The Legion and the Word of God
The Handbook of the Legion of Mary is brimful of quotations from Sacred Scripture. This gives you some idea of how deeply rooted in the Word of God is the spirituality of the Legion. But the Legion’s commitment to the Word of God is not simply a matter of quoting numerous texts of Scripture. It goes much deeper than that. The spirit of the Legion is the spirit of Mary and by cultivating a deep union with Mary the Legion tries to share her devotion to the Word of God. Mary is the living Bible, bearing the eternal Word written in her heart and womb.
The Word of God directs the whole of Mary’s life. At the Annunciation she says to the Angel Gabriel: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord be it done unto me according to thy word.’ No wonder this text from St. Luke is the most quoted verse of Scripture in the Handbook. Because the Word of God governs the whole life of Mary so it must direct the whole life of the legionary. The legionary must be steeped in the Word of God if he or she wishes to be radically in tune with Mary.
We recall how after all the events that took place in Bethlehem St. Luke stresses: ‘Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ Again, after Mary lost Jesus for a few days and then found him in the Temple, St. Luke repeats his observation: ‘His mother treasured all these words in her heart.’ Mary is a true contemplative in the radical sense that she is always lovingly attentive to Jesus and roots in her heart his every word and deed. Her love for Him means that her heart forgets nothing about Him. Her devotion to the Word of God is absolute and it is within the ambience of Mary’s consecration to the Word that the legionary tries to root his or her own interior life.
We don’t just read the scriptures we pray them. Every time we open the Scriptures we open the heart of God. There is a loving Person behind every word of Scripture and we are in conversation with Him as we pray the Scriptures. It is important to remember that the Holy Spirit inspired the Sacred Scriptures and gave them to all of us. They are not meant only for the learned and scholars. They are meant for the whole world but especially for those who have faith and participate in the very life of Jesus and Mary. Like Mary, the legionary must treasure the Holy Scriptures. They contain the Word of Life and should be more important to us than any other book even books written by saints. Cardinal Newman puts it so well when he writes: ‘To the end of our lives the Bible remains an unexplored and unsubdued land full of concealed wonders and choice treasures.’
The Scriptures need to be pondered in the heart. Don’t just rush through them, be gentle, listen quietly and patiently for the Holy Spirit and Mary to lead you to Jesus. Read a little and often rather than a lot and seldom. In the Legion one of the privileged ways of praying the Scriptures is through the Rosary. Legionaries know well that the Bible and the Beads go together. The Rosary is prayed with the heart and the mind lovingly dwells on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary as revealed to us in Scripture and the life of the Church. The Rosary is Mary’s own Bible School.
And, of course, we legionaries must listen carefully with mind and heart whenever the Scriptures are read in the Liturgy. If possible meditate on the Liturgy of the Word at home before listening to it during Mass. Let me finish this Allocutio with some words from the Handbook. “The Mass is above all a celebration of faith, of that faith which is born in us and nourished through the hearing of the Word of God. We recall here the words of the General Instruction on the Missal. ’ When the Scriptures are read in Church, God Himself is speaking to His people and Christ, present in his word, is proclaiming the Gospel. Hence the readings from God’s word are among the most important elements in the liturgy, and all who are present should listen to them with reverence.”
“As we participate in the celebration of the Word, Our Lady is our model for she is the attentive Virgin who receives the Word of God with faith, that faith which in her case was the gateway and path to divine motherhood. A legionary will indeed be living in and with Mary if he or she really roots their spiritual life in the Word of God. A legionary will then be able to say with ever more conviction with Mary: ‘Let it be done to me according to thy Word.?