ADDITIONAL GRADES OF MEMBERSHIP
In addition to the ordinary active
membership, the Legion recognises two other grades of membership:-
The Praetorian (The Praetorian Guard
was the picked regiment of the Roman army degree is a higher grade of
active membership, consisting of those who to the ordinary obligations
of membership undertake to add:-
- The daily recitation of all the prayers comprised in the
tessera of the Legion;
- daily Mass and daily Holy Communion. No one should be
deterred from undertaking the praetorian degree by fears that he will
not succeed in attending Mass or receiving Holy Communion absolutely
every day. No one can be certain of such exact regularity as this.
Anyone, who does not fail normally more often than once or twice a
week, may register with confidence as a praetorian;
- the daily recitation of an Office approved by the Church,
especially the Divine Office or a substantial part of it, for example
Morning and Evening Prayer. A shorter breviary containing these hours
with night prayer has been approved for use.
Occasionally comes the suggestion
that meditation be substituted for, or made an alternative to, an
Office. But this proposal would not accord with the essential idea of
praetorian membership, which is that of uniting the legionary to the
great official acts of the Mystical Body. The active work of the
legionary is a participation in the official apostolate of the Church.
Praetorian membership aims at immersing him still deeper in the
corporate life of the Church. Obviously it must prescribe Mass and Holy
Communion, because these are the central ceremonies of the Church,
renewing daily the paramount Christian act.
Next in the Liturgy comes the
Office, the corporate utterance of the Church, in which Christ prays.
In any Office which is built upon the Psalms we use the prayers
inspired by the Holy Spirit and thus get close to that corporate Voice
which must be heard by the Father. That is why an Office, and not
meditation, is a condition of praetorian membership.
"As grace develops in us, our love
must take on new forms," said Archbishop Leen to his legionaries. The
reciting of the entire Divine Office, for those in a position to do it,
would represent such an expansion of love.
The following is to be understood:-
- This is only a degree of membership and not a separate unit
of organisation. Thus, separate praesidia of praetorians shall not be
- the praetorian degree of membership is to be regarded as no
more than a private contract of the individual legionary;
- nothing implying the smallest degree of moral compulsion is
to be resorted to for the gaining of praetorians. Thus, while
legionaries may, and should frequently be recommended to undertake this
degree, no names are to be taken or mentioned publicly;
- membership is effected by the entry of a name on a special
- Spiritual Directors and Presidents shall endeavour to
increase their praetorian membership, but shall, as well, keep in touch
with existing members so that these may not tire in their chivalrous
If the Spiritual Director were willing to allow his name to be inserted
in the praetorian register, it would intensify his legionary
membership, and bind him still more strongly to his praesidium. As
well, it could not but react favourably upon the growth of the
praetorian membership of the praesidium.
The Legion anticipates much from the
praetorian degree. It will lead many members on to a life of closer
union with God through prayer. It will mean the incorporation in the
Legion system of a heart of prayer; in which more and more legionaries
will tend to bury themselves. This will inevitably affect the whole
spiritual circulation of the Legion and make the Legion grow in the
spirit of reliance upon prayer in all its works. In fact it will cause
the Legion to realise ever more completely that its chief and true
destiny is to spiritualise its members.
This membership is open to priests,
religious and the laity. It consists of those who are unable or
unwilling to assume the duties of active membership, but who associate
themselves with the Legion by undertaking a service of prayer in its
Auxiliary membership is subdivided into two degrees:-
- the primary, whose members shall be simply styled
- the higher, whose members shall be more particularly
designated Adjutores Legionis or Adjutorians.
There are no age limits in the case
of auxiliary membership.
This service need not be offered
directly on behalf of the Legion. It will suffice to offer it in honour
of Our Blessed Lady. Therefore it is conceivable that the Legion might
receive nothing from it, nor does the Legion desire to receive anything
which would do more good elsewhere. But as this service is a legionary
one, it is probable that it will incline the Queen of the Legion to
have regard for the needs of the Legion.
However, it is strongly recommended
that this and all other legionary service be offered to Our Lady as an
unreserved gift to be administered according to her intentions. This
would lift it to a higher level of generosity and thus greatly enhance
its worth. This purpose would be kept in view by saying daily some
formula of offering such as the following: "Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix
of all Graces, I place at your disposal such portion of my prayers,
works and sufferings as is permitted to me."
