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Monday, March 10, 2014

SOLDIER AND CHILD: The Rock of True Devotion to Mary

by Susan Fox

Reprinted from Maria Legionis April 1998 based on a talk I gave some years before to auxiliary and active members of the Legion of Mary

Addressed to the Holy Spirit: “I stand before you as her soldier and her child, and I so declare my entire dependence on her. She is the mother of my soul. Her heart and mine are one; and from that single heart she speaks again those words of old: ‘Behold the Handmaid of the Lord;’ and once again you come by her to do great things...” (Words of the Legion of Mary Promise)

If I take off my glasses, I can't
 see anything at all. If you asked me to
 point to a close family member in the same room with me, I couldn’t do it. Being nearsighted can make us feel helpless.
Author Susan Fox wearing her glasses
 with son, James Fox about 1995

With my glasses on, I'm
 an extremely confident person. But encounter me in the swimming pool with my glasses off, and I would
 smile blandly and vaguely in your direction. But I would never say hello even if I knew you -- because I wouldn't know you
 were there.

I used to work for a newspaper in
 Southern California, and in connection
 with that job I had to stay a week at a 
posh hotel in Newport Beach with a lot of
 bankers. It was a difficult assignment. 
But after work, I made my way to the
 swimming pool, and after swimming my 
laps I got into the adjoining hot tub. 

As I eased my aching bones into the water, I noticed a swarthy looking man with a bodyguard standing behind him. Another man with blond hair
 was soaking in the tub. Now I lived in San
 Diego, known as the playground for
 organized crime. In my job I sometimes interviewed men in this profession, so it was not so far fetched 
for me to jump to the conclusion that
 I was sitting in a hot tub in Newport
 Beach with a crime boss.  

That concerned me. But he left shortly after I
 arrived, and when I wondered out 
loud what profession that man held, the blond man cracked up laughing. 
He was probably a “plain clothes” American Secret Service also guarding the swarthy man, but wearing a bathing suit.

When I got out of the hot tub, some of 
my banker friends ran up to me and 
asked what it was like being in the hot tub
 with the King. And I said, "King, what 
King?" And they said, "Why King Hussein
 of Jordan. You were in the hot tub with
 the King!"
King Hussein of Jordan
sadly now deceased

Now you may wonder how I am going
 to jump from King Hussein of Jordan to Marian
 Devotion. True Marian Devotion is my
 topic because Christ-centered Marian 
Devotion is the rock on which the army of
 the Legion of Mary is built.

I had a dream that summed it all up. I dreamt that my glasses 
were broken and I had to walk home, but I
 was afraid I wouldn't find the way.

So one nice blurry Person gave me the 
hand of a nice blurry lady, and He said she 
would lead me home. When I woke I realized the nice blurry
 man was Jesus, and the lady He'd given me was Mary, His mother. I remember in the dream feeling a little
 unsure of myself. I didn't know who
 this lady was. I couldn’t see her clearly. But she
 seemed nice -- like a mother or a
St Louis Marie de
Now there was a great and humble priest 
who lived in the 18th century, who basically 
summed up all the best thinking of the 
Catholic Church on the Blessed Mother. 
And he constantly worried that Jesus was 
not known enough in the world. His Holiness 
Pope Clement XI agreed, so he sent Father 
Louis Marie de Montfort back to France with 
the title Missionary Apostolic, and with the mission to make Christ known by spreading True Devotion to Christ's Mother. For Fr. Louis Marie and Pope Clement knew that 
until Mary is known and understood, we cannot really come to know Jesus. He will always remain a nice blurry person.

St. Louis Marie De Montfort declares, "It is the characteristic of Jesus to conduct us surely to 
the Eternal Father... Spiritual persons 
should not fall into the false belief that Mary
 can be a hindrance to them in attaining 
divine union. Other creatures - however
 holy - may be a hindrance, but such cannot 
be said of Mary."

