge of the hidden life, 
Heart, teacher of the secrets of union with God, 
Heart of Him, who sleeps but watches always, 
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
 
Jesus Victim, I desire to comfort you; 
I unite myself to you; I offer myself in union with you. 
I regard myself as nothing in your presence. 
I long to forget myself in order to think only of you, 
to be despised and forgotten for love of you. 
I have no desire to be understood or loved by anyone but you. 
I will keep silent in order to listen to you, 
and I will abandon myself in order to lose myself in you.
 
Grant that I may thus satisfy your thirst for my salvation, 
your burning thirst for my holiness, 
and that once purified I may give you a sincere and pure love. 
I am anxious not to tire you further with waiting: take me, I hand myself over to you. 
I give you all my actions, 
my mind to be enlightened, 
my heart to be directed, 
my will to be stabilized, 
my wretchedness to be relieved, 
my soul and body to be nourished by you.
 
Eucharistic Heart of my Saviour, whose blood is the life of my soul, 
may I myself cease to live, and you alone live in me. 
Amen.
 

 

 

 

 
Who is the Virgin Mary to You?
Friday, 15 March 2013
Most people will say Mary is Our Mother, the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of Jesus and these are all true, but when you really think about this question it can only be answered by asking a deeper question; 
 
Who is Mary to God?
 
We can only know the full truth about someone by understanding God’s plan for them.
God as creator is the fullness of the truth about all His creatures and this includes Mary His Mother.  By knowing God’s plan for Mary we are immediately guaranteed a deeper relationship with Mary because we are not building our relationship on our own insights, or even Mary’s own revelation about herself, but we are building our relationship on God’s eternal truth about Mary.
We can see God’s eternal plan for Mary by Holy Scripture, Church Tradition, and the Church’s infallible way of teaching her true Faith. By doing this we can love Mary more perfectly.
 
Mary in Scripture
 
The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfills the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are true Word of God. 
Catholic Catechism - Part 1 Procession of Faith [140] 
The Holy Spirit is the author of the Scriptures and He cannot err in His revelation.  In the scripture we find many revelations of Mary both old and new, hidden and disclosed. 
The peak of Marian revelation would be Luke 1:28.
 
"Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus"
 
An exhaustive treatment of Mary in both Old and New Scriptures can be found on this web page:
 
 
Mary in Church tradition
 
In the earliest Roman catacombsMarian art is everywhere. 
Mary is pictured; at the Annunciation; at the Adoration of the Magi; as the orans, the "praying one," the woman of prayer, and most of all as the Mother of Jesus. 
A very significant drawing is found in the catacombs of St. Agnes where Mary is situated between St. Peter and St. Paul with her arms outstretched to both as "Mother of the Church”.
 
 
Whenever St. Peter and St. Paul were shown together, it was symbolic of the one Church of Christ, a Church of authority and evangelization. Mary's prominent position between Sts. Peter and Paul illustrates the recognition by the early Church of the central place of Mary Mother of the Church.  Clearly, the early Christians dwelling in the catacombs prayed to Mary as intercessor to her Son for special protection and for Motherly assistance.
 
We should happily recall that Mary is also our personal Mother because Jesus gave His Mother to each one of us at the foot of the cross:
Seeing his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (Jn 19:26-27).
The early Church Fathers also understood Mary as the "New Eve".
Eve, the original "mother of the living," had played an instrumental, though secondary role, in the sin of Adam which resulted in the tragic fall of humanity from God's grace.
However, Mary, as the new Mother of the living, played an instrumental, though secondary, role to Jesus, the New Adam, in redeeming and restoring the life of grace to the human family.
 
St. Justin Martyr (c.165), the early Church's first great apologist, describes Mary as the "obedient virgin" through whom humanity receives its Saviour, in contrast to Eve, the "disobedient virgin," who brings death and disobedience to the human race.
 
St. Irenaeus of Lyon (d.202) establishes Mary as the New Eve who participates with Jesus Christ in the work of salvation, becoming through her obedience the "cause of salvation for herself and the whole human family".
 
The early Church has plenty of examples of prayers to the Virgin Mary.
The early Church prayed through Mary for graces and the protection of her Son.
This is the most complete ancient prayer to the Blessed Mother historically preserved.
It is called the Sub Tuum Praesidium (250 A.D.):
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God,
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us from all dangers.
O ever glorious and blessed Virgin.
Mary in Church Teaching
 
The Church teaches with authority because Christ is the heart of the Church and the Holy Spirit is Her sure guide.  At the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. Mary is formally declared the "Mother of God”.  After the Council of Ephesus, the Church experiences an extraordinary flourishing of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Marian prayers, Marian liturgical feast days, Marian icons, Marian paintings and Marian artwork became continuous after the Council of Ephesus.
 
The Second Vatican Council 1965 describes this historical flourishing of Marian devotion:
From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs.  (Lumen Gentium, No. 66).
The Church with the assurance of the Holy Spirit has revealed 4 Dogma’s about Mary that must be believed by all the Faithful. 
 
We say them at Benediction:
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Who is Mary?  Mary is the Mother of God.
 
The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
Thursday, 10 January 2013
"The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord"
The Christmas Season
 
The Christmas Season, or the season of The Nativity of the Lord, consists of three distinct liturgical periods;
  1. Spiritual preparation: Advent is the four week period of preparation for the Solemnity. 
  2. Spiritual Joy: The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, (Christmas Day), and the eight day Octave of the Solemnity is a time of great joy for us. We share joy the same joy of the Shepherds and the Kings.
  3. Spiritual Wonder: Time after the Solemnity, including the feast of Mary Mother of God, and the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is a time of wonder before God’s works and knowing God’s goodness to us in those works.
It is a time of “recreation” that is re-creating our spirits.  It is a time of slowing down and taking time to seriously study our Faith and the Mystery of God Incarnate. 
At this time we also celebrate the feast days of St John the Evangelist, Holy Family, St Stephen and the Holy Innocents.
The Season of the Nativity of the Lord does not completely finish until after the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.   
After the Baptism of the Lord we return to Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Year.
 
This Christmas Season I have asked everyone to use the correct title of  “The Nativity of the Lord”. 
There are three good reasons;
  1. Using the difficult title of “Nativity of the Lord” makes us “stop and think” what Christmas is really about in this busy time of the year.  
  2. Using the title of honor The Lord, makes us stop and think, “Who” the holiday is all about, rather than mindless Santa Clause and Christmas cheer. 
  3. And using the word, “Nativity” which means to “give birth” in Latin, we can begin a pro-life conversation with all those whom we meet during Christmas. 
Can you not just imagine people you meet saying; “what do you mean by The Nativity of the Lord?”   Immediately a religious conversation has opened up for you. A Legionary is always on duty.
 
How can we as the Legion of Mary prepare ourselves for this Nativity of the Lord?
We can prepare by interior spiritual works and external spiritual works.
 
First the interior spiritual works.
 
The first work is preparing our souls by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This is also the hardest work!
Jesus gave us the example of preparing interiorly by prayer, fasting and almsgiving when He prepared for His preaching ministry in the desert.  Jesus spent 40 days praying and fasting in preparation for His three years of ministry. 
Jesus also instructed His disciples to prepare their souls by prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
 
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven….
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matt 6: 1-6)
 
Another directly spiritual preparation for the Nativity of the Lord is going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). 
 
You could attend extra Masses during Advent or just make a visit to the Church where Jesus waits in the Tabernacle for your prayers.
 
The external spiritual works of preparing for the Nativity of the Lord.
 
The Advent Wreath which is a physical reminder of our Advent preparation.  The four candles mark off the four weeks of preparation.
 
There is the true traditional Christmas Tree
The traditional Christmas tree consists of an every green tree that symbolizes the eternal life Jesus brings as our Saviour. 
The ever green tree was then hung with red apples to remind us of the sadness of Original Sin which Jesus came to take away. 
And finally white round wafers are hung to symbolize the Eucharist where Jesus is still truly present waiting for those who are able to see Him with the eyes of faith.
 
The Nativity Crib is often another beautiful reminder of this Solemn Feast and so is the children’s game of the Christ Kindle. 
 
The Christ Kindle is a very good way of educating children in the true spirit of Christmas. 
Each child picks a name of another family member secretly from a hat or bowl and does not show who they have picked until Christmas Day. 
They do little acts of random kindness everyday over the Advent period to that person. 
They may tidy their room; make their bed, pray an extra Rosary for that person. 
Only on Christmas day do they reveal their good deeds towards that person. 
 
All these works are a very good way to educate children in the spiritual life of gift love and the vocation to serve others just as Jesus shows us every Nativity.
 
God bless you and may you all have a joyful and peaceful Nativity of the Lord.
 
Some thoughts about the Vexillium
Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Dove • The Legio Mariae • The Miraculous Medal

First there is the Dove, the emblem of the Holy Spirit.
Beneath the Dove is the inscription "Legio Mariae" (Legion of Mary).
Beneath the inscription is the Miraculous Medal.
The Vexillium pierces our World!
 
The whole design conveys the idea that
the world is to be conquered by the Holy Spirit 
acting through Mary and her children.
Legion of Mary Handbook
 

The Dove: symbol of the Most Holy Spirit

It is fitting that the Vexillium Standard of the Legion of Mary should have as its highest point the image of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.  
The Dove is an ancient sign of God’s peace to souls.  
Noah saw a Dove and experienced God’s peace and friendship after the flood and Jesus, Prince of Peace, was identified by a Dove at the river Jordan.  
When a soul is at peace with God, in sanctifying grace, it can begin to grow the Life of the Spirit.
When we look on the Dove of the Legion Vexillium we should be in love, we should utter under our breath; “Oh, most holy Spirit, I love You, enter into this poor soul of mind and enkindle in me the fire of Your love” The Dove of the Vexillium reminds us legionaries that the first work of every Legion of Mary member is the work of holiness in their own lives. 
 
The second great work of the Legion of Mary is to take the peace and friendship of God out into the world.  To enkindle the fire of God’s love in every soul we meet.  
 