This twofold auxiliary membership is
to the Legion what its wings are to a bird. With these wings widely
expanded by possession of many auxiliaries, and beating powerfully
under the rhythmic drive of their faithful prayer, the Legion can soar
into the higher air of supernatural ideal and effort. It flies swiftly
wherever it wills, and even the mountains cannot stay its course. But
if those wings are folded, the Legion hobbles awkwardly and slowly
along the ground, brought to a stop by the slightest obstacle.
THE PRIMARY DEGREE:
This degree, named the auxiliaries,
is the left wing of the Legion's praying army. Its service consists in
the daily recitation of the prayers comprised in the tessera, namely:
the invocation and prayer of the Holy Spirit; five decades of the
rosary and the invocations which follow them; the Catena; and the
prayers described as "concluding prayers". These may be divided
throughout the day, as convenient.
Persons who are already saying a
daily rosary for any intention whatsoever may become auxiliaries
without obligation to say an additional rosary.
THE HIGHER DEGREE:
This is the right wing of the
praying Legion. It comprises those who will (a) recite daily all the
prayers of the tessera and in addition (b) agree to attend Mass and
receive Holy Communion daily, and to recite daily an Office approved by
See the reference in praetorian
membership to the special value of an Office.
Accordingly adjutorian membership is
to the ordinary auxiliary membership what the praetorian membership is
to the ordinary active membership. The additional duties are the same.
Failure once or twice a week to
fulfil the required conditions would not be regarded as a notable
failure in the duty of membership.
An Office is not required from
religious who are not bound by their Rule to say one.
The effort should be made to lead on
the ordinary auxiliary to adjutorian membership, for it offers a
veritable way of life. What is said in the section on the praetorians
in regard to the uniting of the legionary to the prayer of the Church,
and to the special value of an Office, applies likewise to the
Special appeal is addressed to
priests and religious to become adjutorians. The Legion earnestly
desires union with this consecrated class, which has been specially
deputed to lead lives of prayer and close intimacy with God, and which
forms in the Church a glorious power-station of spiritual energy.
Effectively linked up with that power-station, legionary machinery
would pulsate with an irresistible force.
Consideration will show how little
this membership would add on to their existing obligations - no more,
indeed, than the Catena, the Legion prayer, and some invocations: a
matter of some minutes only. But through that bond with the Legion they
have it in their power to become the driving force of the Legion.
"Give me," said Archimedes of old,
"a lever and a support for it, and I will lift the Earth itself."
United to the Legion, the adjutorians will find in it that essential
support on which to rest the long lever of their holy prayers, which
then become omnipotent to uplift the burdened souls of the entire world
and move away its mountainous problems.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS AFFECTING BOTH DEGREES
OF AUXILIARY MEMBERSHIP
- Supplementary Service. The Legion appeals to auxiliaries of
both degrees to regard the essential conditions of membership, not as
limits of service, but as a minimum which they will chivalrously
supplement by many other prayers and acts made specially with this
It is suggested to priest-adjutores that they should in all their
Masses make a special memento, and even occasionally offer the Holy
Sacrifice, for Mary's intentions and the Legion. Other auxiliaries
might, even at the expense of some sacrifice, find it possible to have
a Mass offered occasionally for the same intention.
However generously the auxiliary may give to the Legion, nevertheless
he receives one hundredfold, one thousandfold, one millionfold in
return. And how is this? It is because the Legion teaches its
auxiliaries - no less than its active members how great is Mary,
enlists them in soldierly service for her, and makes them love her
properly. All this is something so great that words like "millionfold"
do not measure the gain. It raises the spiritual life to a higher
plane, and thereby assures a more glorious eternity.
- Who can refuse to Mary this sort of gift? For she who is
the Queen of the Legion is, as well, Queen of the Universe and of all
its departments and concerns, so that to give to her is to give where
the need is greatest, where one's prayers will accomplish most.
- In administering the store thus placed in her hands, Mary
Immaculate will have regard to the requirements of one's ordinary life
and duties and to all existing obligations. The question may arise: "I
would wish to join, but I have already given everything to Mary with
complete abandon, or to the Holy Souls, or to the Missions. Everything
is gone. There is nothing left over for the Legion, so of what use am I
to its auxiliary ranks?" The Legion answers: It is of great benefit for
the Legion to gain so unselfish a person. Your anxiety to help the
Legion is in itself an additional prayer, a proof of special purity of
intention, an irresistible call upon the limitless generosity of the
guardian of the Divine treasury. Certain it is that if you join she
will respond, and that the new intention will gain while the old
intentions will not lose. For it is the art of this most wonderful
Queen and Mother that, though she has availed of our offer and helped
others liberally from our spiritual treasures, yet we ourselves have
grown strangely richer. Her intervention has meant the doing of an
extra work. A marvellous multiplication has taken place: what St.
