This is the phrase that attracts me to the Legion of Mary ‘in union with Mary’
I remember clearly how hesitate I was when I was about joining the Legion of Mary. Reading this third point of the Standing Instruction,
“Third, the performance of a substantial active legionary work, in the spirit of faith..”
and later on, this sentence when I took my Promise,
“I take my place in the ranks of the Legion, and I venture to promise a faithful service”
made me feel afraid. Who am I to promise that kind of ‘substantial’ and ‘faithful’ legionary work? How if after I join then I can’t do the work?
But, reading the continuation part of the third point of the Standing Instruction, comforts me…
“…..and in union with Mary, in such fashion that in those worked for and in one's fellow-members, the Person of our Lord is once again seen and served by Mary, his Mother;”
and it still is one of the most beautiful spirit that I find in the Legion,
“….in union with Mary”
The Handbook also says that it is indispensable spirit of the Legion. Here is one sentence from our Legionary Promise that we address to the Holy Spirit,
“And I realise that the secret of a perfect legionary serviceConsists in a complete union with her who is so completely united to you.”
In union with Mary is how we as legionaries should do our works, services, and furthermore live our life. She is the one who knows how to serve our Lord best, and She has no other desire in Her life other than to please and serve her Son. I find it is the beauty of the legionary service, to see others as Mary sees Christ and to serve others as Mary serves Christ, with the same love which our Lady has for Christ.
Somehow I also find it not easy in the same time.
To be in union with Mary means to do everything also with the same humility and purity of intention as She does. There are times when I do question myself if all I do is only for God’s glory, or for my own pride and purposes. ‘In union with Mary’ also means to do our Legionary services with the same intensity of love, courage, and faithfulness as She does. Most of the times, it is easier to serve the ones we love or like than to serve those we don’t. It is easier to serve when we have more time and comfortable situation than we don’t. But for Mary, it still is to be done with the same Love, for it is done for the same Christ.
On the other hand, I’m glad (and thank God) that Mary is also our Mother. She knows what Her children need. Just as we know that if our mothers want us to do something good, it is absolutely not a wrong thing, even it is a ‘have to do’ thing, to ask her help, to teach us how.
‘In union with Mary’, as Her children, to whom we have pledged ourselves, we are to be daring to ask Her help (in fact, we are to ask Her help since we are in union with her) in our services, to let Her – together with the most Holy Spirit, with whom she works in inseparable union – perfect our imperfections.
And yes! actually we need not to fear if it seems that we are alone in doing our Legionary works since She will always be there to accompany us and unite us with the countless hearts in who love Christ.
Here is a quote in the Handbook at the end of the Standing Instruction:
"Through me, Mary desires to love Jesus too in the hearts of all those whom I can kindle with love as the result of my apostolate and my perpetual prayers. If I wholly identify myself with her, she will so flood me with her graces and with her love that I shall come to resemble an over-brimming stream, that in its turn will flood the souls of others. Because of me, Mary will be enabled to love Jesus and to fill him with joy, not only through my own heart but also through the countless hearts that are united with mine."
(De Jaegher: The Virtue of Trust)
After all, we are all just instruments. She can perfect us and teach us how only if we let Her to do so, humility..
“But there can be no union with Mary without some likeness to her, and there can be little likeness to her in default of her special virtue of humility. If union with Mary is the indispensable condition - the root, so to speak, of all legionary action, then the soil on which these roots depend is humility. If that soil is deficient, the legionary life will wither.”
(From the Chapter of ‘The Duty of Legionaries toward Mary’ point 2)
So, what a privilege for us, not to be just the imitation with Mary, but also to be in union with Her always, in Her army, as Her children, as a family!
"With Mary live joyfully, with Mary bear all your trials, with Mary labour, with Mary pray, with Mary take your recreation, with Mary take your repose. With Mary seek Jesus; in your arms bear Jesus and with Jesus and Mary fix your dwelling at Nazareth. With Mary go to Jerusalem, remain near the Cross of Jesus, bury yourself with Jesus. With Jesus and Mary rise again, with Jesus and Mary mount to Heaven, with Jesus and Mary live and die." (Thomas à Kempis: Sermon to Novices)
Ps: sorry for no page number of the Handbook attached for I use the online version :P. But basicly it comes from the Standing Instruction point 3