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

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Allocutio for the 1002nd meeting (26 March 2009)

The Annunciation and the ACIES

We just celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation yesterday and as Legionaries, around that day we will also have our consecration to our Lady, known as the ACIES. The Handbook said the ACIES as the great central annual function of the Legion, which brings us together, solemnly joyful, to renew our expression of the union and dependence to Mary.

Once I was wondering, why do the ACIES take place on or around the feast of the Annunciation? Well, I don’t precisely know what our founder had in his mind about this, but this take us further to reflect upon the Annunciation. It is the crucial moment in the history of salvation of human kind and everything depends on a single ‘yes’ from a young Virgin. Annunciation is the time when our Lady responded to Her vocation to be the Mother of God, giving Herself completely in the fulfillment of God’s Will and taking Her role in God’s plan of salvation, to be the Mother of you and me. I guess that’s why the ACIES takes place near the Annunciation. The ACIES is time for us to renew our ‘yes’ to our vocation as Legionaries. God wants to save the world to redeem the sinners, but His plan of salvation involves the sinners to participate in this plan. God does not want it to be a mere ‘show of force’ but a proof of love. He acknowledges our wickedness yet He wants to elevate our nature that He respects our freedom. There is Mary standing, as the representative of all human nature from all time and space, agreeing to the pact of peace between God and man kind.

So the same thing happen when you and I stand in front of the vexillum, placing the hand upon the staff of the vexillum, saying “I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours”. It is our saying ‘yes’ to participate in His plan of salvation, together with our Lady, placing ourselves at Her disposal to be used as His instruments. Yes, it means nothing to be held back. That’s why this consecration is at the heart of our vocation as Legionaries. We may think that this consecration is way to demanding. But authentic love of Mary eases these problems. Frank Duff said that 'We are accustomed to think and to say that whatever we give to Our Lady through the Legion is infinitely outweighed by what she gives to us in return. May this idea realise itself fully in your own case’.

Let us recall for a moment this Word of God addressed to Mary, and I’m sure He also meant it for you and me. The Angel says, “The Lord be with you. Do not be afraid for you have won God’s favour”. Whenever we find it difficult to live our vocation as Legionaries, whenever we find it more challenging and demanding, even impossible, remember always His assurance to Mary after Her saying yes, which He is also saying to you and me, as we respond to His calling. A lot of times we wonder, how all of these things or those works be done? How can we fulfill such a high demand which seems impossible? Then imagine the Angel says to you the words he said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” then he continues, “For nothing is impossible for God”.. Yes, precisely it is the Holy Spirit, to whom we address our promise, who will acts within us just as he works in our Lady. What a marvel can be done!

So my dear Legionaries, at the moment we pause in front of the vexillum, seeing the dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit and the picture of Our Lady on the vexillum, and say the words of consecration, “I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours”, remember also that at that moment our dear Lord through our Mother also desires to let you know that He will be with you in your service, He will send the Holy Spirit to act within you, and together with our Lady, you will do the impossible.

What a beautiful moment ACIES is. Brother Paul Wong gave a beautiful analogy that ACIES is like our wedding, a symbolic act of renewing our commitment in the Legion, just as the moment we take our promise. It is a solemn event yet a joyful one. Just like a wedding. So, do make time and the best effort to go for it. Our founder use the bluntest words in the handbook saying that ‘legionaries who can attend, and yet fail to do so, have little or none of the spirit of the Legion in them. The membership of such persons is not an asset to the Legion.' Just as we declare our fealty to Mary, our fellow legionaries are like the congregation who’s there to support and witness it; Just as we pronounce desire to be united to Mary – surely you are not shy in declaring your love to Mary right? Then make sure you declare your consecration to everyone’s ears!- we receive strength and blessings from those present. Therefore, realizing its importance, do come with ourselves prepared. Heart and mind, body and soul. Be punctual, dress your Sunday best. Be solemnly joyful during ACIES (your wedding day is a happy day, right?? So please, don’t look stress or gloomy during the whole ceremony…), and prepare your heart to join our Queen in this joyful occasion. May we truly unite ourselves spiritually with our Queen and Mother during ACIES, and continue living these loving words that we are going to declare full of confidence and simplicity of a child to his Mother, with loyalty and generosity of a soldier to his Queen, “I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours!”.

Have a blessed ACIES everyone!

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