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
- Matt 28:19
 
To bring the peace and friendship of God into souls is the purpose of the apostolic work of the Legion of Mary. Legion members are privileged to be co-workers of the Most Holy Spirit.
 
What exactly do we commit ourselves to in the Legionary Promise? 
It is crystal clear that we promise to submit ourselves totally to the Holy Spirit with Mary, in Mary and through Mary. 
The Holy Spirit is the principle of fruitfulness in the Church and therefore in the Legion too just as he is pre-eminently fruitful in Mary. 
There cannot be any fruitfulness in the apostolate without the Holy Spirit being at work in the apostolic activity. 
He is the primary agent in evangelization and our personal sanctification. 
Our founder, Frank Duff was so profoundly convinced of this principle that he entrusted the whole Legion to the Holy Spirit and enshrined it in the Legionary Promise.
Fr. Bede McGregor O.P. Spiritual Director to the Legion of Mary, Allocutio: Back to basics (2), http://www.legionofmary.ie/news/article/back-to-basics-2

The Legio Mariae: the sign of the Legion of Mary.

The Legio Mariae plaque gives us the name and form of our Movement.  
We are the Legion of Mary.  We are her army of faithful followers who daily battle the forces of evil in our own lives and in the society in which we live.
The Legio Mariae plaque also reminds us of the Legion of Mary Handbook. 
Anything powerful must be controlled and ordered to its proper end. 
The Legion members who are fully alive in the Holy Spirit are a powerful force and therefore must be “rightly ordered” to the good of the Church in which they work.   
 
This rightly ordered system belongs to Mary. 
The Legion of Mary belongs to Mary and it is her Handbook.
Our Handbook directs all our activities to their proper end, to the glory of God and the salvation of souls in union with the Holy Spirit and Mary our Mother.  
The Handbook is our instruction manual and gives us our prayers, the right order of our Presidium meetings, and a method for our apostolic work.
Her system is easy to follow and can be condensed to: 
 
A faithful promise to God, with accompanying prayer and work.
 

The Miraculous Medal.

The Miraculous medal contains a rich spiritual understanding of Mary.
She is Mary Immaculate, Mary our Mother and Mary Mediatrix of all graces.  
The reverse of the medal bears the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The two Hearts, one pierced with thorns, the other by a sword, recalls what love and suffering Jesus and Mary undertook for the salvation of the souls.  
Mary’s medal reminds us to co-operate with the work God has given us to do in the Legion.  
 
Catherine was told by Our Lady to:
have a medal struck after this model; those who wear it when it is blessed will receive great graces, especially if they wear it round their neck. 
Graces will be abundant for those who have confidence'.
(St. Catherine Labourè)
The Miraculous medal reminds each Legionary that we are not alone in our work, Mary Mediatrix of the graces is with us.  
 
The Vexillium is called the Legionary Standard in our Legion Promise which seeks to set before our eyes; 
  • that our lives are filled with the Holy Spirit who animates our poor actions, to do great things for God and salvation of souls, 
  • and that we are entirely dependent on Mary to perform these good works.
Pope Pius the XI called the Vexillium; "That beautiful standard of the Legion of Mary." 
 
The Angelus
Sunday, 12 August 2012
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit…Hail Mary
 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
Be it done unto me according to Thy word…Hail Mary
 
And the Word was made Flesh:
And dwelt among us…Hail Mary
 
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
 
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
 The object of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God through the holiness of its members developed by prayer and active co-operation…
- Legion Handbook, Object of the Legion.
The Angelus is a prayer that perfectly suits the Legion of Mary spiritual life.
The Angelus, when prayed, increases our personal holiness and renews our co-operation with God’s presence during the day.
 
The presence of God in our life increases when we say the Angelus prayer because we are evoking and thanking God for His daily goodness to ourselves.
We are also united with Mary and the angels in praising God three times a day.
Through praying the Angelus we have a better chance of: stopping, looking, and listening to what God is saying in our lives.  The Angelus creates a spiritual -break- in our daily work. 
And the Angelus helps us to stop in our busy day and come back to centre where the Holy Spirit dwells in our souls. This stopping is very important now the world has become so busy.
 
Modern watches and phones make it easy for us to set an alarm and remind ourselves to stop and pray the Angelus.  The Angelus is easily remembered especially at Midday.  I recite the Angelus every time I say grace before my lunch, and no one misses their lunch, even if it is late in the afternoon!
 
The Angelus is a Catholic prayer. 

The Angelus has a long tradition in the Church since the beginning of monastic life. 
The oldest form seems to come from the Monks honouring the Resurrection of Christ in the morning; His suffering at noon; and the Annunciation to Mary in the evening.
The formal Angelus prayer we recite today can be traced to the 11th-century monastic custom of reciting three Hail Marys and a Scripture verse at the evening bell.
The Angelus is an ancient Catholic prayer and very worthy of every Legionary's devotion, young and old.
 
Why is the Angelus such a powerful prayer?

The Angelus is a powerful prayer because it is a short summary of the greatest work of God, the Incarnation: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14).
We recall that Jesus, the Word of God, came in time and He still dwells among us.
"God so loved the world he sent his only Son" (Jn 3:16), who "worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, and loved with a human heart." 
God knows what life on earth is like: he lived as one of us!
 
The Angelus closely mirrors the Spirit of our Legion Promise asking the Holy Spirit to be poured out again on our lives and the Church.  We ask for a renewal of God’s presence in our lives and that He will once again pour forth His Holy Spirit, for without His presence we can do nothing.
Most Holy Spirit, I,
Do ask of you to come upon me and fill me with yourself,
So that my poor acts may be sustained by your power,
and become an instrument of your mighty purposes.
But I know that you, who has come to regenerate the world in Jesus Christ,
Has not willed to do so except through Mary.
The Angelus pray contains many devotions that are foundational for the Legion of Mary.
 
Legion devotion to the Incarnation.
Legion devotion to the Holy Spirit.
Legion devotion to Mary’s obedience to God.
Legion devotion to the Angels.
 
Therefore Angelus should be prayed by every Legion member during the day.
The Angelus reminds us of our Legion Promise to listen to the Holy Spirit during the day.
For these reasons the Angelus should be a prayer dear to the hearts of the members Legion of Mary. 
 
At Easter the Angelus changes to the Regina Caeli:
 
REGINA CAELI (QUEEN OF HEAVEN)
 
V. O' Queen of heaven rejoice! alleluia:
R. For He whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia,
 
V. Hath arisen as he said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
 
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
 
Let us pray: O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; grant, we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.  
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
What is a Spirit?
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Jesus said to the woman at the well:
God is a spirit; and they that adore him, 
must adore him in spirit and in truth. 
The Apostle James, caught up in a divine ecstasy wrote,
 Every best gift, and every perfect gift,
is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. (James 1:17)
God is the first and greatest, Spirit.
God is Goodness and God is Truth.
Being the first and greatest Spirit He directs all other beings in His goodness.
 
Persons can share by way of knowledge in God’s goodness and truth.
Persons are spiritually free to share and act in God’s goodness and truth.  
This is what we call revelation. 
God has chosen to share something of Himself with others.
God alone can tell persons what is good, and evil, we cannot choose this for ourselves. 
We can see this in the book of Genesis;
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof
you shall surely die. (Gen 2:17)
A person in their moral life chooses to do good actions, directed by God, and they gain merit in God’s eyes.
This is what the Church means when she talks about someone being a “spiritual person”.
They share something in common with God.
The spiritual life is essential for heaven.
 
Angels are persons and Angels are spiritual beings who have no corporal form (no body) but they too know what is good and have to choose to do what is good.
 
Every person is called by God to be “spiritual”
 
We expect our leaders to know what is good for us, and have the will to do it.
We expect our doctors to know what is good for our health, and to have the will to do it.
We expect our teachers to know what is true and have the will to teach it.
We expect our police to know what is just, and to have the will to enforce it.
These works are free but expected by our natural understanding of what it means to be a human person. Persons can see what is good, and chose to do it.
This is what we teach our children.
 
On the other hand, God has also created non spiritual creatures.
These beings act because they are directed by God. 
They act according to their nature – from what they are born with.
God has created them to act for the good of other beings.
The planets in the universe revolve;
the sun shines;
the clouds give water;
and the plants grow,…
All because God loves us and in His providence makes these creatures act in this way for us. They are not spiritual free to choose what is good and to do it.
 
The Spirit of the Legion
 
Frank Duff wrote, “the Legion Promise embodies the very spirit of the Legion” because Legionaries are free to make their Promise and to work for the salvation of souls in the Apostolate of the Legion of Mary.
Most Holy Spirit, I, (name of candidate),
Do ask of you to come upon me and fill me with yourself,
So that my poor acts may be sustained by your power,
and become an instrument of your mighty purposes. 
We also read;
The spirit of the Legion of Mary is that of Mary herself.
and
A perfect model of this apostolic spiritual life
is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles. 
Especially does the Legion aspire after her profound humility,
her perfect obedience,
her angelical sweetness,
her continual prayer,
her universal mortification,
her altogether spotless purity,
her heroic patience,
her heavenly wisdom,
her self-sacrificing courageous love of God,
and above all her faith,
that virtue which has in her alone been found in its utmost extent and never equalled.
Inspired by this love and faith of Mary, her Legion essays any and every work
and
complains not of impossibility, because it conceives that it may and can do all things.
 
A spiritual person sees what is good, and has the will to do it!
 
What is a Soul?
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
This is an important question for all Legion of Mary members.
Our Apostolate is to pray and work for… souls.
 
The greatest service we can render to people is to speak the truths
of faith - to tell, for example, what God is, what the human
soul is, what the purpose of life is and what follows death.
Above all, about Christ Our Lord who contains all truth.
(Pg. 208, Chapter 33, Basic Duty of the Legion.)
 