Louis-Marie de Montfort calls a secret of grace and thus describes:
"Inasmuch as our good works pass through the hands of Mary, they
receive an augmentation of purity and consequently of merit and of
satisfactory and impetratory value. On this account they become more
capable of solacing the souls in Purgatory and of converting sinners
than if they did not pass by the virginal and liberal hands of Mary.
" Every life has need of the potency of this admirable transaction,
where what we have is taken, placed at usury, accomplishes its work,
and then returns with increment. This force can be found in the gift to
Mary of a faithful auxiliary membership.
- Possibly because of the number of souls in stress with
which it is in touch, Mary seems to have given to her Legion some
little of her own irresistible appeal to the heart. Legionaries will
not find it difficult to enlist their friends in this auxiliary service
so vital to the Legion, and so valuable to the auxiliaries themselves.
Thereby they are associated to Legion membership, with share in all the
prayers and works of the Legion.
- The discovery, too, has been made that the membership of
the Legion's auxiliary or praying ranks has the same power to catch the
imagination that active membership possesses. Persons who otherwise
would not think of saying the rosary every day, are found to be
faithfully carrying out the obligations of auxiliary membership, which
demands the daily recitation of all the prayers on the Legion
prayer-card, already detailed. Numbers in infirmaries and other
institutions, who had lost heart, have gained an interest in life
through joining the Legion auxiliaries; while multitudes in villages,
and living otherwise in circumstances which tend to make religion a
tame thing, if not a matter of routine, have through their auxiliary
membership realised that they are of importance to the Church; and have
found themselves taking a proprietary interest in the Legion, reading
with intense interest any scrap of news about it they chance to see.
They feel themselves to be part of its most distant battles for souls.
They realise it to be dependent upon their prayers. Accounts from
different places of noble and exciting deeds done for souls fill their
drab lives with the throb of those far-distant doings. Their existences
have become transformed by that most inspiring of ideas, the sense of
participation in a crusade. And even the holiest of lives require the
stimulation of such an idea.
- It should be the object of every praesidium to bring every
Catholic in its area into auxiliary membership. Thereby a favourable
soil is provided for the working of other aspects of the Legion
apostolate. A visitation for this purpose, implying a compliment, will
be universally well received and a goodly response may be anticipated.
- To the extent that members of other Catholic societies and
activities are brought into this auxiliary degree, there is effected a
integration of all those activities. They are thereby united in prayer,
sympathy, idealism, under the auspices of Mary, but without the
slightest interference with their own autonomy or characteristics and
without alienating their prayers from their own movements. For note
that those auxiliary prayers are offered in honour of Our Blessed Lady
and not on behalf of the Legion.
- A Non-Catholic cannot be an auxiliary member. But in the
event (which is of occasional occurrence) where such a person is
willing to recite all the Legion prayers daily, he should be supplied
with a tessera and encouraged in his generous programme. Special note
should be taken of his name so as to keep in touch with him. It is
certain that Our Blessed Lady will be attentive to the needs of that
- It is the Legion's world-wide adventure and battle for
souls, rather than the local needs, which are to be represented to the
auxiliaries as the object of their service of prayer. The conception
should be placed before their minds that though they are not in the
fighting ranks, nevertheless they play an essential part, comparable to
that of the munition workers and the supply services, without which the
fighting forces are powerless.
- Persons should not be lightly accepted as auxiliaries. In
advance they should be made fully acquainted with the obligations, and
there should be reasonable assurance that they will be true to them.
- With a view to intensifying the interest of the auxiliaries
in the service undertaken by them, and thus
- in the present, improving its quality and ensuring its
- (2) in the future, leading them on to adjutorian and
active membership; they should be given an insight into the work of the
- The keeping in touch with the auxiliaries for the purpose
of preserving their membership and interest will be necessary, and will
provide admirable work for certain of the legionaries whose ideal
should be the leading on still further of their charges.
- Every auxiliary should be made aware of the great benefits
attaching to membership of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.
As the auxiliary is already saying more than the amount of prayer
required by the Confraternity, the only additional obligation entailed
by joining the latter is the registration of name.
