Tomorrow night's spiritual reading will cover the Acies ceremony, an annual event all Legionaries attend to consecrate (or re-consecrate) themselves to Mary. This year was my first Acies and the allocutio is on how moving the ceremony was for me personally.
Ch. 30, Part 1: Acies
Earlier this year, in March, we all gathered at St. Agnes for the Acies, and a few memories stand out to me from that ceremony.
In particular was a conversation I had afterward with an active Legionary from another parish. He was an older man, past his 50s and most likely retired. He was wearing a sort of sporty wind breaker, some gold chains and looked a lot like my uncles and male cousins from the northeast. As we stood in line after the ceremony to enter the parish hall for refreshments, we got to talking about the ceremony and he confessed, “I couldn’t help it, I cried like a baby during the ceremony. I guess I’m just a sentimental old Italian.”
It was funny, not just because he wasn’t someone I expected would cry, but because I had the same experience, and I don’t think it had to do with being Italian and sentimental (though I, too, am both those things). It had more to do with a very real feeling during the Acies of being watched over by Mary. Of being led by the hand to the Legion, a realization of how my life had changed since joining and how my soul has softened and therefore my perspective has softened. It felt like that although sometimes God feels distant, He was suddenly very present – He and Mary were there, watching over me, very aware of my life and what they wanted for me. That is what made me cry.
And then to come to the part of the ceremony where we say, “I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours” - I meant it. What I have is not my own. Whatever I own or have, as good as my life is, I owe all to the Blessed Mother and her Son. That knowledge made me cry, too.
Frank Duff stresses the Acies ceremony as a time for unification and reunion, wherein all of Mary’s “soldiers” are brought together, not operating out in the world via individual praesidia. It is a time for consecration, renewal and remembering the promise we take as Legionaries to serve our Lord and His Mother. This is particularly poignant when we are reunited with Legionaries from all over who share in this special devotion and calling, whose faith can help renew our own. That feeling of community is one of the most special parts of being in the Legion of Mary and the feeling is strengthened by the spirit of Mary, very present in a real way at the Acies.
The next Acies is now only about three months away. In the next three months we can continue to focus on this idea of a consecration to Mary, and look forward to the opportunity to loudly declare ourselves all Hers alongside our fellow Legionaries.