Jesus answered: ‘Will you lay down your life for me?’ - John 13:38

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Legion Prayer

I've promised to post this for a while... hope it's not too late! This is a sharing on the Legion Prayer - my favourite prayer - which us auxies say everyday with much fervour and joy =)

We fly to your patronage,
O Holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

(Invocation appropriate to praesidium)
Pray for us.

On all occasions other than praesidium meetings the invocation to be used by all members will be: –

This prayer has a rich tradition spanning more than 1,700 years – it is the earliest known prayer/hymn to our Lady, and has been found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy dating to A.D. 250. When we utter this humble prayer wholeheartedly, we join ourselves with Marian Christians from antiquity in placing our trust in her marvellous patronage.

Incidentally, the title of this prayer in Latin is “Sub Tuum Praesidium” (lit. “beneath thy compassion”) which should ring familiar for us Legionaries! Here, we remember the Marian title we raise in honour of our Lady, which also serves to name our various praesidia.

Mary Immaculate,
Mediatrix of all Graces.
Pray for us.

This title, also portrayed in sculpted form through the statue of Mary used during Legion meetings, presents our Queen and General in her spectacular Christian persona: sinless, faithful, obedient – and thus made worthy to confer all of God’s graces upon us.

St. Michael and St. Gabriel.
Pray for us.

Protector and Messenger, “champions and princes, leaders of the heavenly army, captains of the angels, servants of the divine glory, guardians and guides of human creatures.”

All you Heavenly Powers,
Mary’s Legion of Angels.
Pray for us.

“Every legionary, active and auxiliary, has a guardian angel who fights blow for blow at his or her side.” We are not alone in our campaigns, and our earthly Legions only represent half the total strength! Let us march on in faith and perseverance like our guardian angels.

St. John the Baptist.
Pray for us.

The “First Recruit” of the Legion, employed by the General herself during the Visitation, the Baptist is a model legionary, exemplary in all his methods and mannerisms – even for this age.

Sts. Peter and Paul.
Pray for us.

Princes of the apostles, forefathers of our Christian faith, stewards of our precious doctrines, fervent guides of all Christians, tireless martyrs of the proto-church, living witnesses of Christ.

Confer, O Lord, on us,
Who serve beneath the standard of Mary,
That Fullness of Faith in You and Trust in her,
To which it is given to Conquer the World.

This is a prayer of petition, imploring our Saviour to grant this Gift of Faith to us, through the Graces of His Blessed Mother Mary who leads us through her most perfect example. We ask not just for a generic faith, but the fullness of Christian belief, an utter and inseparable bond with God, with complete confidence in Mary’s intercession and love for her children – this level of personal sanctification only for the purpose of conquering the world in Christ’s name.

The next 3 lines elaborate on some particular aspects of our faith which our founders have found pertinent to the ministry – I believe we could be inspired by this prayer format to create further prayers for others.

Grant us a Lively Faith, animated by Charity,
Which would Enable us to perform all our Actions
From the motive of Pure Love of You,
And ever to See You and Serve You in our Neighbour;

First on the list is liveliness – a faith to be lived out – fuelled by generous, giving love, so that all we do can flow forth from that profound connection with Christ’s earthly ministry. This, which we ask in humility, we hope will help us to accomplish one of our most important standing instructions.

This line always reminds me to pour more love in everything I do, to be more aware of the times I have held back, to ponder how to better express my love for Christ through bringing him to others.

A Faith, Firm and Immovable as a Rock,
Through which we shall rest Steadfast and Tranquil
Amid the Crosses, Toils and Disappointments of Life;

Next, we ask for firmness – to stand tall even as the world changes all around us, even as persecution, trials and failure besiege us relentlessly.

Here I always remember the times obstacles challenged my resolve, and whether I was able to connect it with the Cross of Christ. If I had fallen under its weight, could I climb back up with faith?

A Courageous Faith which will Inspire us
To Undertake and Carry Out, without Hesitation,
Great Things for Your Glory and for the Salvation of Souls;

Thirdly, a quality to move us: courage – for the sole purpose of advancing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, whether through small acts in the background or bigger ones in the open, in a manner so confident of our union with Christ and Mary as to negate all hesitation.

For me, hesitation is always a major concern. I would recall the times I doubted myself, and especially the times I doubted others. Was it necessary to ‘undertake’ (i.e. plan) further? Were my doubts merely obstacles? Do they glorify God?

A Faith which will be our Legion's Pillar of Fire:
- To Lead us forth United,
- To Kindle everywhere the Fires of Divine Love,
- To Enlighten those who are in Darkness and in the Shadow of Death,
- To Inflame those who are Lukewarm,
- To bring back Life to those who are dead in Sin,
And which will guide our own feet in the Way of Peace;

The Pillar of Fire alludes to the Exodus, when God led His people unequivocally and visibly, so we may remember His presence even as the world becomes increasingly fixated on the non-spiritual. The five points elaborate how we hope His Real leadership will manifest in our ministry – uniting, initiating, enlightening, refuelling, and resurrecting – so that we can march on with peace in His footsteps.

I tend to see these Five points as a checklist of actions – having received the gift of faith, these Five would follow. I offer up the times I have managed a glimpse of any instance of the Five, and I also offer up the times I failed, so I may be given a second chance.

So that, the Battle of Life over,
Our Legion may reassemble,
Without the loss of anyone,
In the Kingdom of Your Love and Glory.

“Once a Legionary, always a Legionary”, even unto death! The spirit of the Legion always looks ahead, full of hope, ever striving to reach Christ through Mary. With such an end in mind, we are strengthened and consoled!

Here I offer up the praesidia which I have had the honour of working with, along with the legionaries I can recall, especially those facing troubles.

May the souls of our departed legionaries,
And the souls of all the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Having considered the future, the end times, we accept our mortality and the mortality of those who have returned to God before us. But we remain certain of the Father’s promise of eternal life in peace, as certain as the memories of the glorious dead which we share.

Here I recall the famous legionaries and those who have recently passed away, and I lift them up to the Father’s capable hands.

Then follows immediately the blessing of the priest.

The priestly blessing is enriched by the priest’s personal sanctification and prayers, a life consecrated to serving God and His people – and as such, his blessing is always strongly desired by the lay faithful who are faced with the temptations of secular life. Has your spiritual director been left out of late?

Yup, that's the long and short of it! Would you like to join us auxies in praying this most remarkable prayer everyday? You are most certainly welcome to try! In the meantime, I hope you guys would try saying the prayer a bit slower - I know at the end of meeting everybody just wants go off yea? - but don't let these fantastic words fly right through! It would be good if you could meditate on at least one stanza of the Legion Prayer every meeting: it would serve you well in your daily work!

love, gerg


aizirk said...

Thanks for sharing this refreshing and insightful reflection on the concluding prayer! I must admit it's rather easy to breeze through it at the end of the meeting without really thinking about the richness and depth of it. Thanks for reminding us to pray it with the reverence and attention it calls for.

alveolate said...

no prob... it's the least an auxie could do =)

martin james said...

The Holy Spirit really does move in wisdom! Thank you for this masterpiece alveo!
Thank you and God bless you!