Christ Lives in Me

Our Concilium meeting is taking place this month during the octave of Easter so let me first wish you all a grace filled Easter season. It really is a time when each one of us should rejoice with a resounding Alleluia. It is a time when the whole Legion should be filled with joy and hope and above all thanksgiving because the Lord is truly risen. So today we renew and reflect on our baptism that is the means by which we enter into the death and resurrection of Christ. We become members of his mystical Body the Church. Our true devotion to Mary is that most precious way of living our baptismal consecration more fully. In other words Mary enables us to live more perfectly our lives as members of the mystical Body of Christ her Son.

In baptism we share in the death and resurrection of Christ. There is no greater love than that someone should lay down their life for us. That is what Christ does for each one of us on Calvary and communicates that love for us in baptism. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. His death is the unending proclamation that we are infinitely important to Him. His love for us is passionate, personal, infinite and irrevocable. We need to root our lives in this mystery of God’s love for us. His love for us is absolutely first. He loves us while we are still sinners. He loves us whether we are good or bad, before we ask for forgiveness. As Pope Benedict has reminded us so beautifully and profoundly in his first encyclical letter - God is Love.

But there is much more to our Baptism and the paschal mystery. By baptism I am united to Christ in an intimacy so profound that Christ lives in me. This is the doctrine of the mystical Body of Christ. Or in the image given to us by Christ Himself we are united to Him as the vine is to the branches. The Legion is nothing without the doctrine and reality of the mystical Body of Christ. It underpins everything in the Legion. So let us quote one verse from St. Paul the great preacher and theologian of the mystical Body: ‘And I live, now not I; But Christ lives in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me.’ (Gal. 2:20) Or more briefly his great cry: ‘For me to live is Christ.’

We will never come to an end of thinking and praying about the reality of the mystical Body of the Risen Lord, the Church. It is the consuming love of Frank Duff, Edel Quinn, Alfie Lambe and every legionary worthy of the name. The Church is not just a visible society with its structures, laws, organisations and all its visible ministries. The Church is the Risen Christ living in you and me and in all the members of the Church. The Church is the central truth in our mind and the greatest love of our hearts because it is the Person of Christ living among and in us as his mystical Body.

Let me conclude with just one application of this doctrine as outlined so incessantly by our Founder Frank Duff. He writes: “And there is not merely question of harnessing the best that is in you in the service of the Church. There is far more at stake than that. It is this. When you just place the best that is in you at His disposal, Our Lord takes hold of what you give. He lives in it, and He exhibits Himself by it, and He will use it divinely for his purposes; and by divinely I mean out of all proportion. He does not merely utilise that contribution of yours, which at best is feeble. I have said He lives in it Himself. It is not you who work, but Christ who worketh in you. To use Fr. Faber’s phrase, He mixes Himself up with you. He magnifies your petty efforts to strange dimensions; and ordinary well meaning persons find to their amazement that they have been grasped by His power, and availed of for His own most vital purposes; so that the fate of persons and continents, aye of generations, is made to hinge on their activities.”

So my dear legionaries, our apostolate is not just ours, it is primarily Jesus who lives and works in us the members of his mystical Body. He adds His infinite power and love to our meagre efforts but we must play our part. He depends on us as His Body, the Church.

May Mary Mother of the Mystical Body pray for us that we may come more and more to understand the immeasurable gift God has given us of being members of His Body, the Catholic Church.