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

 

The Legionary Image

Laura DeMaria

Below is adapted from the allocutio I will give this evening at the Legion of Mary meeting. The allocutio is a talk given by the spiritual director or president on a topic from the handbook, Legio Mariae.

Ch. 25, Legio Mariae: The Legion Picture

There is a lot of information in this chapter! Let us look at some of the symbols Frank Duff describes: first, there is the dove, which is the symbol for the Holy Spirit. Mary was present at the descent of the Holy Spirit and it is understood that through her, the fire of the Holy Spirit is enkindled in the hearts of mankind.

The words bordering the image represent the catena prayer, as each letter is connected to the next as in a chain. Catena, of course, is Latin for chain. Daily recitation of the Catena binds Legionaries to each other across the globe. And in the portrayal of Mary we see her enveloped in light, “fair as the moon, bright as the sun,” underneath the words of the Magnificat, which is the “ever-present thought of Mary’s mind.” Duff reinforces the idea that it is just as important to our Lord now as it was then to rely upon his holy Mother to accomplish great things in His name.

And of course, no image of the Blessed Mother is complete without the crushing of the serpent’s head. We often see her looking glorious and mighty, with a puny little snake crushed underneath her heel. In our Legion picture, the large serpent is wrapped around the globe, mouth open, hissing angrily. Mary stands serenely above, in complete dominance. It is a wonderful reminder that she has always had power over the forces of evil.

Underneath Mary are her legionaries in battle under her name, and beyond them, the innumerable Legionaries who have passed on but remain members of her army. It is a beautiful thought that those who serve her on earth continue to do so in Heaven, and continue to have her blessing and intercession.

These symbols are vivid reminders of very real things. In the image we see our faith on display, along with the relationship with Mary, not just as Mother of God, but as the Mediatrix of All Graces, the one through whom our work is performed. We call on her and the Holy Spirit to aid us in our work and pray that we can serve her faithfully.

Even more important is the reminder of the universality of our faith and the bigger picture, if you will pardon the pun, that may go unseen in our day-to-day work. Frank Duff references the “undying warfare,” between Mary’s offspring and the offspring of evil, which we know to be true. All the time we are given the choice to choose between good and evil. These are not necessarily huge, obvious choices, but are the day-to-day decisions which we make and which shape our life. How we act in the present determines our earthly, and our eternal, future. Who do we side with? How do our actions speak of us? Do I choose the path of least resistance because it’s easier, or do I stay true to my faith, even when it’s difficult? Behind the scenes, in the world that exists beyond ours, the choices we make have repercussions. The angels, our Legionaries on the other side, and of course the Blessed Mother, are all there to help us make the right choices in our lives. Whether we see it or not, this eternal battle goes on.

Examining the Legion image every once in a while will be beneficial for returning to the reasons behind what we do and what we believe. It may even be a good image for meditation. Take some time in the coming days to examine the picture and reflect on how it makes you feel, or if perhaps it draws you closer to the Blessed Mother or your calling as a Legionary. Perhaps you will receive some divine inspiration!