A soul is a gift…

Our souls are a gift from others, we are not self-created. 
I once did not exist, and now, I find myself to be alive… but alive through others...
Just pause and think; I am alive only through OTHERS.
 
Where did “I” (my soul) come from?
Parents are co-operators with God. 
Parents “gift” a human nature through the act of procreation.
But my soul is different it is the part of me that is unique, singular and unrepeatable. 
At conception God (the supreme other) infuses the “person / soul” into this human nature, this human vessel. My soul dwells in this good home we call the body. 
The person / soul then grows and changes with the body also growing and changing. 
 
A soul is a substance…

The word sub-stance has been taken from the Latin language by Christian theology.
The word “substance” is constructed from two words; sub and standing.
Sub meaning “under” (where we get the word sub-marine i.e. under the water),
Stans means to stand, support, to sustain something.
 
Sub-stance means; to stand under a thing, to be essential to something. 
 
A soul “stands” under your human nature and acts as the commander.
The soul commands, directs, and controls the vessel. 
Your soul “stands” under your human nature and acts through your human body.
By your words and deeds your soul can be seen, acting.
 
A soul is a person...

The word “person” comes also from the Latin language but has its deepest meaning from the Greek culture. 
Per- means through. We use the English word “per-forate” meaning having holes to allow liquid through.
Sona- means sound. 
 
In the Greek plays an actor wore a mask disguised as someone, something else. 
The actor spoke (or made sounds) through the mask.
Thus the word “per-sona” came into being.
Through the mask “the thing” is known.
 
Christians took this understanding for “persona” and used it to explain some of the complexity of the immaterial soul speaking through our body. 
The soul of your child grows before your eyes, acting with their bodies. 
 
 
A soul is an individual and free person…

Parents experience the “freedom of a soul” in their children. 
Children soon learn they have the ability to “contradict” or “go against” their parents will.
The soul can act alone.
But souls can act in communion with others also…
Souls can share spiritual things like knowledge and this forms great movements. 
We can share great ideas and movements can begin through the communion of souls.
Souls learn to love God and to love their neighbour as themselves this is a great movement. 
Souls have the ability to share an immaterial, spiritual, communion of life.
Souls learn, or a better term is educated (duco in latin means to lead / educate) into living a good life, shared with God, and shared with others who love God and their neighbour. 
 
A soul is an immortal.

God is supremely living and God is immortal, (He cannot pass away). 
A human soul is immortal because God made it that way, immortal like Him. 
A spiritual soul is immortal because it shares a common life in God’s existence. 
A soul is totally reliant on God for this gift. 
If God could stop existing, we would all necessarily and immediately follow Him into non-existence, but God can never cease to exist. 
We are immortal because we have been created in God’s image as a gift.
A soul will not pass away because it is not composed of organic matter and can’t decompose.
 
The true home for souls is Heaven.

Through baptism God’s knowledge, His Word begins this “new ordered life” in us. 
God dwells in a new way with a soul after their baptism. 
This is a very special sort of common life lived with God and His Church community. 
In this common life of knowing and loving each soul dwells in God and God dwells in them. It is a special communion in God.
God dwells in our souls sharing His right order. 
Souls can dwell in the Right Order of God with other souls.
We call this an act of repentance or conversion towards God.
When we come to know God’s Way we are changed.
Knowledge has the power to change the soul. 
This is why baptism is often called the second birth. 
This is very important for a correct understanding of the communion of Heaven.
In the communion of heaven we do not contradict, nor do we dominate each other. 
In this communion of heaven we have a shared life in God and with others who live in God. 
This is why the Church is a community.
 
How do you grow your soul?
 
Knowing yourself… grows your soul.
Self-knowledge is important part of growing your soul. 
Stop – Look – Listen to who you are.
Through the way of self-reflection souls are always expanding to new horizons.
 
A soul should examine itself on the big questions in life.
Am I joined to God…?
Am I sharing in God’s right order…am I a good person?
 
Knowing God, grows your soul.
God has opened His Way to souls who ask for His help!
He has chosen to dwell within us, to share His common life with us if we respect Him. 
Out of darkness, came the light!
The only spiritual,
personal,
substantial,
self-revelation from God is Jesus His eternal Word.
 
In the Revelation of Scriptures God invites us to share and in the communion of the Church He makes this possible.
God reveals His person (per-sona) through His Word, His Son, Jesus Christ.
 
In baptism we begin to be part in something greater than ourselves. 
Through baptism God dwells in us in a new way.
 
He dwells –
personally
spiritually,
substantially,
and immaterially.
 
To be open to God’s dwelling in us is the greatest action a soul can do.
This is the ultimate meaning of the phrase; searching for the meaning of life. 
 
Jesus had the ability to see a human soul.
 
“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in a man.” (John 2:23)
  
Through Him,
With Him,
and In Him,
O God Almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is Yours,
forever and ever, Amen.
 
Oh Catholic soul, learn your dignity.
 
 
In the Resurrection…
 
Jesus showed that a soul can separate from a body at death.
 
Jesus showed that a soul returns to that same loved body later in time.
 
The Morning Star, Jesus calls you…
 
Come follow Me
 
A Deeper Look at the Interior Spiritual Life
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
What is the Interior life?
 
(a) To know God.
 
We say the interior life is spiritual because every person has an intellect and a will, an intellect to know God, and a Will to love God.
The interior life is knowing who God really is, and then acting in accord with that knowledge. It is a life where we receive friendship from God and in return we give back to God our loving cooperation. The interior spiritual life begins at the gift of our Baptism and grows…
with Jesus…
in Jesus…
and through Jesus…,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
to the glory of the Eternal Father.
 
Our interior spiritual life has no end; it is what theologians call an open ended gift begun by God alone. Every person is a creature created by God and called to live with Him in eternity in the light of Glory.   The saints live this call to their greatest ability. 
 
(b) To love God.
 
Holiness consists in the perfection of love.
The spiritual life can be seen by the regular and consistent performance of good actions in one’s daily life. Guided and empowered by God’s Spirit we are able to overcome sin and temptation, the flesh, the world and the devil. 
God’s Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary in this life battle. 
 
A person lives a devout and holy life when they are;
  • humble before God and others;
  • act justly in all their dealing with God and their neighbour;
  • when they are generous to God and their neighbour;
  • when they are patience and faithful….
Abraham had great faith in God and was obedient to God. 
Moses was a humble man before God even when things went wrong. 
St John the Baptist was a courageous and just man.
Mary our Queen and Mother was the most loving of all creatures before God. 
 
We too are called to live devout and holy lives. 
Just knowing what to do is not enough, we must also act well in this mortal life.
 
Jesus taught His disciples how to live an interior spiritual life through the discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Church has kept this teaching and guides her children during the Season of Lent to enter once again into this discipline, knowing that her children may have got distracted or tired of this disciplined life during the intervening year.
 
Humility in prayer is the foundation of our searching for God.
Prayer forms a spiritual relationship, or communion, with God. 
Without prayer we cannot know nor love God.
Prayer is humility in action before almighty God and is pleasing to Almighty God.
Jesus told His disciples “to pray always.”
 
Humility in fasting sets a reasonable control over earthly desires.
Fasting controls and creates a proper understanding of the purpose of created things. 
It sets a “right order” in our lives so that God, and the works of God, can always come first.
We must control pleasure and the desire of creature comforts, not because they are bad, but because God is always the greater good. Our spiritual soul, intellect and will, must always guide our emotions and bodily appetites to their proper end,…Heaven.
 
Humility in almsgiving; confirms our generosity. 
Every growing soul must learn to love others. Giving to God and to your neighbour is the highest command of Jesus. Almsgiving humbly acknowledges that we creatures share all things in God. Generosity is absolutely necessary for heaven; no selfish person can go to heaven.
 
On January 6, 1965, Pope Paul VI addressed to Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary, a letter of praise and encouragement to all the Legionaries of Mary.
Singled out in this letter for special praise was;
the spirit of the Legion of Mary, (which) while properly drawing fruitful nourishment from the strong interior life of its members, nevertheless are distinguished and characterized by an adamant confidence in the action of the Blessed Virgin. 
Holy Mary Mother of God
Pray for us.
 
Duty of the President at the Legion Meeting
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
The work of the President is to safe guard at all times
a united consideration of the 'Father’s business'".
(Legion of Mary Handbook, pg 214)
Mary's fiat is "let it be done to me according to thy word." Luke 1:38
When we took the Legion Promise two great things happened;
  1. We offered ourselves whole heartedly to the Legion of Mary Apostolate. 
  2. We implored the Holy Spirit to come upon us and fill us with His power. 
We did this that we may become fitting instruments in God’s mighty work, the salvation of souls, regardless of our unworthiness. 
 
Now we can have some understanding of the task of the President in the Legion of Mary.
The President is elected, by the members, as a person they see is fit to take on the responsibility of being a leader. If you have been asked to become a president you should not be afraid of such an important task because;
  • Remember the words of St Paul, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me”.
  • You are not alone, Mary works with you and the Legion apostolate is a team effort.
  • If you follow the Legion Handbook faithfully you will be at peace.
The President of the Legion should look to God

Theologians have often compared God to a grand musical conductor.   
 
His orchestra is… the whole of creation.
The symphony He creates… is the right ordering of all things, with Himself.   
His highest work He develops is… the right order of free beings, like himself.
 
God, as the supreme conductor gives us some clues to what makes a really good president.
 
His effects are present in all creation… and yet He is never seen.
He gives each what they need, when they need it, and according to their ability.
He conducts, and never bullies…
He leads from within….by example…
He was the first to forgive…sin
He was the first to show mercy…to those in need
He was the first to come as our Saviour.
 
Some practical tips on being an Officer

Presidents and vice-presidents, and all officers should always lead by example and conduct all things in the greatest of charity.  
All the officers should also be diligent in observing the rules and developing the Spirit of the Legion. The president is there to safe guard the Legion System and to direct the apostolic works of the Praesidium.
Be faithful to the Legion system and follow the Handbook and the Legion will be strong.
Be humble and let others make the decisions; invited comments in the meetings; encourage all to have their say…let people talk.
 
