The Vocation of the Auxiliary Members of the Legion of Mary
Sometimes we put a lot of emphasis on what we do for Our Lady or at least on what we would want to do for her. We want to consecrate everything we have and are to Mary. We want to give her not only time and energy but all our spiritual efforts. We want to be willing to give her our sufferings and joys. We want to love and serve her completely - we want to be her slaves, as St. Louis Marie de Montfort would put it. All this determination is very beautiful and commendable and an essential part of Legion spirituality but today I want to reflect not so much on our devotion to Mary but the total maternal devotion of Mary to us. To be a legionary of Mary is to be given the gift of a deep awareness of Mary herself. She offers us everything she has along with her very self. She holds back nothing from us. There is nothing which might help us to eternal life that she would not give us. She cannot refuse us because she is our Mother. She loves us unconditionally, eternally, personally, and offers us a share in her own vocation of bringing Jesus into the world. Our bonding with Mary is the deepest guarantee of personal friendship with Jesus and the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. To be a legionary is to respond to Mary the Mother of God and our Mother who first loves us and calls us to the Legion.
When we invite a priest, a religious, or a layperson to become an auxiliary member of the Legion we are offering them the gift of a very special bonding with Mary. We invite them in her name to share in her maternal mission to our next door neighbour, everyone we meet and indeed the whole world. We especially want to introduce Mary and therefore her Son to people who might otherwise never really come to know her and the apostolic vocation she calls them to undertake for the salvation of souls. The auxiliary is committed to praying every day with mind and heart the prayers of the Tessera, namely, the invocation and prayer to the Holy Spirit, five decades of the Rosary and the invocations which follow them, the Catena, and the prayers described as ‘Concluding Prayers.’ It is strongly recommended that these prayers and every other Legion service be offered to Our Lady as an unreserved gift to be administered according to her intentions.
Just imagine the difference it would make to a man, woman or child to undertake this programme of daily prayer. First they would become daily more open to the Holy Spirit and gradually grow into a deep friendship with Him and be more deeply guided by Him. Secondly, the inestimable gift of the Rosary which is the special school of Mary where we learn to know Jesus in all his mysteries and receive the special graces of those mysteries. What a grace it would be to pray with Mary her own great prayer to God, the Magnificat, on a daily basis. It is surely profoundly beneficial to constantly call on the Angels and some of the great saints in the various invocations. And finally we have the wonderful concluding prayer for faith and a remembrance of all our Legionary brothers and sisters who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. The praying of the Tessera only takes a few minutes but who can calculate the drip by drip effect it has on the interior life of the auxiliary and on the salvation of souls. Auxiliary members like active members are involved in the greatest mission of all - the salvation of souls.
The Handbook tells us that: `It is an essential duty of the praesidium to raise up and preserve around itself a strong body of auxiliaries.’ Again the Handbook says: `It should be the object of every praesidium to bring every Catholic in its area into auxiliary membership.’ What a tremendous encouragement it would be if every praesidium in the Legion had a truly fervent and numerous backup group of auxiliaries engaged in the ministry of prayer in its name, and in the spirit of true devotion to Mary. I think that sometimes when a praesidium or curia or any higher council loses its zeal, and no longer recruits new members or ceases to be fired up about the privileged task of saving souls in union with Mary, the reason is often because they have not gathered together an army of praying auxiliaries to support the active members. I hope to speak a bit more about auxiliary membership and the various types of it and how to promote and care for them in later Allocutios. But for now let me leave you with these questions: are we really convinced of the power of prayer and the spirituality of Legion membership? When was the last time we personally recruited an auxiliary? What kind of personal support do we give to our auxiliary members? Is it time for the praesidium and every member to reflect once more on the pertinent sections of the Handbook dealing with auxiliaries?