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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fidelity: Allocutio by Brother Dominic - 31 July 2008

Our praesidia are struggling a bit at the moment - with numbers, commitment, work. But we must keep faith and hope. Also, while we pray and await our Lord's help, I think there's something thing our Lord expects of us: fidelity.

Perhaps we can take the analogy of the mustard seed? We hear of faith the size of a mustard seed in the Gospels but think also of the "fidelity" of a mustard seed. It waits dormant until the right conditions come its way and it can start growing. But until then, it holds the spark of life - the embryo within it faithfully...patiently waiting

What is fidelity?
Fidelity is a good habit, a voluntary and constant activity, an uplifting inner force that leads ne to fulfill with sincerity and fortitude the commitments one has contracted, the promises one has made, te word one has given.
- Javier Abad, Fidelity
The Bible is full of references to the faithfulness of God and His requirement of fidelity from us: What I want is love, not sacrifices" (Hosea 6:6)

We are often reminded that the Legion of Mary is modelled after the Roman Legion. Here's what the Handbook says about this army:
The spirit of the Roman Legion may be summed up as one inspired by submission to authority, an unflagging sense of duty, perseverance in the face of obstacles, endurance in hardship, and loyalty to the cause in the tiniest details of duty.

Such was the pagan ideal of reliable service. The legionary of Mary must also have this virility, but supernaturalised and tempered and sweetened by contact with her who can best teach the secret of loving, gracious service.

They were faithful in the little things as well as the big.

How are we called to be faithful?
Fidelity to the spirit of the Legion, our weekly meetings, our allocated work, our prayers, our duty to recruit new members.

Our weekly meetings are of special importance as atrendance is the very basic duty of every active member
Fidelity in attendance in the face of long travelling to and fro is proof of a deep supernatural vision, for natural reasoning suggests that the value of the meeting is outweighed by the waste of time involved in the travelling. But it is not time wasted. It is a part, and a specially meritorious part, of the whole work done. Was Mary's long journey in the Visitation a waste of time?
- Handbook Chapter 33
With regard to our allocated work:
Soldierly duty may variously mean death, or the monotony of a sentry beat, or the scrubbing of a barrack-floor. But in each case, duty alone is looked to, not what that duty comprises. In all circumstances is found the same fidelity, and defeat or victory do not affect duty. No less solid must be the legionary's conception of duty; no less thorough its application to each item of work, the most insignificant as well as the most difficult.
-Handbook Chapter 33

Another important way of living the virtue of Fidelity by being faithful to the given word: to our Promise, to any commitments we make, responsibilities we take up.

Our duties to our fellow Legionaries are of utmost importance too. We must respect each other and respect the commitments we make to each other regarding our Legion work:
Legionaries owe an especial duty to their co-visitors. Here is the mystic number "two" - the symbol of charity upon which all fruitfulness depends: The Lord "sent them on ahead of him, two by two". (Lk 10:1) But "two" must not signify merely two persons who happen to be working together but a unity such as that of David and Jonathan, whose souls were knit one with the other. Each loved the other as his own soul. (1 Sam 18:1)

"(They) shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves." (Ps 126:6)

It will be in small details that the union of co-visitor with co-visitor will be shown and developed. Broken promises, missed appointments, unpunctuality, failures in charity of thought or word, little discourtesies, airs of superiority: these dig a trench between the two. In such circumstances no unity is possible.

We should be able to rest assured that our brothers and sisters would do nothing against our best interests.
And we all know how much more at ease we are when we go about our contact work or crowd contact along with a trustworthy fellow Legionary as opposed to attempting such work alone.

St Josemaria once said "I value the word of a son of minemore than the unanimous testimony of a hundred witnesses." Let that be said of Legionaries too!

We must be faithful to the Church, in a time when many are unfaithful.

We must be faithful friends. Our contact work must not be done just so that we can give a report of it the next meeting. Our motivation must be charity, and true friendship.

Finally, we have some wonderful patrons who can teach us a thing or two about the virtue of fidelity.

St Joseph, the silent and faithful father, wife and worker; St John the Evangelist, faithful walking with Mary to the foot of the Cross; St Michael with his faithful "Serviam" when Lucifer rebelled; St John the Baptist whose fidelity to the Truth cost him his life; Sts Peter and Paul, pillars of faithfulness upon which Mother Church stands.

It is said that the greatest example of fidelity on earth is the silent, ever patient, selfless fidelity of a mother. As Legionaries, let's look to the greatest model of fidelity we can ever find: Mother Mary, Virgin Most Faithful. Let us ask Her to help us to be devoted children of Hers, and loyal soldiers of Her Legion.

Fidelity has been called "a voluntary, effective, and complete dedication of a person to a cause" Do we consider the work of the Legion of Mary a worthy cause? If we do, let's do the Legion justice! Let's be faithful in everything!

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