Archive for the 'Legion' Category

The Identity of a Legionary

Last week we had the handbook reading on ‘Material Relief Prohibited’. To summarize the reading talks about why the Legion does not give material relief in the form of money, clothes, food to those whom they visit. There are many reasons but I’m not going to talk about it. Today I am going to talk about our identity as legionaries.

The following passage from the handbook reading gave me food for thought.

Individual legionaries may plead the duty of giving charity according to one’s means, and may urge that they do not desire to give relief as legionaries, but in their private capacities. Analysis of this contention will indicate what complications must inevitably arise. Take the case – and it is the usual one – of someone who did not indulge in such personal relief-giving prior to joining the Legion. In his rounds, he comes across persons whom he deems to be in need in some way or another. He refrains from giving anything on the day of the official Legion visit, but goes some other day “as a private individual” and gives. Surely he is breaking the Legion rule as to the giving of material relief, and surely the double visitation only covers a quibble? He visited in the first instance as a legionary. The cases came to his knowledge as a legionary. The recipients know him as a legionary; and certainly they do not enter into the quibble. To them, the transaction is simply one of Legion relief-giving, and the Legion agrees that they judge rightly.

From this reading we can infer that a Legionary cannot divorce his personal capacity from his capacity as a legionary. Once we are identified by the world as Legionaries, that label will be stuck to us forever. All eyes are watching on us. Eyes are watching on good Catholics, more so for Legionaries. The chapter ‘To be in a sense always on duty’ is very good reading for all of us.

Duty means discipline. Being always on duty means unrelaxed discipline. Therefore, one’s speech, and dress, and manner, and conduct, however simple they may be, must never be such as to disedify. Persons will look for fault in those whom they observe to be active in the cause of religion. Failings, which in others would hardly attract notice, will in a legionary be considered disgraceful, and will largely spoil his efforts to do good to others. Nor is this unreasonable. Is it not just to require a goodly standard from those who are urging others on to higher things?

– Chapter 33, Basic Duties of Legionaries, To be in a sense always on duty.

Indeed, there are no off days for us. We are always at work. We must always be ready to perform our duty, regardless of the cost. All of us must inculcate the sense of duty in ourselves. In modern times, ‘duty’ is often scorned as a terrible burden that must be gotten rid of as soon as possible. As Christians we do not run away from duty, but embrace it. By doing so, we make the world a better place. The sense of duty is integral to the identity of the Legion.

Many times we are challenged to performed our duties, but we rather be else doing something more interesting. Our founder Frank Duff recognized this in his tract, ‘Can we be Saints?’

We are to do what it is our duty to do — and at the right time. Duty is not something which is to be thrown off with our working clothes, as so many people imagine. It is as strictly our duty to keep an appointment or a secret as it is to do our work. A duty goes before even “Devotions.” It is your duty to wash the dishes, do not run off to Benediction instead.

We must not be afraid to make sacrifices, whether it is an hour of entertainment, a date with our lover, or a few dollars from our wallet. But let us be realistic. Sacrifice cannot be forced upon us. Devotion cannot be forced upon us. As the love of God is made avail to us freely, so we also choose freely whether to make sacrifices or not. We should ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to make us ready for such a commitment.  Since we have freely chosen to be Legionaries, let us freely choose to be bonded to our duty.


Offering it up

Allocutio for Curia Meeting 19 July 2009

In the course of our work, we will encounter many difficulties. They may be big and small, but there is one thing in common: we like to complain about them. It is not wrong to release some frustration or to tell your troubles to a close friend, but sometimes we end up hurting others if we are not careful with our words. And the problem is nowhere to being solved because we are just so tired. Maybe we should learn to offer up our suffering. What does it mean? We can make an act of love by saying ‘My God I offer you my suffering’. We can also tie it in with an intention. For example, for someone’s healing or conversion. We can also this during the sacred liturgy especially the Holy Mass. As the priest offers up the holy sacrifice of bread and wine, we too must raise up our hearts ‘Sursum Corda’.

What are the benefits? We can cultivate the virtues of patience, resignation to the divine will, and perseverance. It gives us a sense of peace because our suffering is made holy; it is not in vain. We also avoid harming others. When we offer up our suffering to God, we can be sure that he is also watching over us, always ready to help.

Creative Despair

The ATEC wasn’t as bad as I thought. In fact, it was less tiring than the one I went for last year. Nonetheless, the conditions were far from ideal. Plenty of screw-ups before, during and after the exercise. One idiotic one was forgetting to bring the picnic lantern. How can anyone forget to bring the picnic lantern and set up BCS at night!? The weather on the first day was incredibly hot as well. We were so tired after setting up that we were all lying inside tent groaning and lamenting the heat. It was so bad that the Senior Medic and Signaller elected for a bag of Ringer’s Solution infused into them.There were some pretty comical scenes as well.

