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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Immaculate Conception and The Legion

Allocutio for the 986th Meeting of Regina Coeli Praesidium
The Immaculate Conception and the Legion

We are coming to one of Our Lady’s Feast day, the Immaculate Conception. This dogma was pronounced and defined in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus in 8 December 1854 by Pope Pius IX, only 4 years before our Lady revealed herself to St. Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858, calling Herself as “I am the Immaculate Conception”. This dogma says “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin”.

To my surprise, this particular dogma of our Lady has a strong relation with the Legion. About this in the chapter of “Devotional Outlook of the Legion”, our handbook says “A second aspect of Legion devotion is towards the Immaculate Conception”. This devotion clearly is reflected in its prayers which strongly rooted on a profound faith in God and the love he bears his children. At the very first Legion meeting, the members prayed and deliberated around the little altar of the Immaculate Conception identical with that which now forms the centre of every Legion meeting. So, even from the very first breath of the Legion, may be said to have drawn in an ejaculation in honour of this privilege of Our Lady which formed the preparation for all the dignities and all the privileges afterwards accorded to her.

Yes, this privilege is part of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and together with the privilege, prophecy is made of the heavenly sequel, the Divine Maternity, the crushing of the serpent’s head in Redemption, and Mary’s motherhood of men. Our Founder put this text from Genesis 2:15, as the best entrance to the spirit of the Legion “I will put enmities between you and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; She shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her hell”. Fr Bede McGregor, in his allocution to the Concilium in December 2007 commented on this, “If there had been even the slightest moral fault in Mary and even if it was only for a split second, then for that brief moment she would have not been at enmity with Satan but subject to him. Surely it would be unthinkable in the Mother of God. So, she was indeed created Mary Immaculate”. As Her Legionaries, we wish to turn these words, addressed to satan by Almighty God, together with our Lady’s total opposition to sin, as our source of confidence and strength in our daily warfare with sin, the only thing that destroys human person so profoundly. Yes, this struggle is never easy, but we need to remember there is pledge of victory in our Lady. (Also, as we are in Advent season so one more reason to struggle more :)

The Immaculate Conception is not only about freedom from the least of sin, but also about the fullness of grace in Mary. No one say that to be the Mother of God is easy. So, She is given all the grace she needs to be a worthy Mother of God and Mother of all of us, and her whole life is to be the instrument of all the graces merited by the passion and death of Our Lord. So do we as legionaries, like our Mother, we are not simply busy seeking out evil and condemning it, but we are called to be an instrument of grace in out world, to be the apostle of grace. Like what our Mother has shown, our lives too, are to proclaim the joy of spreading the Gospel, to spread the well founded hope in God through our Lady in the worst possible situation.

Also in relation with this is the indispensable sacramental of our Legion Apostolate, our devotion to the Miraculous Medal. This Medal has the richness of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. So when we distribute it, or when we ourselves wearing it, it is also good to go to the understanding the meaning of the Medal, which is to bring the immense hope and good news that with Mary they can overcome every obstacle to union with Our Lord and with each other in Him.

So, as we prepare ourselves in this Advent season, we can consider to the example that our Lady has given for us. Her whole life is a Magnificat of thanksgiving and of praising the mercy of God. That is why she loves to call herself the Immaculate Conception because it points to Jesus and his redemptive love, not only for her, but for all mankind. We too, as legionaries, together with our Lady, let’s become channels of God’s Mercy in union with Mary, our Lady, our Queen, and our Mother. Amen.

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