We have often heard that the Presidium functions as well as its offices. 
If the officers are working for perfection, the members will follow. 
The Handbook quotes this saying from Napoleon Bonaparte, French general and emperor, "There are no bad soldiers, only bad officers." It is therefore better to stand down from your Office than to cause a division or bitterness in any Legion of Mary meeting.
 
What is the work of the Praesidium?  

“a united consideration of the Father’s business.”
 
Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask,
it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered in my name,
I am there among them.
(Mt 18:19-20)
 
The Spirit of Home Visitation
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Christ chose to be born and mature in the bosom of the Holy Family
with Joseph and Mary as His parents.
 
Jesus visited homes and families.
In the Gospels we read that Jesus visited homes. 
He visited Peter’s home, and cured Peter’s mother in law, and was seen always visiting the home of Martha and Mary at Bethany. 
Jesus visited the home of a Roman Centurion to cure his sick child. 
He went to the Apostle Matthew’s home when he was still a tax collector, and Jesus visited Zacheus home when Zacheus needed conversion. Jesus also commissioned His disciples to visit, in pairs, all the villages, staying at people’s homes when they would receive them.
 
When the early Christians were converted they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved. These new Christian families were islands of Faith in an unbelieving and hurting world.  For this reason the Church, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia Domestica, the Domestic Church. In the Domestic Church every family member learns to love and serve God; 
  •  they learn endurance in the joy of family work;
  •  they learn love and generosity;
  •  and at times - even repeated lessons about – forgiveness; 
  • but above all, the home, Domestica Ecclesia, is the centre of family worship;
It is in the family that we learn about prayer, and offering one's whole life to the Divine Plan of God, just like our parents.  It is in the bosom of the family that parents are, by their words and examples... the first teachers of their children in the faith.  
It is in this faith filled environment the individual child can make their own personal act of faith to Jesus. 
 
In the Legion of Mary handbook we read;
The visitation of the homes has been traditionally the preferred work of the Legion, its special occupation everywhere and its avenue of greatest good. It is a characteristic of the Legion.

Through this visitation, personal contact can be made with a great many people and the Church's concern for every person and every family can be shown. "The Church's pastoral concern will not be limited only to the Christian families closest at hand; it will extend its horizons in harmony with the Heart of Christ, and will show itself to be even more lively for families in general and for those families in particular which are in difficult or irregular situations. For all of them the Church will have a word of truth, goodness, understanding, hope and deep sympathy with their sometimes tragic difficulties. To all of them she will offer her disinterested help so that they can come closer to that model of a family which the Creator intended from 'the beginning' and which Christ has renewed with his redeeming grace. (FC 65)
 
In his letters Frank Duff points out on numerous occasions the centrality of home visitation in the Legion scheme of things.
 
'We see that the basic work of the Praesidium will be the visitation of homes in the parish. For visitation is the principal work of the Legion, the foundation of all other things, which grow out of it. You will find it a remarkable way of bringing souls to God. In fact I am sure that you will be astonished by the fruits of grace, which you will observe to proceed rapidly from this work. I trust that the Parish Priest will thus be rewarded for his goodness and his enterprise in permitting the Legion to take its first roots in his territory.'

Recently we had the good news that the book 'Mary Shall Reign' has been reprinted and there you will find the chapter on the 'The Spirit of Home Visitation'.
It really is a masterpiece of insight and presentation. Every Legionary should read it again and again.

- The Visitation and the Legion
 The Code of Canon Law for Parish Priests requires;
that the pastor of every parish proclaim the word of God to those living in his parish.

With the collaboration of the faithful, he is to make every effort to bring the gospel message to those also who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith.
 
As Legion of Mary members we have every reason to undertake home visitation.
It is hard work and many members prefer not to be involved but, that does not mean that it is not the preferred work of the saints of the Legion. 
Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven:
but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven,
he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- Matt 7:21
 
The Work of the Officers of the Legion of Mary
Monday, 19 September 2011
The work of the Officers of the Legion of Mary is important.
 
In the Legion, Mary is Queen.  She it is who summons her legionary hosts to their glorious warfare and commands them in the field inspires them, and personally leads them on to victory.
(Handbook, Government of the Legion, page 152 ) 
Some members of the Legion of Mary Presidium are asked by Our lady to become Officers of Legion of Mary. They are chosen in a special way to work with Mary for the good of her Legion. We may consider ourselves weak instruments but with the intercession of our Lady and the power of the Holy Spirit we can do great things for God and for the salvation of souls.  In our “yes” to take on the extra work of an Officer, we are saying “yes” to a special friendship with Mary our Queen and Mother.   
As the burning lens is to the rays of the sun, so is the meeting to the members.
The focus collects them, begets the fire, and kindles everything that comes near it.
It is the meeting which makes the Legion.
(Handbook, Scheme of the Legion, Chapter 4 Primary Obligation, page 70) 
Good Officers make good meetings, they are like a burning lens, and it is they who set fire to the hearts of the members. Likewise, it is the Senatus Officers, who set fire to the hearts of the Officers of the Presidiums. 
the government, local and central, of the Legion shall be carried on by its councils, whose duty is to ensure; unity, to preserve the original ideals of the Legion of Mary, to guard the integrity of the Legion spirit and rules and practice
as set forth in the official handbook of the Legion, and to spread the organisation.
 
The Legion in any area will be as good as these councils wish to make it.”
(Handbook, Government of the Legion, page 152 ) 
Therefore; all our Officers should be generous and obedient;
  • obedient to their duties outlined in the Legion of Mary Handbook.  
  • and generous to their regular and punctual attendance at meetings.
Every meeting is important because in our Legion of Mary meetings we are gathered in prayer with our Queen, and we are “set on fire” with the Holy Spirit. It is at the meetings that spiritual work is allocated for the salvation of souls. 
 
With this in mind, no Presidium Officer should miss their Presidium weekly meeting, nor should they miss their monthly Senatus meeting, without a grave reason. And, if an Officer misses meetings regularly they should be examined as to their suitability as an Officer.
 
Jesus has lead the way of obedience and generosity. He has asked us to do the same by offering us His Cross. It is up to us to pick up the Cross and follow Him, every day. Jesus once said to a Saintly Nun, “when the saints reach Heaven, they will all see how far they lagged behind.”
 
And I am sure that He who began this good work in you will complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
 
The Tessera
Monday, 12 September 2011
The Tessera.

Part of a beautiful picture.

Words to show you your way.

A watch word for an Army.

A tessera (plural: tesserae, diminutive tessella) is the name given to an individual tile in a mosaic.
It is usually formed in the shape of a cube and thousands of “tessera” can make up one beautiful Mosaic picture.

Another kind of “tessera” was the ancient Roman equivalent of a theater ticket.
It was a stamped clay shard, a ticket to show the entrance aisle and row number for spectators attending the arena. Above the doors of the Colosseum in Rome are numbers corresponding to those “tessera”.

And finally there was a military expression for the word “tessera”.
It signified the square tablet upon which the “watchword” was written and circulated through the Roman Legions.

We, the Legion of Mary apply the word tessera to the leaflet containing our prayers and the picture that has come to symbolize the Legion of Mary throughout the world.

Our Tessera

(a) is a prayer that makes a beautiful picture in the life of the Church.

(b) is the words that show us the way of the Legion and binds us together.

(c) it is the true watchword of the all the Legion Prayers.


But most of all the Tessera contains the life prayers of the Legion of Mary.

Like the universe made up of millions of tiny stars so is the Legion of Mary with its many praying members.

Just like a beautiful Mosaic picture, God sees the entire Legion of Mary as one master piece dedicated to the patronage of Mary His Mother.

This is a good reminder for all our members to keep their commitment to say, every day, the Prayers of the Legion of Mary, their Tessera, because just as in a mosaic picture, if one tessera is missing, the whole picture suffers the loss.

The Angels of God and the Legion Saints may say, oh what a pity it is missing some of its pieces.


 
Legion and the Priest
Friday, 2 September 2011
Chapter 10 (Legion Handbook)
 
This year the Legion of Mary is celebrating its 90th anniversary, ninety years of formation, and ninety years of apostolic work in the Church.  The spiritual formation of its members and apostolic work are the heart and souls of the Legion of Mary.  
 
As Legionaries of Mary we first seek holiness of our own life and then, from this interior spiritual growth we actively work in the Lord's harvest for the salvation of souls. 
 
Through our weekly Legion of Mary meetings which have been dedicated to the glory of God and for the salvation of souls, we grow in personal sanctity.
Our meeting can make us holy because they belong to the Holy Spirit and to Mary.  But we must always remember our meetings only become times of real holiness when we are united with God.  This is why Frank Duff made membership conditional to the practice of our faith.  He knew a living faith was absolutely necessary for Legion members. Holiness is also dependant on the amount of effort each person brings to the meetings.
 
Every week the Legion member does is a solid proof of their love of God and Mary.  If you fail in work, you fail in love. The Apostles were always careful that the early Catholics knew they had to give witness to their Christian Faith through works of charity. We follow their tradition.
"So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead…..and further on St James says ….and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. "
James 2:17-18
Pope John Paul II commended on these two aspects when speaking to a group of Legion of Mary members in Italy.
You are a movement of lay people who propose to make faith the aspiration of your life up to the achievement of personal sanctity.
It is without doubt a lofty and difficult ideal. 
But today the Church, through the Vatican Council, calls all Christians of the Catholic laity to this ideal, inviting them to share in the kingly priesthood of Christ with the witness of a holy life, with mortification and charitable works; to be in the world, with the splendour of faith, hope and charity, what the soul is in the body
Pope John Paul II to the Legion of Mary
Address delivered by the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to a group of Italian Legionaries on 30th October 1982
The Legion needs Priests.
But most of all, the Legion needs the Mass, and the Mass needs a Priest. 
The Eucharist is the first key to unlock any understanding of the relationship of the Priests to the Legion of Mary.  You only need to read the Legion of Mary handbook once to see that Frank Duff had a profound insight into the working of the Priest, the Eucharist and the Legion of Mary. 
The Eucharist is the centre and source of grace: therefore, it must be the very keystone of the legionary scheme.  The Legionary and the Mass, Legion Handbook.
At the Last Supper Jesus Christ the High Priest appointed His Apostles ministers of His body and blood. 
"Christ appointed a Priesthood, which should not only represent him and stand for him, but should in a certain sense be Himself - that is to say, that he should exercise divine powers through its agency.
Therefore devotion and reverence towards the priest is a direct homage to the Eternal Priesthood."
Legion of Mary Handbook pg. 212
This is why the Parish Priest is normally the spiritual director, and why our Legion groups are normally based in Parishes.  Without our Priests (spiritual directors) we struggle to gain formation in holiness, and our work is very limited. 
In fact we become ourselves like, “sheep without their shepherd”.
 
