I’ve been reading the Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary, which one article calls a Catholic classic. It really is quite a remarkable book, with pearls of wisdom on just about every page, and not a drop of lukewarm woollieness to be seen – which is a nice change. I’m not yet a full Legion member yet, since I haven’t taken the ‘Legion Promise’ yet, but I’m certainly more open to the idea now.
What impresses me is the disciplined approach that is so thorough – it leaves no stone unturned – and it’s so very orthodox that, in fact, I have never seen an apostolate more in line with the teachings of the Magisterium and the actual spirit of the Vatican II Council. According to the above article, the Legion of Mary (not the Church itself!) was the ‘public enemy no.1′ in communist China, due to its phenomenal effectiveness. What gave it that effectiveness is the Legion’s strict adherence to the handbook which would turn it into a hyper-efficient, super-organized mass evangelizin’ machine (which also churned out massive numbers o’ martyrs, by the way). Also, according to a priest, the handbook – due to its theological and doctrinal content – could possibly rebuild the whole of Catholic theology from that one book alone! Let me quote the same article:
“Some legionaries doing extension work in Philadelphia once visited a pastor who did not know the Legion of Mary. He agreed to accept a copy of the handbook. Some weeks later on a return visit the priest told them that he had read the book and believed that if someone really based their life on it they would become a saint!”
Yah. I can believe that.