Mary and the Mission of the Church
The whole Church reflects on her missionary vocation during the month of October and she also renews her love and practice of praying the Rosary. In many ways the mission of the Church and the praying of the Rosary are intimately connected. This is certainly profoundly true of the spiritual life of Legionaries.
Let us first look at the missionary vocation of Mary because this is an effective way of coming to understand the mission of the Church. The vocation of Mary is always to bring Jesus into the world. Nothing more and nothing less. With her whole mind, heart, soul and body, indeed, with everything that she is and has she seeks to give Jesus to each one of us. This too is the authentic and primary mission of the Church.
Of course, the missionary vocation of Mary is the gift of a sharing in the life and mission of Jesus. God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son. The mission of Jesus is to give us the love of God, to offer us forgiveness of our sins, and a life of intimate union with the Trinity. The language and the meaning of the words of Jesus on the Cross are infinitely precious and life giving. So, we hear, ‘Father, forgive them,’ and ‘I thirst.’ These words express everything in the heart of God in our regard. Calvary is the most perfect statement of the mission of Jesus. These words were branded on the heart of Mary.
Mary was the first one to hear those words of her Son from the Cross and makes them her own. No one will ever understand these words and identify themselves with their source more than Mary. Our Lady understood the personal, infinite, passionate thirst for love and for souls in the cry ‘I thirst’. The motherhood that Jesus bestows on Mary at Calvary is a sharing in his infinite thirst for souls - no one is outside the desire of Mary to lead all souls to Jesus. This leads us to an understanding of the missionary vocation of the , a:hurch and of every member of the Church.
It is the desire to share in Mary’s maternity of souls that is at the heart of the Legion Apostolate. This is what we mean when we desire to be a slave of Mary in the practice of true devotion to her. As all legionaries know, true devotion to Mary consists in surrendering oneself as a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary. The Legion seeks to continue the missionary vocation of Mary. True Devotion to Mary takes precedence over all other works of the Legion. All our apostolic activity on the outside is greatly diminished if there is no union with Mary on the inside in our hearts. For this reason, Legionaries turn to Mary before, during and after our weekly apostolic activities. We turn to her habitually. She is our life, sweetness and hope.
What are the mission methods that Mary uses to fulfil her missionary vocation? Well, one of them is surely the Rosary. The Rosary is simply a focusing on Jesus with the help of Mary. It is an utterly christocentric prayer concentrating on the fruit of Mary’s womb Jesus in all his mysteries. It is a beautiful way of being open to receive the graces proper to each of the great mysteries in the saving life of Jesus. The Rosary is simply praying the Gospel so that it gradually transforms our hearts. It is also a great intercessory prayer for those we serve in the apostolate.
The Rosary satisfies one of the deepest yearnings in the heart of Mary, namely, that each one of us should be intimately united to Jesus in His life, death and resurrection. The Rosary is one of Mary’s ways of forming Jesus in us. It plays an indispensable role in the formation of Legionaries. It allows Mary to form us into true disciples and apostolic workers for Our Lord. It is one of the secrets of the fruitfulness of the Legion. Let us renew our devotion to the Rosary this October and it will in turn rekindle our missionary spirit. Let us pray it with a greater sense of the presence of God and with greater reverence and love. The Rosary and the mission of the Legion really do go together. It is Mary who teaches us that truth and our Founder learnt it exceptionally well.