To Jesus through Mary - Acies Ceremony and Mass

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To Jesus through Mary
Acies Ceremony and Mass

"To Jesus through Mary". We often hear this phrase used devotional writers and preachers. This phrase appropriately captures the spirituality of the Legion of Mary.
I draw your attention to the standard of the Legion, the Vexillum Legionis. As you know it is an adaptation of the standard of the Roman military Legion. The eagle which surmounted the Roman standard is replaced by the Dove, the image of the Holy Spirit. Beneath the Dove a cross-bar bears the inscription “Legio Mariae” (Legion of Mary). Between cross-bar and staff an oval frame bears a representation of the Immaculate Conception in the form of the Miraculous Medal. An image of the Blessed Virgin is the centre of the standard. As Legionaries you serve under the standard of the Virgin Mary.
The staff is set in a globe which stands on a square base. The whole design conveys the idea that the world is to be conquered by the Holy Spirit hovering over it as in the Creation story and being effected through the action of the Blessed Virgin Mary who immaculately conceived the Son of God.
Throughout the centuries Catholic writers have shown how devotion to Mary can lead us closer to Jesus.
True devotion to Mary and saints leads us closer to Jesus. True devotion does not in any way impede our focus on Jesus.
For example the Rosary is a way of reflecting on Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes: "Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary."  (CCC 2708)
The Mass is a model for us in this regard. The Mass focuses on Jesus. He is the Word of God who speaks to us through the Liturgy of the Word. He is the Bread of Life, truly present upon the altar. The Church provides us with many examples of devotion to Mary and the saints in the Mass. The Roman Missal contains many prayers in honour of Mary and the saints. The Eucharistic prayers make mention of Mary and the saints. A study of the Missal shows us that devotion to Mary and the saints does not lessen or confuse our worship of Jesus, our Eucharistic Lord. (See CCC 1161) The Liturgy itself declares that we can come to Jesus through Mary and the saints.
The Mass today is typical of the faith of the Church. The Solemnity of the Annunciation celebrated on 25 March, nine months before the celebration of the Birth of our Saviour on 25 December, is a Marian feast. It is a feast of our Lady, but a feast of our salvation in Christ. We honour the Blessed Virgin Mary but we are honouring, as she would want us to do, the great works of God accomplished in and through her.
In honouring the Virgin Mary we are honouring her Son. We go through Mary to Jesus.
Today, I invite you as Legionaries to keep close to the Virgin Mary. I encourage you to pray to her, particularly through the rosary, and encourage others to do the same.
Because the Legion of Mary has chosen the image of the Miraculous Medal I encourage you also to spread devotion to the Miraculous Medal. I encourage you to give Miraculous Medals to people whom you meet. Encourage them to seek the intercession of the Mary in her Immaculate Conception for their needs. We know many miracles have occurred though this medal. People have had their prayers wonderfully answered and have been inspired to enter more deeply into the ways of faith. In other words it has been through Mary that they have come to Jesus.
You are called to be active apostles of the Virgin Mary and to be co-workers with the priests in drawing people in the ways of salvation. More than ever there is a need today for apostles of the faith. Go forth under the guidance of your priests and be instruments whereby you can bring many people to Jesus through Mary.

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Saturday, 21 March 2015