Mary’s Legion of Angels
On the 29th of September the Church celebrated the feast of St.Michael, St.Gabriel, and St. Raphael. Then on the 2nd of October we had the feast of the Guardian Angels. These feasts give us an invitation to think about the Angels who are such a precious expression of God’s infinite and personal love for each one of us. From the very beginning the Angels were invoked in the Legion prayers as the Handbook tells us. (Chapter 24.6) They play a significant part in the prayer life and the apostolate of the Legion in general and in the life of every authentic Legionary in particular. There would be a great benefit for us to read slowly and prayerfully with a view to living it in our daily lives the section in the Handbook dealing with the Angels.
The Angels live inseparably and immediately in the presence of God and in joyful adoration of the Trinity. Thus, they remind us of the absolute primacy of adoration in our lives and the call to intimacy with the indwelling Trinity within us. In their vision of God they see clearly the whole plan of redemption and especially the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for mankind that is at the heart of it all. They rejoice at the privilege of sharing in the redemptive mission of the Second Person of the Trinity. As the Universal Catechism says: ‘From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word Incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of Angels.’ Or again, ‘With the whole of their being the Angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they always behold the face of my Father in heaven they are the mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.’(n.329) It is important to remind ourselves that all the Angels accompany us not only in our prayer life but also in our apostolate. They are more concerned and committed to the salvation of souls than even the greatest saints and so they are always present to us and more than willing to help us in all our apostolic work. Are we truly open to this powerful and God given resource?
In addition to all the Angels taken together God has given each one of us a special Angel to guard us and assist us in our vocation and mission. This is a stupendous fact that we should never tire of meditating on. Certainly, Frank Duff had an extraordinary friendship with and devotion to his Guardian Angel. He wanted this devotion to Guardian Angels to be a real part of our Legion spirituality. There is a lovely section in the Handbook that expresses our Founder’s insight into the role of Guardian Angels: ‘Every legionary, active and auxiliary, has a Guardian Angel who fights blow for blow at his side. 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 an immortal soul. So the interest of the angel is most intense, and his support unfailing. But all the other angels are also concerned in this warfare. For instance for all those for whom the Legion works have their guardian angels who lend their help.’(Chapter 24.6) Would it not be a good thing if legionaries prayed to the Guardian Angels of those we visit and meet in contact work and especially the Angels of those whom we find very difficult or unresponsive?
The angels have a special relationship to Mary. The Church gives the lovely title to Mary: Queen of the Angels. Of course, as the Catechism points out Christ is the centre of the angelic world. They are his Angels. They belong to Him because they were created through him and for Him. They belong to Him still more because He has made them messengers of his saving plan. But the Angels see the place that God has given to Mary in his plan of redemption. They rejoice in her being chosen as Mother of God and the Mother of all mankind. Their love and reverence for Mary is more than we can ever imagine. They see how profound her motherhood of each one of us is and their great desire is to share in and support this maternal role of Mary. They are totally at her service in the salvation of souls. This role of the angels parallels our role as legionaries. We soldier together in the great battle for souls.
Sometimes I think that when things are apparently going badly or we are in great difficulties we neglect to turn to all the personal help available to us. When we seem to be making very little progress in recruiting or we are afraid to undertake heroic apostolic work or when we are discouraged by the lack of support from those we would expect to encourage us, then we may slip into an attitude of forgetting that the Lord and His Mother are with us, the Holy Spirit is available to us and that the angels are our ever present companions in arms. Let us take heart in our vocation as Legionaries and renew our friendship with and devotion to our Guardian Angels and Mary’s Legion of Angels.