The Legion and the Priest

What is most necessary at the present time is to have in each parish a group of laymen at the same time virtuous, enlightened, determined, and really apostolic.’

St. Pius X

The Legion works hand and glove with the priest. The Legion extends the priest.

The importance of having priests in the Legion of Mary:

We need priests that will love Mary , serve Mary and preach Mary. We need priests that teach parishioners how to say the Rosary, why to say the Rosary, and the importance of it. After the Mass and adoration the Rosary is the most important prayer to to Jesus through Mary. As Legionaries we need the priests to support us and lead us on our way to holiness.  We need priests to be the living testimony of how to Love Mary in our service to others, and follow her example with generosity to all those in any kind of need.

“To the priest struggling almost despairingly in a sea of religious neglect, [take] the following words of Father Faber — taken from his preface to St. Louis-Marie de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary” (an abounding source of inspiration to the Legion):

“…Devotion to [Mary] is low and thin and poor. It has no faith in itself. Hence it is that Jesus is not loved, that heretics are not converted, that the Church is not exalted; that souls, which might be saints, wither and dwindle; that the sacraments are not rightly frequented, or souls enthusiastically evangelised. Jesus is obscured because Mary is kept in the background.”

See the Handbook: If Mary Were but Known!

Also from the Handbook:

“The idea of the priest, with a devoted band pressing round him to share his labours follows the example of our Lord whose preparation for the conversion of the world was to surround himself with his chosen ones, whom he tutored and filled with his own spirit. 

That divine lesson was learned and applied by the apostles, who called on all to help them in the winning of souls. As has been beautifully said (Cardinal Pizzardo), it may well be that the strangers from Rome (Acts 2:10), who heard the preaching of the apostles on the day of Pentecost, were the first to announce Jesus Christ in Rome, thus sowing the seeds of the Mother Church which St. Peter and St. Paul soon after established officially.

“What would the twelve have done, lost in the immensity of the world, if they had not gathered around them men and women, the old and young, saying: ‘We carry with us the treasure of heaven. Help to scatter it abroad’.”

(Pope Pius XI) 

The words of one Pontiff have been quoted. Let those of another be added to demonstrate finally that the example of our Lord and his apostles in relation to the conversion of the world is divinely meant to form pattern for every priest in relation to his own little world, be it parish, or district, or special work:— 

“Happening to be one day among a group of Cardinals, the Holy Father (St. Pius X) said to them:— ‘What is the thing most necessary at the present time to save society?’ ‘Build Catholic schools,’ said one. ‘No.’ ‘Multiply churches’, replied another. ‘No again.’ ‘Increase the recruiting of the clergy’ said a third. ‘No, no,’ replied the Pope. ‘What is most necessary at the present time is to have in each parish a group of laymen at the same time virtuous, enlightened, determined, and really apostolic.’

“This holy Pope, at the end of his life, counted for the salvation of the world on the training, by the zeal of the clergy, of Catholics devoting themselves to the apostolate by word and action, but above all, by example. In the dioceses in which, before being Pope, he had exercised the ministry, he attached less importance to the census of parishioners than to the list of Catholics capable of radiating an apostolate. He considered that in any class whatever, chosen ones could be formed. And so he classified his priests according to the results which their zeal and their abilities had obtained on this point.” (Chautard: The Soul of the Apostolate, 4, l.f.) 

“The pastor’s task is not limited to individual care of the faithful. It extends by right also to the formation of a genuine Christian community. But if a community spirit is to be properly cultivated, it must embrace not only the local church but the universal Church. A local community ought not merely to promote the care of the faithful within itself, but should be imbued with the missionary spirit and smooth the path to Christ for all men. But it must regard as its special charge those under instruction and the newly converted who are gradually educated in knowing and living the Christian life.” (PO 6) 

“God-made-Man found it necessary to leave his Mystical Body upon earth. Otherwise, his work would have ended on Calvary. His death would have merited salvation for the human race, but how many men could have gained heaven without the Church to bring them life from the cross? Christ identifies himself with the priest in a special way. The priest is like a supplementary heart pumping on its way the supernatural life-blood to souls. He is an essential part of the spiritual transmission system in Christ’s Body. If he fails, the system is blocked, and those who depend upon him do not receive the life that Christ intends them to receive. The priest should be to his people what Christ is to the Church, within due limits. Christ’s members are an extension of himself, not merely employees, followers, adherents, supporters. They have his life. They share his activity. They should have his outlook. Priests must be one with Christ in every possible respect.

Christ found it necessary to form a spiritual body for himself; the priest should do the same. He should form for himself members who are one with him. Unless a priest has living members, formed by him, united with him, his work will be reduced to negligible dimensions. He will be isolated and helpless. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’.” (1 Cor 12:21) 

So that if Christ has made the Mystical Body the principle of his way, his truth, his life to souls, this same order precisely operates through the new Christ, the priest. If he does not apply his function to a degree which is veritably that full building of the Mystical Body referred to in the Epistle to the Ephesians (4:12, a text usually translated by ‘edification of the faithful’), it will be in diminished measure that the divine life will enter souls and then issue fruitfully from them. 

Moreover, the priest himself will be left deprived by virtue of the fact that though it is the mission of the head to minister life to the body, it is no less a fact that the head lives by the life of the body, increasing with its increase, sharing in its weakness if it wanes. 

The priest who does not comprehend this law of priestly mission will go through life realising only a fraction of his power, whereas it is his true destiny in Christ to measure the horizons.”

(Canon F. J. Ripley) 

The Priest as Spiritual Director

What is the importance of a spiritual director in every Presidium and the participation of all the priests of the Diocese in the Legion of Mary? 

We are like our blessed Mother on the upper room with the apostles waiting for the Holy Spirit to lead us and on the same Spirit of Mary we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us by our spiritual director and our priest who are the first chosen by the same Holy Spirit as our pillars in the Church . 

“He shall have decisive authority in all moral and religious matters raised at the meetings of the council,”… “so the spiritual director on whom the duty primarily falls of inspiring the members with those qualities, is the very mainspring of the Presidium.”

The Handbook

If you are a priest or deacon, contact us to find out how the Legion can help you, or we can help each other.

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