There was one time when me, two of the medics and the signaller went to dig the latrines. It was damn hot. So were taking turns with the ET stick and blade to dig two holes, when our signaller decided to take over. He was hacking away at the soil and began to to become frustrated because the rifle kept slipping down while worn in backsling. That annoys the hell out of everyone.

Signaller: Ok screw this, I don’t care if I get extras, I’m taking everything off. (Proceeds to take off helmet, webbing and weapon)

He continues hacking away for a couple more times when suddenly he faints and slams into the ground. We could hear the ‘Piak!’ sound generated by his body contacting the ground.

I looked at the other two medics and mumbled, ‘This is not good’. So the three of us starting shaking him and trying to wake him up. After thirty seconds he suddenly opens his eyes and swears loudly. Hahaha, it was really funny.

Upon returning to unit, I was kept busy with duties, preparation for brigade exercise and the usual torrent of paperwork. At least I managed to take some time off to do some of my personal tasks. The time off balanced out the looming datelines, irritating phone calls and obstinate arrows homing onto me. I managed to catch Detroit Metal City. I managed to apply for school as well. There’s a chance I might be going overseas for further education, but nothing is set in stone yet.

From 13th to 15th of March, I was running a camp for the new appointment holders in Legion. Their response was really promising. Some of them have really great potential. Yet it remains as potential because their time to lead has not arrived. Who will take charge of these little ones? My cohort will all be moving on to the next phase in their life, yet I seem to be stuck here.

I am terrified at the prospect of taking over as junior curia president. The curia president MUST be a member of an senior praesidium. I am not, therefore I will be forced to join an senior praesidium. I will be honest: their meetings bore me to death! I cannot believe that I must sit through week after week of such meetings. Let’s not get started on the way these people do things.

Perhaps I am biased. Perhaps I am not giving others a chance. But there is something I’m sure of, that is, I’m not really sure where all this is heading and what it is supposed to mean for me.Yet ten years in the junior curia must culminate in this moment of truth.

Oh, it was only yesterday that I was the idealistic sec one boy who joined for the wrong reasons but grew to love this. Seniors came and went. Friends came and went. Yet I am still here. All this is definitely part of God’s plan. It feels like I am inching towards the edge of the cliff, and being commanded to jump off. Alone.

When will I rediscover the joy of being in the Legion? At present it seems like a burden.


Finally, most of the major events are over. AHM 2008 ended with no deaths, thank God. ATEC Stage 2 ended well. I hope that will be the last outfield exercise in a long time. And surprisingly we managed to pass the IQA audit with a high score. Absolutely miraculous. I think the inspection team was being merciful. Nevertheless, we still have to correct the faults before the given dateline.

I’ve been trying to clear some of my offs these few weeks. Yesterday’s day off and today’s public holiday combined is a great boon for my mind. I ought to take it easy from now on. I think I’m overworking myself. Yet despite all my efforts, the results never turn out perfect. Maybe I need to find a better way of doing things.

And the discipline is becoming atrocious. I think I should stop being so nice.

I have to finish my planning for the Legion Annual Retreat in end November. Due to a very busy August I did not manage to finish much. But yesterday’s meeting with Christopher was timely. At least we managed to get some ideas for the games segment.

Things are starting to lighten up. I should start thinking about the future.

Artist in the ambulance

Tomorrow will be the first time I step into a SCDF ambulance. This week we are posted out to various fire stations and hospital Accident and Emergency departments. On Tuesday and Wednesday I will be at Sengkang Fire Station. Thursday will be my off day. I will report to Changi General Hospital on Friday to Sunday.

I’m really not sure of what to expect. There is this feeling of excitement, yet a certain dread. Today our course commander remarked, ‘Gentlemen, in this line, we always say “No business is good business.” I somewhat think he is right. But I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience.

Damn, I hope that my skills don’t fail me when the time comes.

I’ve had Saturday duty for the past two weeks. It is very draining. I spent most of Sunday asleep at home. On 26 April I attended Solemn Vespers and Benediction at SJI International’s chapel. It is a very nice place. Modern in design, yet faithful to rubric. Vespers was according to the extraordinary rite. The priests presiding were Fr Anthony Ho and Fr Augustine Tay. Wonderful, we should have this more often! Unfortunately, there are many people who rather see all this done away.

I have been missing Legion meetings for a long time, due to circumstances beyond my control. One week I was ill; another I had to attend a wedding; and for two weeks I have weekend duty. I will miss this week’s one because of the attachment. I feel bad for letting Joycelyn do all the work. Hang in there, girl!