- Likewise, in the interest of the full development of the
auxiliary soldiers of Mary, the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin -
or entire consecration of one's life to Mary - should at least be
explained to them. Many of them might be glad to undertake this fuller
service of her which entails the giving of their spiritual treasures to
her whom God has already appointed his own Treasurer. Where is the room
for misgiving, because Mary's intentions are the interests of the
Sacred Heart. They take in every need of the Church. They cover the
whole apostolate. They extend the whole world over. They descend also
to the Holy Souls biding their time in the abode of Purgatory. Zeal for
Mary's intentions is comprehensive care for the needs of our Lord's
Body. For she is no less the solicitous Mother now than she was in the
days of Nazareth. Conformed to her intentions, one goes straight to the
goal, which is God's Will. But making one's own approach, what a
tortuous route results: will it ever bring one to the journey's end?
Lest some might be inclined to think that this devotion can be
practised only by persons of advanced spirituality, it is important to
record that it was to souls just emerging from the bondage of sin, and
to whose darkened memory it was necessary to recall the elementary
truths of the Catechism, that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort spoke of the
rosary, of devotion to Mary, and of the Holy Slavery of Love.
- It is desirable and in fact essential to set up amongst the
auxiliaries some loose form of organisation comprising meetings or
rallies of its own. Such a network in the community would tend to
permeate it with the apostolic and prayerful ideals of the Legion, so
that soon all may be found putting those ideals into revolutionary
- A Confraternity based on auxiliary membership would be
nothing less than any other Confraternity. But in addition, it would be
the Legion, with all the Legion's warmth and colour. The periodic
meetings of such a Confraternity would keep its members in touch with
the spirit and needs of the Legion and make them more ardent in its
- It should be the aim to bring every auxiliary into the Patricians,
for the two supplement each other ideally. The Patrician meeting will
fulfil the purpose of the periodic reunion recommended for the
auxiliaries. It will keep them in touch with the Legion and develop
them in important ways. Then on the other hand, if the Patricians are
recruited into auxiliary membership, it would represent for them
another step upwards and onwards.
- Auxiliaries must not be employed on ordinary active Legion
work. Proposals to utilise them in this way are at first sight
attractive. It seems a good thing to lead on the auxiliaries. But
examination will show that what is really at stake is the doing of
legionary work without the Legion meeting, in other words the setting
aside of the vital condition of active membership.
- Where deemed desirable or possible, auxiliaries may
participate in the Acies, which in such circumstances forms an
admirable function for them and brings them into intimate touch with
the active legionaries. Auxiliaries who are prepared to make the
individual Act of Consecration, should make it after the active
- The invocation to be inserted on the tessera for auxiliary
members shall be, "Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of all Graces, pray for
- The Legion's call to the active member to be "ever on duty
for souls" is addressed likewise to the auxiliary. Just as much as the
active member, the auxiliary must strain every nerve to bring others
into legionary service. By this addition of link to link the Catena
Legionis can be made into a golden network of prayer enveloping the
It is frequently suggested that
the prayers of the auxiliary service should be reduced or changed to
meet the case of blind or illiterate persons or of children. Apart from
the fact that an obligation is inclined to lose its binding force
according as it becomes less definite, the impossibility of
administering such a concession should be manifest. It could not and
would not long be withheld from the less illiterate, the partly blind,
or the very busy. In time, the relaxation would become the ordinary
No! The Legion must insist upon
the performance of the standard service. If this is beyond the powers
of certain persons, they cannot be auxiliaries. But they can give
invaluable help by praying for the Legion in their own way, and they
should be encouraged thereto.
- It is allowable to require the auxiliary to defray the cost
of the tessera and of a certificate of membership. But otherwise no
subscription shall be payable in respect of auxiliary membership.
- A roll of its auxiliary members, containing names and
addresses, and subdivided as to adjutorians and ordinary auxiliaries,
shall be kept by each praesidium and shall be submitted periodically to
the Curia or to its authorised visitors. This roll shall be examined
carefully with a view to seeing that it is being properly kept, that
new members are being zealously sought for, and that existing members
are being visited occasionally to secure that having put their hand to
the plough, they may not turn back. (cf. Lk 9:62)
- Membership of the auxiliary degree is effected by the entry
of name upon the auxiliary roll of any praesidium. This roll shall be
in the care of the Vice-President.
- Names of candidates for the auxiliary degree shall be
placed on a provisional list until three months' probation has been
served. Then the praesidium must satisfy itself that the obligations of
membership have been faithfully discharged before placing the
candidate's name on the auxiliary roll.