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"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20


You are the Body of Christ

Laura DeMaria

Below is the allocutio I will deliver during the Legion of Mary meeting tomorrow evening. The allocutio is given by the spiritual director, or in his absence, the President, and is a reflection on that week's spiritual reading.

Ch. 28: Government of the Legion: Parts 2, The Curia and the Comitium, Sections 10-11

Tonight’s reading focuses on the annual visitation of a curia to a praesidium. There were a few phrases that stood out to me.

One was, “It is important that this duty…be fulfilled in a spirit of affection and humility which will presume that there will be as much to be learned from as taught to the praesidium visited.”

Also, regarding the idea that such visits are interference, Duff disagrees, writing: “Shall the hand say to the head, ‘I need not your help?’”

We are so focused in the Legion on rule, order and structure, and have discussed at length the reasons for observing the Legion guidelines, and benefits of doing so. Earlier this year when I was at the training to volunteer at the jail, I met another volunteer who said her mother had been in the Legion when she was alive, many years ago. “I imagine the Legion is very different now than then, though,” she commented.

“No,” I answered. “I would think it is very much the same.”

The surprises we receive in the Legion are not due to unpreparedness or lack of protocol, but the surprise that comes from performing the work. I don’t mean solely in the sense of the surprising people we meet or the situations we find ourselves in, but the surprising grace that is always present, always carrying us in our task, always ready to see us through. The real surprise is in seeing how strong you are, and what you’re capable of, when you allow God to use you as He intends. I think this, and not how many rules we have, is the biggest surprise of the Legion.

And too, that sense of learning Duff mentions is constant in the Legion. I learn from your experiences, I learn from the readings, I learn from the way other groups run their meetings and the creative ways people come together to help each other. Humility, patience, greater love, acceptance – this is what we learn. These are the Marian virtues we seek to emulate and which Duff tells are us crucial for that universal call to sainthood.

The imagery of a head and body are familiar as they are a reminder of the idea that the Church is the body of Christ. All people make up this body, and we are connected. We are especially focused on the idea of familial relationships now, as the Synod of Bishops continues in Rome. And just on Sunday, Louis and Zelie Martin, parent of St. Therese of Lisieux, were canonized. They are the first married couple in modern times to be canonized, and were canonized because of their marriage – because of the way they loved one another but God more, how they  served others, raised their children to love God, and how their family home reflected the mystical home of Nazareth.  This tells you all you need to know about how family, marriage and relationships are central in Catholic teaching. We learn that it is in relationships with others that we grow, when we connect with others, as a hand works with a head, as a mother to a child, as a friend to a friend. The Legion provides us an abundance of opportunities to connect with others in our work, our meetings and as we take the spirit of the Legion into our daily lives.

A visit from the Curia is not a cause for concern; it is simply another opportunity to learn. St. Paul said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) Brothers and sisters, let us continue to learn from the relationships we build and the strength we find as part of the body of the Legion and the body of Christ.