He further states that the reason why so
 "few souls come to the full measure of the
 stature of Christ is because Mary is not sufficiently formed in their hearts. He, who wishes to have the fruit well ripened and well formed, must have the tree that produces it. 
He who wishes to have the fruit of life, Jesus
 Christ, must have the tree of life, which is

With his dying breath, Jesus gave us 
Mary as our mother, when from the cross He
 said, "Behold your Mother." But our mother can nourish us only in the
 measure that we depend on her, and work
 in union with her. All are invited by the whole of heaven to 
be both a child and a soldier of Mary. This role especially belongs to active and auxiliary members of the Legion of Mary.

To be a soldier and child of Mary is the wording of the Legion
 Promise. It contains the entire theology of the Legion apostolate, which is based on the teachings of St. Louis 
Marie de Montfort.


The first step to enter a child's
  relationship with Mary is to know her. I recommend you read De Montfort's classic work, True Devotion to Mary, the Scriptures, and say the Rosary fervently.  

De Montfort sets up a plan 
by which we can try to live out our 
Marian Devotion by giving ourselves, our thoughts, our merits, even our 
misery to Jesus through Mary.

In his famous thirty-three day 
preparation for total consecration to Jesus 
through Mary, Fr. Louis Marie leads you through a
 series of prayers, sacrifices, spiritual exercises and readings that help one prepare 
to make their consecration. This culminates in what is basically a renewal of
 the baptismal vow.

If you are able to undertake active
 membership in the Legion of Mary, this will help.  The Legion of Mary was created under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1921 by a group of people consecrated to Mary, who wanted a spiritual system that -- if followed faithfully -- would allow them to live out De Montfort’s total consecration in their daily lives. Active membership in the Legion 
is like having training wheels on the bicycle of Marian Devotion.

I made my consecration for the first
 time in 1980, and renewed it every
 year since. But as you can see from my 
dream, God is telling me I have 
just begun to know my mother. She is still just a blur to me as is her Son. I am at the start of my spiritual journey.

King Hussein is just a man, an earthly king. But Jesus is the real King of all Nations. If I got into the hot tub with Jesus, would I smile vaguely in His direction, and never say hello? Afterwards, you would all run to me, and say, “What was it like being in the hot tub with the King?” And I’d say, “What King?” And you’d say, “Why Jesus, King of all Nations! Didn’t you recognize Him?”

And I’d have to say with the disciples on the road to Emmaus that I did not recognize Him except later in the breaking of the bread. God’s ways are unexpected and disconcerting. We expected to meet Him at the crossroads, but he was with us all the way to Emmaus. We thought we were in the hot tub with a member of the underworld, and it was really the King.

So we need Mary. And even if we are nearsighted and don’t know Mary very well, we at least can feel the hand of wonderful lady, who will lead us to Jesus in the hot tub, Jesus at the crossroads and Jesus in every decade of our Holy Rosary.

With the writer of Psalm 23, we can pray, “Swing back, doors, higher yet; reach higher, immemorial gates, to let the King enter in triumph! Who is this great King? Who but the Lord, mighty and strong...” The doors are the entrances to our hearts. The gatekeeper is Mary. She’ll always open the door to her Son, Jesus. You can depend on it.

So I thank God I am nearsighted and helpless. Helplessness is a great gift given to each of us that we might learn to depend on God and His Mother.


But you might look at me and say, “Susan, I can see how this helplessness leads me to become a child of Mary, but how can you possibly call me a soldier if I’m walking around half-blind all the time?”

But that’s what a Catholic evangelist is called to be  – both soldier and child of Mary.

Call that sense of helplessness humility, and you will see that only the humble dare to be bold. Only by the royal road of humility can God be found and then subsequently shared with others. People will close up and refuse to talk to those who come by the road of pride and arrogance. But send a soul emptied of self, who truly regards the one visited as standing on sacred ground, and that soul can reach the most hardened sinner.

And that’s what the solders in the Legion do: they build up the kingdom of God through prayer and visiting. Only the humble are truly bold. Only the humble expect miracles and receive them. And the great things this army accomplishes is nothing less than the return of the pagan and dechristianized masses to God starting with George, who lives around the corner, and Gertrude from across the street.