Pentecost Sunday 2011
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Pentecost Sunday 2011

“Come Holy Spirit… fill the hearts of Your faithful
and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.”

Here are three spiritual principals to remember when working with the Holy Spirit.

1. He needs no human help. But, in saying this, we know that He chooses us to help Him, so that in helping Him, He sanctifies us too.

2. We can be better instruments of His Work if we live holy lives.

3. The Holy Spirit is sent to individuals.

If we remember these three spiritual principles we will be better at our work for souls. They are basic to our Legion of Mary apostolate and the living of our Promise to the Holy Spirit.

“Yet knowing that of myself I cannot render worthy service,
Do ask of you to come upon me and fill me with yourself,
So that my poor acts may be sustained by your power,
and become an instrument of your mighty purposes”.

† This first principle is seen perfectly in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – cooperation. It is God who gives His life and salvation too souls, but we can be His helpers, co-operators in His Divine Plan.

† This leads us to the second spiritual principal. Prayer, sacrifice and good works are vital for any success in the conversion of souls.
Holiness of life is vital for the members of the Legion of Mary.
The deeper a legionary loves God, the better instruments we are in His hands.

Holiness of life is basic to the Legion System;
† We pray first (holiness of life) and,
† our apostolic work springs from the Legionary prayers and communion.

† Thirdly, in our work we should always be ready to approach each person as an individual. Person to person contact is very important to the Legion system of evangelisation.
Our work for souls takes discipline and even courage when we do not particularly like the person we are talking too, or have nothing in common with them.

Again, our Legionary Apostolate for individual souls does not stop once we have visited, we pray and offer sacrifice for the people we meet in our work.
When we have completed our Legion work we should be in the habit of going to the Church to pray for all those that we have met in our work that day.

In the Legion of Mary these three spiritual truths make everything different.

Jesus taught three similar spiritual principals to His disciples.

“When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately,
"Why couldn’t we cast it out?"
He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing,
except by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:16

Jesus was saying to them - if they wanted to be successful “apostles for souls” they must fast and search for a holy life and hence be better instruments in God’s hands. The Apostles were to rely completely on God in prayer. Later, Jesus added another spiritual principal for His Apostles success; almsgiving.

If it seems at times we toil in vain, we do not have to have a heavy heart, God alone knows the time and the place of each person’s salvation, and we Legionaries leave the harvest “to the Lord of the harvest”.


THE LEGIONARY PROMISE

Most Holy Spirit, I, (name of candidate),
Desiring to be enrolled this day as a legionary of Mary,
Yet knowing that of myself I cannot render worthy service,
Do ask of you to come upon me and fill me with yourself,
So that my poor acts may be sustained by your power,
and become an instrument of your mighty purposes.

But I know that you, who has come to regenerate the world in Jesus Christ,
Has not willed to do so except through Mary;
That without her we cannot know or love you;
That it is by her, and to whom she pleases,
when she pleases, and in the quantity and manner she pleases,
That all your gifts and virtues and graces are administered;
And I realise that the secret of a perfect legionary service
Consists in a complete union with her who is so completely united to you.

So, taking in my hand the legionary Standard
which seeks to set before our eyes these things,
I stand before you as her soldier and her child,
And I so declare my entire dependence on her.
She is the mother of my soul.
Her heart and mine are one,
And from that single heart she speaks again those words of old:
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord";
And once again you come by her to do great things.

Let your power overshadow me, and come into my soul with fire and love,
And make it one with Mary's love and Mary's will to save the world;
So that I may be pure in her who was made Immaculate by you;
So that Christ my Lord may likewise grow in me through you;
So that I with her, his Mother, may bring him to the world and to the souls who need him;
So that they and I, the battle won, may reign with her for ever in the glory of the Blessed Trinity.

Confident that you will so receive me - and use me –
and turn my weakness into strength this day,
I take my place in the ranks of the Legion,
and I venture to promise a faithful service.
I will submit fully to its discipline,
Which binds me to my comrades,
And shapes us to an army,
And keeps our line as on we march with Mary,
To work your will, to operate your miracles of grace,
Which will renew the face of the earth,
And establish your reign, Most Holy Spirit, over all.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
 
What is a good Legionary?
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
 A Good Legion Member & (Officer)

1. MEMBERSHIP : The Legion of Mary is an Association of Catholics who, with the sanction of the Church and under the powerful leadership of Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of all Graces (who is fair as the moon, bright as the sun, and - to satan and his legionaries - terrible as an army set in battle array), have formed themselves into a Legion for service in the warfare which is perpetually waged by the Church against the world and its evil powers.
The whole life of men, both individual and social, shows itself to be a struggle, and a dramatic one, between good and evil, between light and darkness. (GS 13)
The legionaries hope to render themselves worthy of their great heavenly Queen,
by their loyalty,
their virtues,
and their courage.

The Legion of Mary is therefore organised on the model of an army, principally on that of the army of ancient Rome, the terminology of which is adopted also. But the army and the arms of legionaries of Mary are not of this world. Chapter One - Name and Origin of the Legion of Mary
  • ORDER in your Spiritual life
  • OBEDIENCE to God and the Church
  • HONOUR to JESUS through MARY
Q. Reporter: We have definitions of a true legionary given by many people I’d like to hear your definition.
A. One who understands the rules and obeys them. (He laughs)
We would have to have the assurance that that person was going to last in the Legion. That such a person had been a certain amount of time in the Legion. That would be the only guarantee really in the end that a person was a good Legionary-that they had lasted the course ..
Q. Reporter: For the Legion then the spiritual development of the individual is primary and the work is secondary. Is that the thought you had in mind?
A. That is. That must be the first thing-the development of the person. That's the simplicity of the system.
When you talk about the spirit of the Legion and its faith, you must then become precise to another degree and you must say to yourself: "Well, now what do you mean by spirit? What do you mean by faith? Is a simple undeveloped faith that God is mighty and is perhaps on your side and leave things at that?" Well, of course, no! It must be a complete faith. It must be a Catholic faith. It must believe in the doctrines of the Catholic Church. It must believe in someone who is far too much neglected today and that's the Blessed Virgin.
Faith is directed towards a person JESUS CHRIST

We serve beneath Mary, with her living Faith, in Her Son
  • A faith motivated through, with, and in, love of Her Son
  • A courageous faith that inspires us to works of love
  • Faith that is a pillar of fire that enlightens us and others
Confer, 0 Lord, on us, who serve beneath the standard of Mary, that fullness of faith in You and trust in her, to which it is given to conquer the world. Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity, which will enable us to perform all our actions from the motive of pure love of You, and ever to see You and serve You in our neighbour; a faith, firm and immovable as a rock, through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life; a courageous faith which will inspire us to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for your glory and for the salvation of souls; a faith which will be our Legion's Pillar of Fire - to lead us forth united - to kindle everywhere the fires of divine love - to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death - to inflame those who are lukewarm - to bring back life to those who are dead in sin; and which will guide our own feet in the way of peace; so that - the battle of life over - our Legion may reassemble, without the loss of any one, in the kingdom of Your love and glory. Amen.
2. HOLINESS : Frank Duff wrote a booklet on WHAT IS A SAINT ?

In the heart of every right-thinking Catholic, God has implanted the desire to become a Saint. Yet few make a serious attempt to realise the ambition. The cause for this is to a large extent discouragement, due to the misunderstanding of what a Saint really is.
This is what a Saint is: One who, with the object of pleasing God, does his ordinary duties extraordinarily well. Such a life may be lived out without a single wonder in it, arouse little notice, be soon forgotten, and yet be the life of one of God's dearest friends.
  • Officers Ordinary Work in the Legion
  • Firm in our Faith and Order of Meetings
  • Officers humility and love to each member
Perhaps the following words of Cardinal Newman will tempt us to take a step forward on the road:
If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first do not lie in bed beyond the time of rising; give your first thoughts to God;
make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; receive the sacraments;
say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God's glory;
say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts;
make your 15 mins. evening meditation well; examine yourself daily;
go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect."
 
The Most Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ
Sunday, 12 June 2011
In the bible God himself gives names to important people.  God also changed the name of someone when He assigned them an important task or work to do for His glory.  Abram was changed to Abraham, Israel to Jacob, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul.  The most important persons were named before they were born to show God was present in a special manner in their lives.  John the Baptist was named before He was born and so was Jesus.
The angel Gabriel revealed to Mary: "You shall call His name Jesus." And to St. Joseph the angel not merely revealed the name but explained its meaning: "You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."
Another name that was given to Jesus is “Christ”. Christ means “anointed” which was a sign of the Messiah who was to be sent by God to save Israel from their sins. The full title being; "the Anointed of Yahweh
The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.” Ps 2:2
Another name that is associated with Jesus and which He allowed Himself to be called was “Adonia” which means; “Lord, Dominus, Master of the House of Israel
“Then Jesus said the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath”    Luke 6:1-11
 
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command? Luke 6:46
We say in our Liturgy; “O Lord of Lords, and ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and gave him the law on Sinai: come with your outstretched arm and ransom us.  Amen. Come Lord Jesus.”
 
