Legion of Mary  |  Legion of Mary Handbook


The whole idea of organisation is the unification of the many. From the member up through the ascending grades of authority in the Legion must the principle of connection exist, and in the measure that it is wanting will there be a departure from the principle of life.

In a voluntary organisation, the cement of this connection is loyalty; the loyalty of the member to the praesidium, of the praesidium to its Curia, and so on through the ascending grades of legionary authority to the Concilium Legionis; and to the ecclesiastical authorities everywhere. True loyalty will inspire legionary and praesidium and council with a dread of independent action. On all doubtful points, in all difficult situations, and with regard to every new work or novel departure, recourse must be had to appropriate authority for guidance and sanction.

The fruit of loyalty is obedience, and the test of the latter is the readiness to accept situations and decisions which are unpalatable and let it be remarked-to accept them cheerfully. This prompt and cordial obedience is always difficult. Sometimes, to give it violates one's natural inclinations to such an extent as to amount to heroism, to be in fact a sort of martyrdom. And in such terms does St. Ignatius of Loyola speak of it. "Those," he says, "who by a generous effort resolve to obey, acquire great merits; obedience in its sacrifice resembles martyrdom." The Legion expects from its children everywhere that spirit of heroic and sweet docility to proper authority of every sort.

The Legion is an army - the army of the Virgin Most Humble. It must exhibit in its everyday working what is forthcoming in profusion from any earthly army - heroism and sacrifice, even supreme sacrifice. Demands of a supremely exacting character are all the time being made on legionaries, too. Not so often are they called on to offer their bodies to laceration and death, like the soldiers of the world. But let them rise gloriously higher in the things of the spirit. Let them be ready to offer their feelings, their judgment, their independence, their pride, their will, to the wounds of contradiction and the death of a wholehearted submission, when authority requires.

"Deep harm to disobey, seeing obedience is the bond of rule," says Tennyson, but the Legion's life-line can be sundered by more than wilful disobedience. The same result is achieved by the officers whose neglect of the duties of attendance or correspondence cuts off their praesidia or councils from the main tide of legionary life. The same deep harm is done by those, whether officers or members, who attend their meetings, but whose attitude there - from whatever cause-is calculated to promote disunion.

"Jesus obeyed his Mother. You have read how all that the Evangelists tell of Christ's hidden life at Nazareth with Mary and Joseph is that 'He was subject to them' and 'advanced in wisdom and age' (Lk 2: 51-52) Is there anything incompatible with his divinity in this? Certainly not. The Word is made Flesh; He has stooped so far as to take a nature like to ours, sin excepted: He came, said he, 'not to be ministered unto, but to minister' (Mt 20:28) to be 'obedient unto death' (Phil 2:8); that is why he willed to obey his Mother. At Nazareth he obeyed Mary and Joseph, the two privileged beings whom God had placed near him. In a certain measure, Mary shares in the authority of the Eternal Father over his Son's Humanity. Jesus could say of his Mother what he said of his Father in Heaven: 'I do always the things that please him' (Jn 8:29)" (Marmion: Christ, the Life of the Soul)