Allocutio Addressed to Legionaries of Mary Worldwide

On Preparation for the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

of the Founding of the Legion of Mary


Reverend Father Joseph Moran, O.P.

Spiritual Director * Concilium Legionis Mariae

September, 1995

This month we begin the 75th year of the life of the Legion. It is a year that invites us to reflect in faith as we look back over the years since the Legion's foundation. We recall the humble beginnings at Myra House on the evening of September 7, 1921. We recall its phenomenal development and spread during the ensuing years, the enormous fruits of holiness produced in the lives of the members and in those they served. We recall the fidelity of so many millions who have handed on to us the grace of Legion membership which they treasured so highly and which they lived so generously. We recall in a special way the inspiration of those who, in performance of their Legion duty, were called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. All this calls for deep reflection, for praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of the Legion to the Church. It challenges each legionary - both active and auxiliary - to make of this year a year of renewal in our Legion thinking and in our Legion living.

The Legion is Mary's Legion. As we celebrate the 75th year with joy we can truly say that Mary is the Cause of our Joy, for the Legion is based, as Pope John Paul II has noted, "on the dynamic principle of union with her and on the truth of her intimate participation in the plan of salvation." (Legion Handbook © 1993, p.6, n. 3)

Vexilum At that first meeting in September, 1921, those present recited Mary's Rosary and then placed themselves at Mary's service as they discussed "how they could best please God and make Him loved in His world." Frank Duff was insistent that the Legion did not begin with any well thought-out plan of action. It is Mary herself who formed her Legion and has led it all along. To the extent that its members walked in union with her, their numbers grew and great miracles of grace took place. Over the years legionaries have come to realize by experience the truth of the words they pronounce when taking the Promise: "The secret of a perfect legionary service consists in a complete union with Our Lady." And, if we ask ourselves why this is so, the answer is clear, namely, because she herself is so completely united to the Holy Spirit.

Union with Our Lady leads to union with the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of holiness Who fills the Church; the Spirit of Christ Who equips the Church to continue the mission of Christ throughout the ages. Bro. Duff noted how legionaries, through their devotion to Our Lady, came to appreciate the mystery of the Holy Spirit and His presence in their lives. Contemplating the great things He has done in Our Lady, they came to appreciate the plans of the Holy Spirit to do great things in the life of every person.

Mary's relationship to the Holy Spirit pervades her entire life. We think of the Holy Spirit's action in her soul at the time of her Immaculate Conception; of His action at the Annunciation, when she became Mother of God; of the intimacy between her and Christ that began at that moment and led her to share, in an ineffable manner, in all the mysteries of His life, especially in His Sacred Passion. And now she is one with Him as He reigns in Glory. In all this Mary is an image of the Church. In her Immaculate Conception we see the fundamental vocation of all the members of the Church, namely holiness. Holiness is nothing else but union with Christ Who comes into our lives through the working of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. As in the case of Our Lady, the Holy Spirit desires to lead us to great intimacy with Christ, even to sharing in His Cross in order to share one day in His glory as Mary does since the time of her Assumption.

But, Our Lady is not only the image of the Church. She is also the close associate of the Holy Spirit as He leads us to live the mystery of Christ in ever greater fullness. In heaven, completely united to the Holy Spirit and utterly filled with His presence, Mary continues to work as His partner and agent in the work of salvation. She is our Mother and she helps to open our hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit as was her Immaculate Heart during her life on earth. He desires so much to come into our souls with fire and live to make us one with Mary's love for Jesus and the Father. This is the holiness which all the baptized are called to pursue as Vatican II points out. It is the ideal also which the Legion puts before us, "the holiness of its members." In this holiness is the strength of the Legion. If we speak of or plan the renewal of the Legion during this year, it is, above all, in the area of the holiness of its members that this renewal must take place.

Through the legionaries' union with Our Lady, the Holy Spirit also leads them to a great love for the Church. This, too, is Mary's gift to her Legion. As she leads the members along the path of holiness, she helps them see that there is a close connection between holiness and the apostolate. In fact, it has been pointed out that there is nothing more fundamental in the Legion than this. True holiness of life includes having the heart of an apostle, to share with Christ His desire to draw all men and women to Himself. On the other hand, an apostolate which does not flow from holiness of life does not bear lasting fruit. Here, then, is the second area for renewal during this year - a great love for the Church showing itself in service, service of Our Lady as she mothers the Church, the Mystical Body of her Son.

May the Jubilee Year be a year of great renewal in holiness and apostolic work for all legionaries, through the maternal help of our Immaculate Queen and Mother.

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