Lastly Jesus referred to Himself as Yahweh the most sacred of names “I am”.   The Jewish people never used God’s Holy Name but always referred to Him as Yahweh.
God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.” 
Jesus said, "before Abraham was, I Am." John 8:58 this is a reference to Exodus 3:14 where God reveals His most holy name to be "I Am, or Yahweh". 
 
The Holy Names of Jesus are all-powerful because of the Person who bears them; we honor these names because of the command of Christ, that we should pray in His Name and we will receive what we ask for in His most Holy Name.
Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name,that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13
St. Paul was able to write to the Philippians: ". . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Phil 2:10).
 
We too should often pray the Most Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ with great love and devotion.  We should also use this powerful silent prayer whenever we are on Legion of Mary visitation.
 
Legion of Mary Christmas
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Pope Benedict has spoken on the importance of 3 Christmas symbols. 
If we use these symbols well our families will be assured of a happy and holy Christmas.
Also, it is good to remember that our faith is strengthened and taught through signs and symbols.
 
Three symbols that are important over this Christmas period are;
  1. the Christ Candle,
  2. the Evergreen Tree,
  3. and Decorations.
The Christ Candle: Symbolises Christ as our only true light.
 
Every family should have a Christ Candle in the middle of their table. 
The Christ Candle is lit at every Sunday meal during Advent but most of all on Christmas Day. 
A prayer is said;
“Jesus says; I am the light of the world, whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of Life” (John 8:12 ; 12:46). 
 
The ever-green tree: God is life. 
 
God renews His people every liturgical year with new gifts of grace and love. 
He alone can give us eternal life. 
The sacrament of confession is very important to give life to our souls during this advent period.
 
The Decorations: Symbolise our good deeds. 
 
Hanging fruit on your tree is a really good sign for your children who will ask; why have you got fruit hanging on your Christmas tree? 
And then you can tell them that they are the symbols of all our good deeds.
 

 
Christ - Light and Life
 
A more serious and full theology of the coming of Christ this Christmas can be found in the Prologue of St John Gospel. 
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made: in Him was life, and the life was the Light of men; and the Light shined in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
This man came for a witness, to testify concerning the Light, that all might believe through Him. He was not the Light, be he was to testify concerning the Light.
That was the true Light, which enlightened every man that comes into this world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
He came to His own, and His own received Him not.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God,
to them that believe in His Name, who are born not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us: and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”. (John 1:10)
 
Four theological points are present in St John’s Prologue.
  1. The divinity and eternity of the Word (Jesus). He is a divine Person.
  2. The Incarnation of the Word and His Manifestation is God’s revelation of Himself to all mankind.
  3. The work of the Word is to form and mould us to God’s image.  Free loving persons.
  4. The Prologue predicts the re-actions of men, some people will accept Jesus  with deep faith,  and others will reject Him. 
 
What is a good preparation for Christmas Day?
  1. Confession. Repentance is the first work of preparation at Christmas.
  2. Receive Our Lord worthily on Christmas Day in the most holy Eucharist.
  3. Practise virtue, acts of personal Faith, Hope, Love, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice.
  4. Personal prayer, visit a Church and say some family prayers, go on a pilgrimage to a Cathedral or church you normally don’t enter often.
  5. Love your fellow man or woman with acts of charity, and if you do these works, then you are assured of a Holy - Joyful – Christmas.
 
Angels
Sunday, 12 June 2011
"All ye heavenly Powers, Mary's Legion of Angels, pray for us."
The memorial of the Guardian Angels occurs on 2nd October.
 
The word "Legion" should be linked with the angels. Our Lord himself had applied it to the angels, hallowing the word by thus taking it on his lips. When menaced by his enemies, he said:
"Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Mt 26:53)
From the first, the angels were invoked in the Legion prayers. The form followed was: 
St. Michael, Archangel, pray for us.
Our Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us.
All you heavenly powers, Mary’s legion of Angels pray for us.
 THE HEAVENLY POWERS, MARY'S LEGION OF ANGELS
"Regina Angelorum! Queen of the Angels!
"Mary is the general of the armies of God.
The angels form the most glorious troops of her who is terrible as an army set in battle array!"
What enchantment, what a foretaste of heaven it is to think thus of Mary our mother ceaselessly accompanied by legions of angels !" (Pope John XXIII.)
Mary is Queen of the Angels. She is truly the Commander of the Angelic Legion and we are graced to salute her under this deeply significant title.  The work of Mary’s Legion of Angels is like that of an airforce in relation to a surface army. The angels are a heavenly counterpart of our legionary campaign.

This alliance has different aspects.
 
Every legionary, active and auxiliary, has a guardian angel that fights blow for blow at his or her side to encourage holiness of life and the salvation of souls in their charge. In a sense that battle means more to the angel than to the legionary, for the angel perceives vividly the issues at stake:
 
God's glory and the value of the immortal soul.
 
So the interest of the angel is most intense, and his support unfailing.  But all the other angels are likewise concerned in this warfare. For instance all those for whom the Legion works have their guardian angels who lend their help. In addition, the entire angelic army hastens to the scene. For our battle is part of the main struggle which from the first they have maintained against satan and his minions.
 
ST. MICHAEL ARCHANGEL

The Legion serves under St. Michael. Under his inspiration it must strive lovingly towards the restoration of that people with whom the Lord made an everlasting covenant of love. 
The prince of all the heavenly court, St. Michael is the most zealous in honouring Mary and causing her to be honoured, while he waits always in expectation that he may have the honour to go at her bidding to render service to some one of her servants. (St. Augustine)
ST. GABRIEL ARCHANGEL

Gabriel is honoured as patron of those who undertake important missions, who bear important news for God.
 
The words spoken by Gabriel to Mary and Mary to the Angel will inspire men and women  to the end of time. It made a treaty on which will arise 'new heavens and a new earth'. “Let your Will be done”
 
How wonderful, then, was he who spoke to Mary; how wrong it is to reduce his role to one of mere passive recitation.
"Our Lady's queenship of the angels must not be taken as a term of honour only.
 
Her royal office is a participation in that of Christ and he has absolute universal dominion over creation.
 
Theologians have not yet explained all the modes of Our Lady's joint rule with Christ the King.
 
But it is clear that her royalty is a principle of action and that the effects of this action reach out to the confines of the visible and invisible universe.
 
She rules the good spirits and controls the bad.
 
Through her is made that indissoluble alliance of human and angelic society by which all creation will be led to its true end, the glory of the Trinity.
 
Her queenship is our shield, for our mother and protectress has the power to command angels to help us.
For her it means active partnership with her son in the loosening and destruction of Satan’s empire over men."

(Dr. Michael O'Carroll, C.S.Sp.)
The Patrons of the Legion, Handbook, p.141
 
Nourished by the Eucharist
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Legionaries need to be nourished by the Eucharist so they can become true disciples of Our Lord. At Holy Mass we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and through this wonderful Gift we are continually renewed in our lives to act in the world as the Disciples of Christ. 
 
The Church has always proclaimed the Eucharist as the source and summit of all life in the Church and this life flows into the world.  By Our Lord we are sent to be the light and salt of the world in which we live.  
You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the World (Mat 5:14-15)
At the Mass the Priest prays:
Grant that we, who are nourished by His body and blood, may be filled with His Holy Spirit, and become one body, one Spirit in Christ.
At every Mass we have the ability to grow in the love of Christ, and to be strengthened by Our Lord, just as He was strengthened for his preaching mission by His continual prayer to the Father.  The Church however puts this condition on those who go to Mass.   For this great transformation to take place we must participate with our whole hearts (enkindled) and mind’s (enlightened) and not just be present in our body. 
 
This gift of Communion Jesus taught to His Apostles at His last Supper:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. John 15:4
As Legionaries if we are beginning to get a bit weather worn, tired, we just need to go to Mass renew our consecration and we will be revitalised by Jesus in Holy Communion.  Through Eucharist we continually gain that courageous energy to renew the face of the earth with, through, and in the Holy Spirit and the work of Mary in the world.  What a Gift! The Prayers of the Legion enkindle this consecration everyday.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.
 
V. Send forth Your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
 
Let us pray.  

God our Father, pour out the gifts of Your Holy Spirit on the world.
You sent the Spirit on Your Church to begin the teaching of the gospel: now let the, Spirit continue to work in the world through the hearts of all who believe. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
 
Mary Mother of Virtue
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Human virtue is hard to attain in this life due to the Original Sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve.  Theologians say ever child of Adam’s suffers from weakness of the Will, darkness of the Intellect, and an inclination to sinfulness.  Unfortunately we can also add to this bad condition by our own evil habits and our own personal sins.
 
Mary was exempt from the effects of original sin, and she did not sin in her own life, that is why we call her the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
And this is why the followers of Christ… “turn their eyes to Mary, who shines forth to the whole Church, as the model of virtues.”  [Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution of the Church Lumen Gentium, 65]
The goal of a virtuous life,… is to become like God.
[St. Gregory of Nyssa, De Beatitudinibus]
A virtue is a habitual (constant) and firm disposition to do a good action.
The Virtues allow us to easily perform good actions, and give the best of ourselves.
The virtuous person moves toward a good action with all their senses, and with all their spiritual powers, they follow the good path and choose the good in concrete human actions. [Catechism of Catholic Church]
Mary the Mother of God has given us an example of heroic human virtue in a normal family setting. 
 
The Theological Virtues are; Faith, Hope, Charity.                                 
These powers are called “Theological” because they turn us towards God.
 
Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, because He is truth itself.  In Faith, Mary trusted God’s Word and His vocation for her life, Mary trusted Jesus, and she trusted her husband St Joseph.
 
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven as our highest good, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.  In hope, Mary retained a “present reality” of Heaven in all the things she did on earth. She was a truly optimistic person, with God, things only get better.
 
Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things, and our neighbour as ourselves, for the love of God.  In charity, Mary loved God above all things, and Mary loves the whole Church because they each soul in the Church belongs to God.
 
