It is necessary, therefore, to emphasise a principle which must govern the attitude of the legionary towards his work. It is that legionaries are no mere instruments of Mary's action. There is question of a true co-operation with her for the purpose of enriching and ransoming the souls of men. In that co-operation each supplies what the other cannot give. The legionary gives his action and his faculties: that is all of himself; and Mary gives herself with all her purity and power. Each is bound to contribute without reserve. If the spirit of this partnership is honoured by the legionary, Mary will never be found wanting. Therefore, the fate of the enterprise may be said to depend entirely on the legionary, so that he must bring to it all his intelligence and all his strength, perfected by careful method and by perseverance.~ Handbook Chapter 6. Point 4
I was just reading an article about Brother Alfie Lambe in this month's Maria Legionis. There's one quote in big bold letters that says "Living the Legion." It was a favourite phrase of Alfie's and by it he meant allowing the spirit of the Legion to touch and influence every aspect of his life.
Isn't that an inspiring and profound idea. In a way this is linked to Paulie's post this morning. We must live our Legionary spirit, our Legionary vocation (if I may call it that) in our everyday lives, and thus make all our secular activities part of our Legion duty of sanctifying ourselves and pointing others along towards the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Paul also once told me (and I mentioned it in a previous allocutio) that the Legion is not really like other church ministries. It's more of a lifestyle that a ministry. We are not members of the Legion only during our meeting and during our contact work. It is a life to be lived in imitation of Mary, proclaiming Her to the world, living lives that would make Her proud, supplying Her what She needs in Her mission to be Mother to the world - hands, feet, mouths, eyes and ears.
Alfie Lambe, the article says, "would have us believe that the Legion of Mary is to become a legion of Marys." His faith allowed him to believe that nothing is impossible and that "all could be achieved if only we do our best now in the situation and the circumstances we find ourselves. His approach was not to see the problem, rather to bring to bear the solution." With this hope and trust, Alfie Lambe was able to tranform people and places that had been, until then, closed to the Legion. Nothing could resist this zealous Legionary's "energy of faith." The same could be said about us, and our field of enterprise - NUS.
I'm digressing from where I started, but this reminds me of what Robert F Kenendy (brother of President John F Kennedy, former US Attorney General, and possibly President too, if he had not be shot and killed while running for that office) used to say:
I dream things that never were and say why not."
I think such idealism is absolutely essential, whether we are trying to change a country, or just responding to the little challenges and opportunities we find along life's journey. And I also believe that a Legionary cannot help having such idealism, because, in the end we can count on the support of Someone far greater than us.
Remember, "Mary will never be found wanting"