Friday, March 20, 2009

Legion of Mary Acies

Legionaries meet in the familiar homely atmosphere of their praesidium each week to pray and undertake the personal tasks committed to them. That meeting is delightfully described in the Handbook as: A local presence of Mary. We go to our meeting then as one goes on a personal pilgrimage to a holy place of presence. For the Acies, however we are drawn up in battle array, like a great battalion to publicly proclaim allegiance to the Queen of heaven and earth. So there is a note of celebration and consecration about this day.

Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array? The words apply not only to the Queen, but to each one of her faithful legionaries.

You yourself are a rising morning star. In the eyes of God, you too are fairer than the moon, and brighter than the sun. You come before your Queen this day drawn up in battalion array. It is good to acknowledge your own dignity and rejoice in it on this day of celebration.

The Latin word terribilis is hardly well translated into English as terrible. Rather does it mean awesome, wondrous resplendent.” And that’s how Mary sees you in all your splendour. She is waiting to greet you. She appreciates you and thanks you for your service.

Walk then with head held high to the Vexillum of the Legion, and profess your allegiance. This noble Standard is modelled on that of the Roman Legion. Where the eagle was poised, now rests the Holy Spirit. That Spirit rests on you as it rested on the Maid of Nazareth and in the power of the Spirit, you too bring forth Jesus in your life and in the lives of those for whom you work.

Where stood the Emperor beneath the Arch of Triumph to welcome home his battle-weary soldiers, now stands the Empress of Heaven to welcome each one of you to share in the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.

When the Emperor turned his eyes upon the battle-tried soldiers, he not only accepted their expression of loyalty, but rewarded them handsomely for their service. On such occasions, it was the Roman custom to pay out favours to the conquering heroes. These gifts and favours were way beyond the normal rates of pay. They were called charismatic gifts and they denote for us in the our legionary service, the gifts we need for service in the Kingdom of God and his people.

You come then in triumphal procession before heaven and earth this day. While you are an army set in battle array, you are asked to come individually to the Vexillum for thus the Queen sees you. When Bernadette at Lourdes was asked, “Did the Lady look at anyone else but yourself,” she replied: “Yes indeed she did. She Looked all around the crowd and she stopped at some as if they were old familiar friends.” Thus indeed does Our Lady look at each one of you this day. You are not only her loyal servants. You are her old famiiar friends.

You will hold on to the cherished Vexillum, the standard of our Legion and the sign of Victory. You will proclaim the solemn words of your allegiance: “I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all I have is yours.” Be sure of this, the Queen will be more than gracious to you. Thus she speaks to each one of you: “I see your hand stretched out to my sign of victory, and know this: My hands reach out to you. You are bringing about the triumph of my Immaculate Heart and from that Heart I answer: “Beloved Legionary I am yours and all I have is yours."

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