The Legion and the Year of the Eucharist
Today the 17th of October. the final day of the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico marks the official beginning of the Year of the Eurharist. The Holy Father says that he hopes two objectives will be achieved during this year: to value the Sunday Mass and to intensify Eucharistic Adoration. The attainment of these two objectives will bring about a profound renewal of the whole Church. In a special way I think the Year of the Eucharist will be a magnificent opportunity for a profound renewal of our Legion spirituality and apostolic vocation. It should be a year of superabundant grace for each and every one of us.
Why is the Eucharist so important for us? Well, first of all, the Eucharist is not just Something it is Someone. It is a Person. It is Jesus Christ made present to us in total personal and intimate aceessibility. Surely, there is no one more important to us legionaries than Jesus Christ and in the Eucharist he offers us Himself as perfect friend in the most profound relationship. There is nothing Mary wants more than to make Her Son the real centre of our lives and of the whole Legion. The Euchurist is God’s gift to us and the perfect means of enabling us to become transformed into Christ. The more deeply we participate in the Eucharist as sacrifice, communion and place of adoration the more surly will we become true Christians and apostles. In his encyclical on the Eucharist the Holy Father points out that the Church draws her very life from the Eucharist. In a variety of ways the Church joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”. (Mt. 28:20) but in the Eucharist she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. In the Eucharist we have the daily verification of Our Lord’s words: “I am with you always.”
In his letter for the beginning of this Year of the Eucharist he recalls the beautiful prayer of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Stay wilh us Lord for it is almost evening”. It is a lovely ejaculatory prayer that we could make our own not just as we move into the evening of our lives but every day. Stay with us Lord. Jesus answers that prayer with infinite compassion in the Eucharist.
But the Year of the Eucharist should have special meaning for us legionaries. Some of the most sublime passages of the Handbook are about the Eucharist. We need to concentrate on those passages in the months ahead. So let us for instance remember today that passage where the Handbook points out that the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is not worth more than the Mass because they are one and same Sacrifice. We have access to every grace we could possibly need in the Mass. “The graces, which are thus asked for, flow one and all from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. By means of the Mass, the Sacrifice of the Cross is continued among men. The Mass is not a mere symbolic representation of the past, but places really and actually present in our midst that supreme action which Our Lord consummated on Calvary, and which redeemed the world. The Cross was not worth more than the Mass. because the two are but one and the selfsame Sacrifice, time and space being pushed aside by the hand of omnipotence. The priest and the victim are the same, the setting alone is different. The Mass contains everything that Christ offered to God, and all that he acquired for us: and the offerings of those who assist at Mass become one with the great offering of Christ.
Therefore to the Mass must the legionary have recourse if a plenteous sharing in the gifts of redemption is desired for oneself and for others. By reason of the fact that opportunities and circumstances differ so much, the Legion does not impose any obligation on its members in this matter. Nevertheless, solicitous for them and their work, it urges and implores each one of them to assist frequently - every day if at all possible - at Mass, and at that Mass to receive Holy Communion”.
So for the Year of the Eucharist I put three things before every legionary as an invitation and apostolic challenge.
If at all possible go to daily Mass and receive Holy Communion even if it requires sometimes heroic effort and sacrifice. Think of what Our Lord and his Mother have sacrificed for us.
To pay a daily visit to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament even if it is only for a few minutes.
Encourage at least one person to come back to Sunday Mass.
In conclusion let me say that if you do your best to do these three things during the Year of the Eucharist it will be a tremendous source of grace not only for you personally, but for the whole Legion and the Church throughout the world. Because we are working with Mary and for her we must do everything that lies within our power to renew our faith in the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.