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Homily by Fr. Richard
at the Annual Ceremony Acies 2009
Today, we welcome all of the active and auxiliary members to our
Acies for the year, 2009. We especially welcome those who are present at an Acies for the first time.
The Acies is the great annual, solemn expression of our union with
and our dependency on, Mary. Today, we renew our fidelity and consecration to her and we ask from her, her blessing
and the strength to combat Satan and forces of evil for another year.
Our presence here is extremely important. the Handbook states that
those legionaries who should and are able to be here but are not, "have little or none of the spirit of the Legion"
and their "membership is not an asset to the Legion."
Today, I would like to point out to you "How Blessed We Are To
Belong To The Legion Of Mary".
First, as has been said many times, Mary chose us to be members of
her Legion! This means that we have value, we are wanted, we are important - there is something that she wants us
to do. We have been picked our from the crowd. How blessed we are!
For a moment, let us look at our spiritual life before we entered
the Legion and what it is now. Before we entered the Legion, I am sure that most of us were what you call "good"
Catholics. We went to Mass and received Communion almost every Sunday; we said our morning prayers and whenever our
parish has a mission or something special, we tried to attend; we made the nine First Fridays and the five First
Saturdays once and we went to confession every three - four months. Then we joined the Legion of Mary. And now we
try to go to Mass and Communion every day. We still say our morning prayers but now, we also say at least five
decades of the Rosary each day and, many of us additionally say an Office, for example, "The Little Office of the
Blessed Virgin Mary" or "The Office of the Immaculate Conception." Some of us even say the "Priest's Office," the
"Breviary." Since we joined the Legion, we have also made the nine First Fridays and five First Saturdays again and
we continue to make them. Why? Because they obligate us to go to confession at least once per month! Our Lord says,
"we must become perfect as our Heavenly Father is Perfect" and Scripture tells us "that the just man sins seven
times a day." Frequent confession is a major step on the road to perfection. Since we entered the Legion, we have
developed a more intense love for the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit - and Mary. We have also become acutely
aware of God's plan of salvation and the role we must adhere to. How blessed we are to be in the Legion of
Something else: Since we joined the Legion, life has taken on a
new meaning. We now have a zest and enthusiasm that we never had before. Why? Because we now have a mission to save
In our apostolic work: visiting hospitals, nursing homes, setting
up book barrows, making door-to-door contacts, we meet a lot of new people. And what goes through our minds, when
we begin talking to them? We wonder if they are in a state of grace. Are they in a valid marriage? Are their
children baptized? How long since their last confession? And, every time we find a deficiency, we try to remedy it!
Like getting a priest to a nursing home or hospital to hear someone's confession, give communion, the sacrament of
the sick. Or maybe, you gave them a rosary, a leaflet at the door, or talked with them. The rule is that , "if you
save a soul, you have saved your own". But, you have gone far beyond that! You have been instrumental in saving
many souls and it is probably only at death that the great number will be shown to you! How blessed we are to
belong to the Legion of Mary!
Something else: Since you joined the Legion, you have developed a
new network of friends! Who are your closest friends? They are genereally the members of your praesidium. You have
the same interests, the same goals. You engage in apostolic work with them, go on retreats with them and go on
Legion outings with them. They are not fair weather friends -- here today and gone tomorrow. But you can trust them
and enjoy them. And when the going gets tough, they are right at your side. How blessed we are to belong to the
Legion of Mary!
Something else: When you entered the Legion, you began to practice
a devotion, known as "The True Devotion to Mary," as set forth by St. Louis Marie de Montfort in his book by the same name.
Simply stated, it is that you try to become a slave of Mary, in
order to become a slave of Her Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, you try to do all things with her, through her, in her and
for her. But some of us here might say, "How can this be? I have heard of this devotion but I have never
read this book.
Let me tell you how this has happened. Frank Duff is the author of the Handbook and he has
tried to incorporate into its pages, everything applicable that he learned from reading de Montfort's book. Thus,
the Handbook is a spiritual book, and not simply a book of rules. And so, at your weekly praesidium meeting,
monthly council meetings or every time you read a passage from the Handbook - you did not realize it, but you were
being transformed. How blessed we are to be in the Legion of Mary!
Something else: All of us have problems - at home, at work, on the
street. Since our entry into the Legion, we have turned to Mary for help. When we are afflicted, she consoles us;
When our minds are filled with anxieties, doubts and darkness, she quietly enlightens us. In a word, we have
learned to put implicit trust in the little prayer: "Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided." How
blessed we are to be in the Legion of Mary!
And then, we come to the end of the road. We have reached the
bottom of the downhill slope - the final page of the book of our life has been turned - in a word, death overtakes
us. What benefits do we no have? If we are an active member of a praesidium, a Mass will be said for us. The Legion
prayers, including five mysteries of the Rosary will be said at the wake services, at the cemetery, and by your
praesidium members many times in between. Every November your praesidium will have a Mass said for all the deceased
legionaries. There are more that 100 praesidia in Dade and Broward counties, here in Florida. This is a
relatively small area. With this in mind, I would estimate there must be more than 20,000 praesidia throughout the
world. Just think, once you are deceased, there will be at least 20,000 masses, each mass of infinite value, being
offered for you, every November, throughout the world!
Also everytime the closing prayers of the Legion are said, "that
the battle of life over, our Legion may reassemble without the loss of anyone, in the kingdom of Your love and
glory" - that is a prayer for you - you are included. Additionally, since you entered the Legion, you have been
saying at least five mysteries of the Rosary each day. That is fifty Hail Marys recited. That is fifty times a day,
you have been imploring Mary "to pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen." What you are also
saying is, "pray for me, a sinner, now and at the hour of our death. Amen," fifty times a day. Can she ignore those
pleas? Ansolutely not! How blessed we are to be in the Legion of Mary!
I would like to close by pointing out that:
You would never have attained such a profound prayer life that you
now have, if you were not in the Legion of Mary!
You would never have accomplished the apostolic work, the saving
of so many souls, if you were not in the Legion of Mary! and,
You would never have reached the personal sanctity that you now
possess, if you were not in the Legion of Mary!
How blessed we are to be in the Legion of Mary!
The final conclusion should also be:
Never, never, never leave the
Legion of Mary!
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