Fraternal Charity

St. Paul explains well the charity we need in the Legion, and common sense extends the divine command to love one another into all areas of our lives. Correction should be rare, and in private, and only given if the other is willing to receive it. Before correction, consult someone else more senior in the Legion. Encouragement is key.

Legionaries are ready enough to honour in a general way the duty of loving their fellow-members, but sometimes do not remember that it must include an attitude of kindliness towards seeming shortcomings…. Self-suppression must be the basis of all work in common.


“Legionaries are ready enough to honour in a general way the duty of loving their fellow-members, but sometimes do not remember that it must include an attitude of kindliness towards seeming shortcomings. Failure in this direction will deprive the praesidium of grace, and may have the dire effect of causing others to discontinue membership. 

“And, on the other hand, all should be sensible enough to realize that their membership is something quite independent alike of the fact that they have a President or colleague whom they find pleasant or the reverse, and of real or imagined slights or lack of appreciation, or of disagreements, or rebukes, or of other accidental circumstances. 

“Self-suppression must be the basis of all work in common. Without it even the best workers may threaten the organization. Those serve the Legion best, who moderate their own individuality and adapt themselves most completely and most harmoniously to the system. On the other hand, he that says something or does something that departs from the sweetness which should characterise the Legion, may be opening an artery with fatal results. Let all, then, watch that they do those things which fall to the centre, not from it. 

“When discussing the attitude of legionary to legionary there is special need to refer to what are lightly, but incorrectly, called the “petty jealousies.” Jealousy is seldom petty in itself. It means acid in the individual heart. It enters all but universally into human relations, poisoning them. In the malevolent, it is a fierce and maddening force which can perpetrate most dreadful things. But likewise, it tempts the unselfish and the pure of heart through their sensitive and loving natures. How hard it is to see oneself displaced by others, outpaced in virtue or in performance, put aside in favor of the young! How bitter is the contemplation of one’s own eclipse! The best of souls have felt that secret pang, and have learned from it their own amazing weakness. For that bitterness is really smoldering hate, and near to bursting into destructive flame. 

“Relief may lie in trying to forget. But the legionary must aim at higher things than such a peace. He must be satisfied with nothing less than victory, a vastly meritorious conquest over stark nature arrayed in battle, the transformation of the half- hate of envy wholly into Christian love. But how can such a wonder be achieved? It will be done by putting into force the fulness of legionary duty to his fellow-members and to those around him, in each of whom he has been taught to see and reverence his Lord. Each sting of jealousy must be met by this reflection:

“That person, whose increase has caused my pain, is none other than the Lord. My feelings, therefore, must be those of St. John the Baptist. My joy is filled that Jesus is exalted at my expense. He must increase, but I must decrease. 

“That outlook is heroically holy. It is the raw material for a destiny. What glorious scope it gives to Mary to free from every stain of vanity a soul through which the light will shine unto others (Jn 1:7), for her fashioning of yet another selfless envoy to prepare the way before the Lord! (Mk 1:2) 

“A precursor must always desire his own eclipse by him whom he announces. An apostle will always see with joy the growth of those around him, and will never think to measure their uprise against his own. He is no apostle who wishes growth to all, except when that growth casts shadow on his own! That jealous thought would show that self is first when self is touched, whereas self in the apostle must be always last. Nay more! the spirit of envy cannot co-exist with true apostleship. “