President John F. Kennedy made immortal a line from his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
We active members in the Legion can think similarly about auxiliary members, regarding them more in terms of what they can do for us instead of what we can do for them. That is, we tend to give more attention to assuring their prayers on behalf of our work for the souls of others when we should also be seeking to assure and provide support for their souls, too.
It is precisely to correct this errant tendency that the Legion requires the regular visitation of auxiliaries and makes their “after care” one of its suggested works. (See H, Chapter 37, Number 14.) It values the sacrifices they are making for others so much that it counsels that like sacrifices be made for them. In this way, the Legion system conveys its wish that auxiliaries be treated not merely as individuals to be “used,” but instead as souls to be helped toward a goal shared with active members: holiness unto salvation. In that spirit, the Handbook counsels active members to “look out for” auxiliaries just as members of a family do for each other – with the elder brothers and sisters, the active members, seeking to do everything in their capacity to preserve the spiritual health of their younger siblings, the auxiliary members, and thereby fostering the realization of Christian “perfection” in all within the Legion “household” (H, 256).
Understanding this, praesidia should see to it that auxiliary visits be made and made with quality. They should assure that each is fulfilled by a personal contact (H, 89) and never only by phone call or mailing. They should include discussion of more than contact information and whether a Tessera needs replacement; instead it should involve ample time for prayer followed by a conversation which gives the auxiliary a chance to discuss the status of his or her life of faith. On the basis of what is said in that conversation, the active-member-visitor should be prepared to provide needed spiritual support to the auxiliary and be ready to “prescribe” to him or her practices that will help the auxiliary find healing and pursue growth in sanctity (H, 256).
What types of practices could active-member-visitors suggest? They might
– discuss the value of and encourage attendance at daily Mass;
– speak of the benefits of taking part in Eucharistic Adoration;
– talk over the graces of regular Confession;
– suggest and arrange the Anointing of the Sick for those of fragile age or health;
– explain how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours;
– specify how each might benefit from adjutorian membership;
– recommend solid Catholic and Legion reading material (even in the form of audio books), including the Bible, The Catechism, and the True Devotion … and then talking over with them what was read during a follow up visit;
– pass along editions of Maria Legionis;
– ask if they have considered attending a local Patrician Meeting;
– give them sacramentals, but first teaching them what they mean and how they are to be used;
– loan them DVD’s on the lives of the saints … and (again) talk over the story in a follow-up visit.
The Handbook calls the aftercare of auxiliaries “full of possibilities” (H, 256). In saying this, the Legion is challenging active members to be creative and zealous in finding ways to benefit the souls of auxiliaries who do so much to benefit its mission for souls. So let us be sure to visit our auxiliaries. And as we do, let us also be sure to think not only about what they do for the Legion, but what the Legion must do for them.
August 20, 2017: Allocutio to the Philadelphia Senatus by Rev. Frank Giuffre
Reading: Handbook: Chapter 37, Number 14