The following is adapted from the allocutio I will give tonight based on readings from the Legion of Mary handbook, Legio Mariae. (The allocutio is a spiritual talk given by the spiritual director or, when he is not there, the president, during the Legion of Mary meeting.)
Ch. 24, The Patrons of the Legion
Part 6: The Heavenly Powers, Mary’s Legion of Angels
Key points and phrases:
· “Mary our mother, ceaselessly accompanied by angels.”
· The angels are her "most glorious troops"
· The angels are a heavenly counterpart to the Legion campaign
· The interest of our angels in our work is most intense, and most unfailing
· The guardian angels of those we visit and assist also play a role
· Mary has the power to command angels to protect us
We continue the angel theme this week. We have heard about St. Michael, St. Gabriel and now, the Legion of Angels which serve as Mary’s “most glorious troops” and aid her and us in our work.
I have been very intrigued for a long time about the concept of “spiritual warfare.” It sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? But it gives us a sense of the larger, cosmic meaning behind not just the work we do in the Legion, but the work we do as Christians trying to live our lives in accordance with God’s will and our Catholic beliefs. Spiritual warfare does not always have to mean St. Michael picking up his sword and vanquishing a demon – it also includes the conversation you may have with a co-worker about why you believe abortion is wrong. It includes the times you pray for strength against loneliness or the ability to remember the things you’re grateful for. It may seem that the era we live in now, with basic Christian beliefs, and especially those we take for granted, under very real attack, that the world must be engaged in the most serious spiritual warfare imaginable. Even physical attacks on Christians are commonplace now in many parts of the world. It feels like perhaps this is the worst that it has ever been. But hasn’t this always been the case? Haven’t there always been battles to fight for the faith?
Spiritual warfare began the moment Jesus left the earthly plane. It is the nature of our lives as Christians, because of the wonderfully radical things we believe, to challenge and be challenged. We are not made for this world. I believe everyone in this room understands that we cannot look to the physical world for satisfaction and joy, because it is not to be found here. Happiness and moments of joy break though, and I hope they do quite often for everyone – but ultimately, the closer we get to God, the closer we get to real love and joy, and only then.
The good news is, we are fully equipped to engage in spiritual warfare on all levels, including in the presence of our angels and Mary’s legion of angels. We are never abandoned and we are never alone and the presence of our angels is just one aspect of that. This is an eternal battle, and all we are asked is to play our part now, where and how we can. Eventually this world will pass away, and we will make account for how we spent our time. So do not get caught up in anguish and sadness over current events – it is all in God’s hands. This brings our attention back to the always-present need to trust God in all things – to show faith in His Son and the divine plan he has for us and our world. Let us turn these instances of uncertainty or fear into opportunities to lean on Jesus in a very real way.
Let’s close with a few lines from scripture:
Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
2 Corinthians 4:8: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.”
John 15:18-21: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”