Once again, we had our annual Acies at the Church of St Peter & St Paul. As part of the procession into the church, all the praesidia and curiae had a representative to carry their vexillium during the procession. And as I carried the flag of our Junior Curia, the hymn for Passiontide came to my mind.
Vexilla Regis prodeunt;
fulget Crucis mysterium,
quo carne carnis conditor
suspensus est patibulo.
Abroad the regal banners fly,
now shines the Cross’s mystery:
upon it Life did death endure,
and yet by death did life procure.
You may listen to this hymn on Youtube here. No, we did not sing this hymn, although I wish we did. Incidentally it was also Palm Sunday, which we know as the beginning of Holy Week.
“Now shines the Cross’s mystery.” Together with Christ we are taking a slow walk to Jerusalem. Indeed this week we are all walking towards the Cross. From a triumphant entry on a colt into the city, to the Last Supper, to the agony in the garden, to a trudging walk towards Calvary. Towards death. This week we carry our Cross with Jesus.
At many times, the duty of being an office holder is very tiring. It feels as one is carrying a very heavy cross. One has to attend many meetings. One has to do much planning. One has to deal with pleasant and unpleasant people. Don’t forget that you have your own duties that your state of life commands.
You should never forget that you are first and foremost a child of God. Your first duty is to save your own soul. Our Lord has said, what good does it do if a man gains the whole world but loses his soul? The question in our context, as well as for all those who serve in the ministry or apostolate is, what good does it do if we gain the souls of others but we lose ours?
Burnout is a real danger. One can become cynical if not careful. We may even feel despair at times. We hurt others, and we too are hurt. Very often whether we question if all our work and efforts are in vain. We are in a very vulnerable state. How are we to help others if we cannot help ourselves?
In the Soul of the Apostolate, it recommends that we must develop a strong interior life. Not only will it serve as a protection to our soul, it will also enhance our efforts and undertakings. We must depend on God’s supernatural graces, which supports our human strength. Modern worldly feel good psychology will not suffice. Motivational posters will not suffice. The chain emails we often receive from well intentioned friends, these only offer a worldly hope. No, we must hope in God who is Eternal. Grace will sustain us.
But no doubt even if we are very holy, we still have to suffer. Let us follow Our Lord, who did not reject the Cross, but embraced it. Sweetest Wood, sweetest Nails, sweetest weight is hung on Thee. Let us offer up our sufferings as mortification to the Crucified Christ. In the midst of my frustrations, a friend of mine advised recently, ‘Our office should not be the Cross. The Cross should our office.’
Yet not all is without hope. I see great potential in these young Legionaries. Many of them are hungry for the Word of God. They thirst for the truth. They have many failings, but they always try to be better people. They have the potential to be good Catholics. Some of them will become priests or religious.
But the turnover rate of our members is disturbing. Every praesidium has problems. Day and night I ponder on how to make things better. I cannot see any other way but to go back to basics. Indeed this is the theme set by Concilium.
When the doctrinal foundation of the Legion is obscured the Legion becomes weakened and vulnerable. We need to keep hammering at our call to complete union with Mary in order to be completely open to the Holy Spirit. Then the Legion becomes a school of holiness and the apostolate because that is how Jesus comes into our own lives and the life of the world.
We shall attempt to re-discover our foundation, or we will all fall down. And we must always, pray, pray, pray! O Lord make haste to help us.