The Moral virtues are; Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. 
These powers are called “moral” because they help us make good human actions in the world.
 
Prudence is the moral virtue that allows us to discern our true good and to choose the right means of achieving the good, "the prudent person looks to God for where they are going".  In her prudence Mary is alarming.  Mary gave up everything for the Lord and was willing to give up all things to please God, even the life of her Son on the Cross.  Mary saw the Crucifixion of her Son as part of God’s loving plan for her vocation in life.
 
Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.
In her Fortitude, Mary was strong in loving Jesus, especially when she was asked to stand under the Cross. 
 
Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.  In temperance Mary is the perfect balance of self control. 
 
Justice is the moral virtue which consists in the constant and firm Will to give what belongs to others; to God, what belongs to God, and to our neighbour, what belongs to them. In justice Mary gave God first place and in doing this she acted always justly towards her neighbour.
 
We can ask Our Lady to help us to practise virtue in our everyday actions, just as she did in her ordinary work as a Mother of Jesus, and wife of St Joseph. 
 
The Four Last Things: Death – Judgement – Heaven – Hell
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Pope John Paul II said that the church’s doctrine on man’s eternal destiny is especially relevant for us today.
He said a materialistic way of life, setting our goals in the goods of this life, can erase completely from our minds any thought of the after life; “the fact that after death man is destined to reach his definitive, eternal destiny”.
He said that after losing sight of God’s holiness, the next step is usually the loss of the sense of sin, which puts man in danger of eternal death. 
The question of our eternal destiny forces us to face this tremendous reality: the extreme alternatives of eternal (happiness) salvation or eternal damnation.
 
Pope declared that the Church cannot…:
omit, without serious mutilation of her essential message, a constant catechesis on what traditional Christian language calls the 4 last things of man: 
death, judgment (universal and particular),heaven or hell.
In a culture which tends to imprison man in the earthly life at which he is more or less successful, the Pastors of the Church are asked to provide a catechesis which will reveal and illustrate with the certainties of faith what comes after the present life: beyond the mysterious gates of death, an eternity of joy in communion with God or the punishment of separation from him.
Only in this eternal (eschatological) vision can one realize the exact nature of sin and feel decisively moved to penance and reconciliation.
[Faith Seeking Understanding by Charles Belmonte]
And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'  Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' (Matt 25:41)
The Legion of Mary takes a positive approach to this Christian truth. We fight to save souls...to bring souls into union with Christ”. Every person we met has an immortal soul, made in the image of God, for whom Christ died.  
“We must never forget that the devil wants his soul in hell as he wants ours, and we must fight the devil for him. It is that strangest of wars which is fought for the enemy, not against him.” (Legion of Mary Handbook, Chapter 33)   
Armed with trust in Mary “who is an object of terror to the powers of hell,* we work with her, to fulfil the great commission Jesus gave to His entire Church, Priests and laity… “go preach the Gospel to all nations”… 
That Christian commission drastically drives us out to people everywhere - to the least ones, to the greatest ones, to those near, to those remote, to the ordinary people, to the wickedest, to the farthest shack, to all afflicted creatures, to the diabolical types, to the loneliest lighthouse, to the leper, to the forgotten sort, to the victims of drink and vice, to the dangerous classes, to the dwellers in caves and caravans, to those on the battlefield, to those who hide, to the avoided places, to the lowest den, to the icy wastes, to the sun-baked desert, to the densest jungle, to the dismal swamp, to the uncharted island, to the undiscovered tribe, out into the absolute unknown to find if there is someone living there, right on to the ends of the earth where the rainbow rests! No one must evade our search lest the gentle Jesus frown upon us.

The Legion must be, so to speak, obsessed by that final commandment.
It must, as a first principle, set out to establish a contact of some sort with every soul everywhere. If this be done - and it can be done - then the Lord's command will be moving towards fulfilment.
(Legion of Mary Handbook chapter 40) 
* She is 'terrible as an army set in battle array' (Song 6:3)

 
The Legion of Mary and the Epiphany of the Lord
Thursday, 9 June 2011
This feast day is when we honour God’s manifestation of our Saviour to the Gentile world represented by the presence of the Magi (wise men from the East). 
 
This feast also includes the Baptism of the Lord, when God’s voice was heard saying “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” and The Wedding feast of Cana, when Jesus changed water into wine at Mary’s request.  
 
The meaning of the word Epiphany comes from the Greek epiphaneia, which means appearance, or manifestation of something. 
 
The lyrics of the Opera, Phantom of the Opera, can give us some understanding of what our reaction should be to the Epiphany (appearance) of the Lord.
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar!
And you'll live as you've never lived before ...
Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world!
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before!
Let your soul take you where you long to be !
Only then, can you belong to me …
In theology we can see the three epiphanies of the Lord as three lessons God has given to our world.
  1. Jesus born at Bethlehem (“Bet lahm” means house of Bread). We are being taught all human beings are important to God.  A little child has been given to you today and His name is Emmanuel (God with you). 
  2. The Baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan. God has sent His Son to “forgive us our sins” and to teach us to forgive others who have trespassed against us.  Forgiveness is important for all human beings to receive from God and to give to each other. 
  3. Wedding feast of Canna. God sent His Son into the World that we may have Communion with Him.  This Life is given to us when we have the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in our souls which allows us to cry out abba , God is my Father. This is the communion of Saints, whose good deeds go before them into heaven.
As, Legion of Mary members, we are asked to manifest God to our world.  Our handbook tells us the objective of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God by the holiness of our lives, and by co-operating with the mission of the Church, in crushing the head of the serpent, or another words, in the Salvation of Souls for God.   If we keep these three epiphanies in mind we will always do our Legion of Mary work well and for the glory of God.
 
Sound the Trumpet
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Easter 2011
  
"Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!

Exult, all creation around God's throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!"
 
“Almighty God, in His infinite goodness has sent His only-begotten Son into this world to open again the gates of heaven, and to teach us how to know, love, and serve Him. 
 
 He has granted us the precious gift of faith, and has united us in the one, true, Church, founded by His divine Son; that we may love, serve and worship Him in this world, and obtain everlasting happiness with Him in Heaven.” (Adapted from the prayer for New Zealand).  
 
This is the Easter mystery; the eternal love of God for sinful men.
   
In the Legion of Mary we are “the trumpets of this love and salvation”
   
We trumpet the salvation Jesus has won for us when we;
  • come to our Parish Praesidium meetings and pray our Rosary.
  • when we do our Legion works, home visitation, visiting the sick and the elderly.
  • when come to monthly Senatus meetings when we would rather be at home.
All these opportunities are times when the Risen Christ is working through us, with us, and in us.  

We have entered the Easter season when Jesus triumphed over sin and death. 

The Easter Triduum is a time of extra special graces for the whole Church. 
 
We are able to renew our devotion to God, and to reaffirm, our co-operation with his Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
During Easter we Legionaries can renew our spiritual life of prayer.
 
A common formula for a full life of prayer is ACTS.
 
Adoration – Contrition – Thanksgiving – Supplication.

On Holy Thursday
we renewed our internal devotion in the prayer of THANKSGIVING to God. 
 
In the Legion of Mary handbook we read that,
 
“The Eucharist is the centre and source of grace: therefore, it must be the very keystone of the legionary scheme and; The Eucharist is the infinite good. For in that sacrament is Jesus himself, as much present as he was in his home at Nazareth or in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. The holy Eucharist is no mere symbol of him, or instrument of his power, but is Jesus Christ himself substantially. So that she, who had conceived him and nurtured him, "found again in the adorable host the blessed fruit of her womb, and renewed in her life of union with his Sacramental presence the happy days of Bethlehem and Nazareth." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)  (The Eucharist our Treasure, Chapter 8)
 
We have so much to thank God for when we recall this most precious gift.
 
On Good Friday we renew our internal devotion in the prayer of CONTRITION (sorrow for sin).
   
 As Legion of Mary members through our visitation of homes we often see first hand the effects of sin in human life and sadly in families.  Good Friday is a time for renewing our sorrow for all sin. We can pray for those whom we have met in our Legion work, those who need our prayers.  Our Lady once complained at Fatima that poor souls had no one to pray, and make sacrifices for them, and that is why they were going to hell.   
 “Jesus wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart”…
"Here you see hell, where the souls of poor sinners go.
To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart… Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners.
So many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and sacrifice for them.” 
Holy Saturday is a time to renew our internal devotion in the prayer of PETITION, asking God.
 
Jesus has won for us a huge “treasurary of mercy and grace”. 

His Church is the fullest means of salvation for souls because he is fully present in her. 
 
Are these not His words?
  
Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
and

“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.”
  
And finally, Easter Sunday is a time for renewing our joyful ADORATION of God.
   
 All members of the Legion of Mary should spread the joy of Easter where ever they go – a real spiritual joy.
   
 God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, is worthy of all our adoration and praises. 
   
 Joyfully we trumpet, “Jesus is ours. Come let us adore Him”

"Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!"
 
A serious question, often asked at the Legion of Mary meetings
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Why can’t we have a holiday from attending our weekly Praesidium, and monthly Senatus meetings?
 
The short answer is that there is a difference between; 
  • who we “are” as consecrated Legion of Mary members?
  • and,  secondly,  what do we “do” as members of the Legion of Mary?
The difference between a member of the Legion of Mary and any other lay person is the consecration we take when we made our Legion Promise. 
 
Consecrated people are changed persons because God’s Holy Spirit is dwelling in them in a new way.  It is His Holy Spirit that changes you.  You have promised to be obedient to Him, and in return He has promised to work through you for the salvation of souls.
 
There are many examples of consecrated people.  Through their promises they have been permanently changed to who they are in God.
 
Religious brothers and sisters don’t leave the monastery or convent to have a break from their Religious consecration. 
 
Priests never have a holiday from being Priestly; just as, Spouses never have a holiday from being married. 
 
