The Auxiliaries and Mary

…However generously the auxiliary may give to the Legion, nevertheless he receives one hundredfold, one thousandfold, one millionfold in return. And how is this? It is because the Legion teaches its auxiliaries — no less than its active members how great is Mary, enlists them in soldierly service for her, and makes them love her properly. All this is something so great that words like “millionfold” do not measure the gain. It raises the spiritual life to a higher plane, and thereby assures a more glorious eternity.

(b) Who can refuse to Mary this sort of gift? For she who is the Queen of the Legion is, as well, Queen of the Universe and of all its departments and concerns, so that to give to her is to give where the need is greatest, where one’s prayers will accomplish most.

(c) In administering the store thus placed in her hands, Mary Immaculate will have regard to the requirements of one’s ordinary life and duties and to all existing obligations. The question may arise: “I would wish to join, but I have already given everything to Mary with complete abandon, or to the Holy Souls, or to the Missions. Everything is gone. There is nothing left over for the Legion, so of what use am I to its auxiliary ranks?” The Legion answers: It is of great benefit for the Legion to gain so unselfish a person. Your anxiety to help the Legion is in itself an additional prayer, a proof of special purity of intention, an irresistible call upon the limitless generosity of the guardian of the Divine treasury. Certain it is, that if you join, she will respond, and that the new intention will gain while the old intentions will not lose. For it is the art of this most wonderful Queen and Mother that, though she has availed of our offer and helped others liberally from our spiritual treasures, yet we ourselves have grown strangely richer. Her intervention has meant the doing of an extra work.

A marvellous multiplication has taken place: what St. Louis-Marie de Montfort calls a secret of grace and thus describes:

“Inasmuch as our good works pass through the hands of Mary, they receive an augmentation of purity and consequently of merit and of satisfactory and impetratory value. On this account they become more capable of solacing the souls in Purgatory and of converting sinners than if they did not pass by the virginal and liberal hands of Mary.”

Every life has need of the potency of this admirable transaction, where what we have is taken, placed at usury, accomplishes its work, and then returns with increment. This force can be found in the gift to Mary of a faithful auxiliary membership.

(d) Possibly because of the number of souls in stress with which it is in touch, Mary seems to have given to her Legion some little of her own irresistible appeal to the heart. Legionaries will not find it difficult to enlist their friends in this auxiliary service so vital to the Legion, and so valuable to the auxiliaries themselves. Thereby they are associated to Legion membership, with share in all the prayers and works of the Legion.

(e) The discovery, too, has been made that the membership of the Legion’s auxiliary or praying ranks has the same power to catch the imagination that active membership possesses. Persons who otherwise would not think of saying the rosary every day, are found to be faithfully carrying out the obligations of auxiliary membership, which demands the daily recitation of all the prayers on the Legion prayer-card, already detailed. Numbers in infirmaries and other institutions, who had lost heart, have gained an interest in life through joining the Legion auxiliaries; while multitudes in villages, and living otherwise in circumstances which tend to make religion a tame thing, if not a matter of routine, have through their auxiliary membership realised that they are of importance to the Church; and have found themselves taking a proprietary interest in the Legion, reading with intense interest any scrap of news about it they chance to see. They feel themselves to be part of its most distant battles for souls. They realise it to be dependent upon their prayers. Accounts from different places of noble and exciting deeds done for souls fill their drab lives with the throb of those far-distant doings. Their existences have become transformed by that most inspiring of ideas, the sense of participation in a crusade. And even the holiest of lives require the stimulation of such an idea.

(f) It should be the object of every praesidium to bring every Catholic in its area into auxiliary membership. Thereby a favourable soil is provided for the working of other aspects of the Legion apostolate. A visitation for this purpose, implying a compliment, will be universally well received and a goodly response may be anticipated.

(g) To the extent that members of other Catholic societies and activities are brought into this auxiliary degree, there is effected a desirable integration of all those activities. They are thereby united in prayer, sympathy, idealism, under the auspices of Mary, but without the slightest interference with their own autonomy or characteristics and without alienating their prayers from their own movements. For note that those auxiliary prayers are offered in honour of Our Blessed Lady and not on behalf of the Legion….

(n) Likewise, in the interest of the full development of the auxiliary soldiers of Mary, the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin— or entire consecration of one’s life to Mary — should at least be explained to them. Many of them might be glad to under- take this fuller service of her which entails the giving of their spiritual treasures to her whom God has already appointed his own Treasurer. Where is the room for misgiving, because Mary’s intentions are the interests of the Sacred Heart. They take in every need of the Church. They cover the whole apostolate. They extend the whole world over. They descend also to the Holy Souls biding their time in the abode of Purgatory. Zeal for Mary’s intentions is comprehensive care for the needs of our Lord’s Body. For she is no less the solicitous Mother now than she was in the days of Nazareth. Conformed to her intentions, one goes straight to the goal, which is God’s Will. But making one’s own approach, what a tortuous route results: will it ever bring one to the journey’s end?

Lest some might be inclined to think that this devotion can be practised only by persons of advanced spirituality, it is important to record that it was to souls just emerging from the bondage of sin, and to whose darkened memory it was necessary to recall the elementary truths of the Catechism, that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort spoke of the rosary, of devotion to Mary, and of the Holy Slavery of Love.

The Legion Handbook