"THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE"
(1 Cor 13:13)
Mary was so utterly full of charity
that she was found worthy to conceive and bring into the world him who
is Charity itself. The Legion of Mary, depending for its very life on
devotedness to her and imitation of her, must necessarily be
distinguished by this selfsame quality of intense charity. It must be
full of charity: then only will it bring charity into the world. It is
important, therefore, that the following directives be carefully
1. For entry to the ranks
of the Legion, there shall be no social, racial, national or
colour discrimination. Fitness for membership is to be the only test.
The legionary apostolate will accomplish even more by indirect action,
that is, as the leaven in the community, than directly by the works in
hand. If the entire community is to be brought fully under the
influence of legionary action, it follows that the Legion's ranks must
contain representatives of every section of the community.
2. Within its own ranks
there should be an unaffected simplicity and sincere mutual charity
among the members, all distinctions being non-existent. If love is due
to those whom the legionary serves, it is no less due to one's
fellow-members. The spirit of distinction is evidence of the absence of
the first qualification for membership, which is the spirit of love.
The whole idea and spirit of the Legion is one of intense charity and
sympathy, which before radiating its warmth outside must first of all
burn brightly and strongly on the domestic hearth of the Legion itself.
"By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for
one another." (Jn 13:35)
Charity practised in its ranks will soon be practised at large.
Divisions removed by membership are on the way to being removed from
3. Towards other
organisations, whose aims are compatible with the Church's
mission, there should be a spirit of readiness to give cooperation and
assistance whenever possible. Not all Catholics can be brought into the
Legion's own ranks for its requirements are far from easy, however, all
should be encouraged to participate in some way in the work of the
Church. Legionaries can further this through their apostolate and
personal contacts. It should be noted, however, that whatever
cooperation is given should not place additional burdens on legionaries
to the detriment of their own apostolate. It is important, also, that
there be discernment in regard to the degree and type of assistance
which is given and to whom it is given. In this connection, reference
should also be made to the sections 'Control of the work by the
Praesidium' (ch 39, no. 6) and 'The intimate nature of the legionary
work must be safeguarded' (ch. 39, no. 8).
4. Towards the Pastors of
the Church there should be shown the filial love due to them
as spiritual fathers and shepherds. Legionaries should share their
anxieties and help them by prayer and, as far as possible, by active
work so that they may be better able to overcome difficulties and carry
out their duties with greater success.
Since pastors of the Church have the
God-given role of communicating divine truth and graces of the
sacraments, it should be the legionaries' concern to keep people in
touch with these bearers of divine gifts and to repair the
link where it has been broken.
This is especially necessary in the
case of those who are in anyway alienated from the clergy for reasons,
justified or unjustified.
People who are seriously ill can be
very reluctant to consult a doctor. Often it takes one's marriage
partner, family or friend to supply the necessary encouragement.
When spiritual health is at stake,
much depends on the quality of charity in those who are close to the
one needing help.
The formation of legionaries helps
them to take the initiative in mediating between priests and souls, and
to do so with gentle refinement. This is an exquisite form of charity.
They act as agents of the Good Shepherd who calls them, through their
baptism to enter into his work.