I hate how these little things add to my confusion over my future plans. And how do we plan for tomorrow if we are not sure what comes? This is one thing that has always vexed me: uncertainty. It’s all very easy to say, ‘Let us have faith.’, but it’s harder than one can think. I have been vexed over many things in the past weeks. For instance, recently I’ve had friends in distress, yet my consoling and advice didn’t seem to help much. The only thing I could do is pray. I was also frustrated with my attachment to certain ideas, which I am trying to get rid off. Then my old habits all come into play as well. I am increasingly afraid that my aspiration is nothing but fantasy. Maybe I’m thinking too much. I don’t know. I often drift from a state of not thinking to thinking too much.

Angels preserve us!

30 March 2008: Acies

On 20 March 2008 the Legion of Mary Mother of Carmel Mandarin Curia had its annual Acies at the Church of St Peter and St Paul. The Acies is a annual collective consecration of Legion members to Mary. It is like, a renewal of vows. It was wonderful to see all the legionaries at once, especially those who were often absent. There were many making their individual consecration for the first time. ‘I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours.’, These were the words professed by every one. I hope that everybody had meant these words sincerely, and not merely reading from the plastic board bearing them. (Boys and girls, in your heart you know.)

I have been in Legion since 2000. Nine years. And yet every meeting I go to seems like the first time. There is always something new to learn here. There are always new works to do and new people to help. There is always a new apprentice to mentor to. Every time I force myself to think of new ideas to make things better. There are always new challenges. That’s why I chose to dispatch myself to the parish of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary to revive their praesidium.

Many things have changed. Formerly we called Rosary Crusades (玫瑰十字军敬礼), well, Rosary Crusades. Now we call them Marian Processions (圣母敬礼). It might merely be a cosmetic change, but I see it as a sign of the times that our fighting spirit has diminished somewhat.

We flourished in yesteryear, but now our ranks shrink year by year. Many leave, with reasons valid or otherwise. I have seen so many of my friends leave. The loneliness used to sting, but now I have got used to it.

Traditionally we have always recruited from the Mandarin speaking congregation and in recent years we have opened ourselves to the English speaking congregation. Yet we are always under pressure to recruit more numbers and use Mandarin exclusively. The Old people cannot accept the fact that the youngsters do not want to use Mandarin. The youngsters do not want to give it a chance. Who gets assigned the blame? Who else but Curia officers? Give me a break man. I’m also trying to adapt.

The Legion’s ideals have not always been upheld. I spoke to a Schola member who once belonged to Nativity’s praesidium, back in my predecessors’ time. He said he left because he felt that the praesidium did not adequately prepare him for the adult Legion. In other words, it was merely a social club. Very often we have not been charitable to others, causing them to fall away. We are all very guilty.

Perhaps this is why many of the young ones do not continue their path in the senior Legion. They have become disgusted. Indeed this is a bitter pill. Who can swallow it?

We are eternally young, yet we must always be matured. But I believe that these trials are times for greater purification of motives and ideals. Instead of looking at it in a totally negative light, why not consider the fact that the process of purification has already begun? I think this time of trial has filtered out the unsuitable.

Nonetheless, the efflux of members is disturbing. We must correct this and reform our Legion. We must make Legion into a place where true and orthodox Catholicism can be practiced and nurtured. With God’s help we must avoid the path of ruin.

Let us begin with ourselves and ask why we are still here. Do we truly believe in this cause? Are we willing to fight to the death?

I believe!

SISPEC Week 10

Deo Gratias! I managed to pass my IPPT at last. OC Sir personally supervised my test. Ok, there was some pressure in there, but it worked well. My Platoon Commander was also very encouraging.

It was a slack week, with nights out every night. I even had the time to go to Adoration on Monday night with some Catholics in my platoon. I tried to finish the remnant of my camp program. I still have a lot to do at this point of time, but I think I’ll manage.

We were allowed to bookout on Thursday night, and Off in Lieu on Friday. We had the Company Happy Hour at Golden Village VivoCity. The feature movie was ‘Jumper’. Great action, but the morality of the characters is questionable. How can one teleport around and rob banks? What a great misuse of gifts.

The weekend as usual, was spent at Legion meetings. I went to Maris Stella on Saturday morning and Nativity in the night. I have no idea how to run a parish praesidium. I don’t know any of those parishioners. What have I got myself into? The priest there is very ambitious, coming up with all sorts of programs, and trying to rope us all in.

I think that’s one reason why nobody volunteers in church anymore. You volunteer to do one thing and then you are expected to go all the way. Indeed, why stop halfway? But not all are willing to give up all their time. It’s not easy you know? Very tiring. I’m still thinking if I’m willing to do so. Well, I will see how it goes.

I have no idea where I’ll be heading to after BSLC. I hope they will send me to somewhere slack. Hoping and praying.


Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us