Another humble soul might not be able to physically visit their neighbor. They may not be free to be active members of the Legion of Mary. But every Catholic on earth can become an auxiliary or praying member of the Legion. Send that soul into the trenches in prayer, and that soul may save thousands instead of hundreds in their lifetime. And that soul is doubly blind and twice as helpless because he won’t meet the people he helps through his daily Rosary said for Mary’s intentions.
Auxiliary Members of the Legion of Mary
are armchair warriors for Christ in His
Mother's Army.

That praying legionary is going to trust Mary twice as hard because he’s going to be sitting in his armchair, or quietly praying in Church, and he is not going to see the fruit of his labor until he dies. And when he dies, all kinds of people will come up to him and say, “Thank you.” And he’ll say, “Do I know you?”  They’ll answer, “Yes! I was lying in the gutter, drunk, and your prayers gave me the strength to rise and give up drinking." Or another will respond, "Yes, you helped me. I was in despair, and your prayers brought the Mother of God to comfort me.”

But in the meantime, Satan will try to tell you the Rosary is just a bunch of words with no effect. He will try to convince you that you are too busy to finish it. He will tell you that no one will care or even know if you don’t say it today.

St. Louis Marie de Montfort had great faith in the Holy Rosary. In the 18th century, history had already witnessed the Rosary stopping wars, ending heresies and saving whole towns from barbarian invaders. Today, we have witnessed the power of the Rosary and Marian consecration in both Poland and the Philippines. The Filipino strong man Ferdinand Marcos was toppled from power without a single shot being fired. Television showed the Filipino people walking the streets and saying the Rosary.  In Poland, the Solidarity Movement, which helped bring down the Berlin Wall, was driven by the principles of True Devotion to Mary. Polish trade union organizer Lech Walesa, who founded the Solidarity Movement, had made his consecration to Jesus through Mary, as had his spiritual advisor, Pope John Paul II. Both Poland and the Philippines had been officially consecrated to Jesus through Mary.

So you see the invisible work of Mary’s children and soldiers. When I read about the work of the Legion of Mary in the world today, I find the same kind of humble soldiering going on. Legionaries in Barcelona, Spain, are involved in street apostolates to drug users and prostitutes. Legionaries hand out Catholic literature on Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills, California. In Africa, legionaries are forced sometimes by violence to hold their weekly meeting in the fields. There the conversions are taking place by the thousands.

All this is possible because of prayer and prayer in action. Legion auxiliaries are armchair warriors for Christ in His Mother’s army, and the active members are the front line troops. They are the Marines who secure the beach. When they land, they come forward boldly, knowing there is a Lady holding their hand -- that Lady, who comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, and terrible as an army in battle array.

Would you like to become an armchair warrior for Christ in His Mother’s Army? To become an auxiliary member it is necessary to undertake to say the Rosary daily for the intentions of Mary, the Mother of God. There are some additional prayers here: Prayers that accompany the Daily Rosary   But you must sign up with the Legion of Mary itself. Contact your parish and ask for the location of the nearest Legion of Mary group.

One of the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever encountered. 
Here are the concluding prayers of the Legion of Mary: 
Confer, O Lord, on us, who serve beneath the standard of Mary, that fullness of faith in You and trust in her, to which it is given to conquer the world. Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity, which will enable us to perform all our actions from the motive of pure love of You, and ever to see You and serve You in our neighbor; a faith, firm and immovable as a rock, through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life; a courageous faith which will inspire us to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for your glory and for the salvation of souls; a faith which will be our Legion's Pillar of Fire - to lead us forth united - to kindle everywhere the fires of divine love - to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death - to inflame those who are lukewarm - to bring back life to those who are dead in sin; and which will guide our own feet in the way of peace; so that - the battle of life over - our Legion may reassemble, without the loss of any one, in the kingdom of Your love and glory. Amen.

Join the End of Abortion Movement!
If you decide to say the Rosary daily, you can get a "Two-For." That is you can be an Auxiliary in the Legion of Mary and also join “The End of Abortion Movement: The Rosary is the Key.” You can say your daily Rosary both for Mary’s intentions and “for an end of abortion, contraception and euthanasia.” It’s easy: sign up here:  The End of Abortion Movement

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