It would seem very wrong to have seen Mary having a break from Jesus and his disciples.  No, Mary took her consecration as the Spouse of the Holy Spirit most seriously.  Our promise in the Legion is not a binding promise but it still changes who we are in God.  We have promised to be obedient to the Rule of the Legion of Mary and the rule says we meet weekly at our Presidium, and monthly at the Senatus meetings.
 
When we made our Legion consecration we took a Promise that changed us. 
 
We took a promise through Mary to the Holy Spirit to be obedient to the Rule of the Legion of Mary found in our Handbook.  Obediently with Mary we follow what is set before us. 
 
The Legion Promise, which marks the formal entry into Mary’s Legion, is made directly to the Holy Spirit. The Legion Promise embodies the very spirit of the Legion.  The work we do may vary, but our consecration remains the same because it is founded on a new gifting of the Holy Spirit in our souls.
 
Finally we renew this consecration through Mary every year at our Acies.
 
On reaching the vexillum, each Legion of Mary member pauses; then, placing their hand upon the staff of the vexillum, they repeat vocally, as an individual act of consecration, the following words:
 
"I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours."
 
Let us live our Legion Consecration, well.
 
The Object of the Legion of Mary
Thursday, 9 June 2011
The object of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God;
  • through the holiness of its members
  • developed by prayer and active co-operation,
  • under ecclesiastical guidance,
  • in Mary's
  • and the Church's work of crushing the head of the serpent,
  • and advancing the reign of Christ.  
[Legion of Mary Handbook, Chapter 2, pg 11, Object]
 
Some questions to ask your Praesidium:

Is the glory of God a real “ever present aim” for all our members?
  • Are we one fire or has routine fallen upon us?
  • Do we often reflect that Jesus said; “I choose you, you did not choose me”?
  • Do we remember one of the 6 precepts of the Catholic Church is to be Apostolic?
Advancing the holiness of our members.
  • Does our Presidium have a real concern and friendship for each other?
  • Do we all go to Confession once a month as a Legion group?Do we hold regular Praesidium days in our Parish?
  • Di we ask for special Masses for our Praesidium?
  • Do we have religious talks or Praesidium study days for our members?
  • Do we go on retreat at least once a year with our Presidium members?
  • (Not just Motuti retreat)
Working with our Parish Priest
  • Do we inform our Parish Priest with summary of our work each week?
  • Do we invite the Priest to our prayer days or to give a talk to our Praesidium occasionally?
  • Do we ask the Priest to offer Mass for the Legions intentions each week?
  • Do we make sure the Parish Priest is invited to the Acies, Legion functions, and Legion Masses.
In Mary
  • Do we really have a loving relationship with Mary outside our Legion work?
  • Do we promote Mary under the title of our Presidium?
  • Do we have a shrine of Mary in our Church, do we take her flowers and make sure the shrine is clean and neat at all times?
In our 2 hours apostolic work each week
  • Do we actively and sincerely do our work realising it is important?
  • Do we prepare with prayer before we go to do our work?
  • Do we have a Praesidium Plan
    • Monthly plan for visitation, apostolic works?
    • Yearly plan for Parish visitations?
    • Do we keep a detailed list of the people we have met?
    • Do we revisit people whom we have met?
Is Christ more present in our parish because of our Legion Presence?

Is the Legion of Mary known in our Parish?
  • Do we have a Legion presence in the Parish Council?
  • Do you have a poster with contact names in the Church?
  • Do you have Legion information at the back of the Church?
  • Do we advertise once a month in the parish newsletter?
Do we try to gain younger members who are apostolic (active members)?

Do we try to gain older members who are good prayers (auxiliaries)? 
Lent - A Time of Renewal
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, Pope Benedict in his message for Lent 2011 called upon Catholics to embrace prayer, fasting and almsgiving in order to turn away from selfishness and to turn back to the love of God and neighbour.
 
In doing this, says Pope Benedict,
"we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit,
like St. Paul on the road to Damascus;
that we may firmly find our existence according to the will of God
 and the love of Christ."
Pope Benedict has called us to renew our Baptism in Christ, the suffering servant, and to realise our place with Him.  He stressed the importance of “sacrifice" during Lent.  Sacrifices help us to see the needs of others and that, in doing so, we come closer to God as we see His face in our suffering neighbour. 
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
you have done it unto me.  Matthew 25:40
As Legionary’s we can renew our interior Legionary Spirit this lent,” so that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit”.  We can re-consecrate ourselves to the Most Holy Spirit; and with great fervour we can rededicate ourselves to our Holy Mother.  The coming Acies is a perfect opportunity for this renewal. 
" I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours."
We can renew this dedication to Our Lady, and our Baptism, each day using some such formula as:
"I am all yours, and all that I have I offer to you,
O most loving Jesus, through Mary your holy Mother."
Again, Pope Benedict said our faith in Jesus contains both an internal and an external dimension.  Our baptism is lived in the Church; a public community founded; Through Jesus; With Jesus; and in Jesus. 

Faith is lived in the depths of our hearts, but Faith, is also lived in as a public offering to God. 

Our Faith is seen in our community every Sunday as we gather for our Eucharist - thanksgiving to God. 
Our Faith is also a publicly witnessed when people see our works of love flowing from our Sunday offering. 

Such are the works of the Legion of Mary.  We have weekly meetings, prayers and works of Charity.  As active Legionary Members we have taken a public consecration to the work of the Holy Spirit;
“Most Holy Spirit, I, (name of candidate)… I take my place in the ranks of the Legion, and I venture to promise a faithful service.  l will submit fully to its discipline, which binds me to my comrades”
We live this public consecration by being obedient to our weekly meeting; praying the prayers of the Legion; and fulfilling our duty of two hours work each week.   It would be a great shame to have the reputation in our parishes of being lukewarm. The Legion Work we do is a sacrifice of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving which is very suitable for our Lenten renewal.   

Renewed, may our Legion be on fire with the works of the Holy Spirit, and the love of Mary.  Amen

 
The External Aims of the Legion
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
The Legion aims not at the doing of any particular work, but has as a primary object the making of its members holy. For the attainment of this reality it relies, in the first place, upon its members’ attendance at its various meetings, into which prayer and devotion are so wound and woven as to give their complexion to all the proceedings.
Attending to the Will of the Lord is seen in the life of Mary our Mother.  
 
The Visitation: Immediately after the Annunciation Mary was sent to attend to, or be present with, her cousin Elizabeth. Because of her presence, and the presence of the baby Jesus in her womb, the soul of St John the Baptist was sanctified. 
 
The Presentation: We celebrate the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple where Mary presented Jesus at the Temple to the Eternal Father.   The Presentation of the baby Jesus was the first beginning of the “season of blessings” the ancient prophets had foretold when the Messiah would come into their midst. 
 
The Wedding Feast of Canna: Mary was present at the wedding feast of Canna and was the catalyst for Jesus performing His first public miracle. 
 
It is important for us to attend all our Legion of Mary functions. Our physical attendance as Legion of Mary members continues Mary’s role of being present in our world with her Son. 
 
It is important to remember that we are temples of God, we carry His divine life in our souls, and that presence can change other people’s lives. This is one of the chief foundations for the apostolic activity of the Legion of Mary. We bring Jesus and Mary to each other, and into the world.
 
The following are the functions of the Legion.
  1. THE AClES: The consecration - which shall comprise both an individual and a collective consecration - will take place on the 25th March or on a day close thereto, and will be known as the Acies
  2. THE ANNUAL GENERAL REUNION: At a time as near as possible to the feast of the Immaculate Conception a reunion of all the members shall be held.
  3. AN OUTDOOR FUNCTION: The holding of this function dates back to the earliest days of the Legion. It is not obligatory, but it is recommended. It may take the form of an excursion, pilgrimage, or outdoor function.
  4. THE PRAESIDIUM FUNCTION: It is strongly recommended that each praesidium will hold a social function about the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady.
  5. THE CONGRESS: The first Legion Congress was held by the Clare (Ireland) Curia on Easter Sunday, 1939. Its success led to imitation, as success always does, and now that feature has been firmly grafted into the Legion system. A Congress should be confined to a Comitium or a Curia.
 
Convinced of our Spiritual Apostolate
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
The Holy Spirit and the Salvation of Souls
 
In the midst of this world's poverty and pain, Mother Teresa of Calcutta has shone the warm light of God's love for every human person in this world;
“The spiritual poverty of the Western World is much greater than the physical poverty of India.  You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are spiritually.  What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.” 
A living relationship with God.

In New Zealand, in Auckland, we see this “spiritual poverty”.  If only we choose to see this spiritual poverty we can look into our own ordinary day and we will see a terrible loss of God in many of our friends and family members;
in the deep loneliness of many people we know,
in the binge drinking and drug culture of our friends,
in family disorder, marriage break down, families in stress,
in sexual misbehaviour,
in the fear, and violence,… of our own neighbourhood.
 
The Legion of Mary Apostolate.
Our work is to love God and to love one another. There is a very true saying; “You cannot give what you do not have” We find this love, this fire, by our devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist; to Jesus in monthly Confession; to our daily commitment to private prayer and our Legion meetings. Frank Duff did this and he will soon be canonised a Saint.
 
Searching for the Lost Sheep requires great love. 
Our Legion work starts in our own conversion, through what Edel Quin said was the Pentecostal event at her first Legion of Mary meeting. Our weekly meeting sets our hearts on fire with a deep love of God and that love overflows towards our neighbour. In our obedience to the work assigned by the Legion of Mary we are sent out into the world to preach the Good News as the new apostles of Christ. We are always at this work 24 hours 7 days a week. It is who we are.
 
Therefore it is right to say the Legion of Mary is the continuation of the GIFT of God being poured out into our world today and we should never deny the value of the work we do as Legion of Mary members. We are consecrated to the Holy Spirit and His work in the World and we live this consecration in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary our Mother and our Queen. 

 
   
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© 2011 Legion of Mary | P O Box 44121, Pt Chevalier, Auckland 1246 | Phone (09) 846 0339