Finance experts say that one of the best things we can do for ourselves in life is to set money aside and invest it for retirement. Although it might limit the amount of funds available to us in the present, it will only serve to set the stage for our well-being in the future.
Our Handbook selection today relates the truth that one of the best things we can do for our Legion praesidium is to make another sacrifice in the present as an investment for the future: that of boosting the number of our auxiliary members. In fact, the text says boldly that it should be the goal of each praesidium to “bring every Catholic in its area into auxiliary membership” (H, 99, emphasis added).
At first, such a remark might seem to be wildly “overstated” and grossly impractical. “After all,” the legionary thinks, “Why ‘waste’ limited time and energy on the securing of praying members when they would be better spent on active works.” “In addition,” he or she asserts, “Don’t we have enough of them already?” Yet, seemingly conscious of such a sentiment, the Handbook goes on to insist that the welcoming of many as auxiliaries will become “… favorable soil … for the working of other aspects of the Legion apostolate” (H, 99). In other words, the strenuous effort invested into the gaining of auxiliary members will only add to – rather than subtract from – Legion aims and effectiveness. Like a financial investment, a present sacrifice will “pay off” with future benefits. How so?
Firstly, soliciting auxiliary members fulfills the Legion’s aspirations toward evangelization. By inviting a lukewarm or even fallen away Catholic to be an auxiliary, the grace of conversion is fostered in an individual’s soul. By teaching him or her to say the Rosary with the prayers of the Tessera, a more solid routine of sustaining prayer is engendered within each. By asking that a commitment be kept for the sake of Jesus and Mary, the keeping of other commitments attached to living one’s faith, such as regular attendance at Mass and at Confession, is also fostered.
Secondly, soliciting auxiliary members honors the legionary’s duty with regard to extension. Not only does educating the unfamiliar in the nature of the Legion add another soul to its circle of influence, it also increases the possibility that these same individuals will tell others – their friends and neighbors – about “the great group” they discovered! And some of those so reached might just get involved as active or auxiliary members.
Thirdly, soliciting auxiliary members secures help from heaven “essential” (H, 100) for the flourishing of the interior lives and the exterior works of active members. Just as armies often rely on “air support” in advance of a ground assault, so we in the Legion rely upon “prayer support” in advance of our battle for souls. Therefore the more prayers behind us, the greater the strength for the fight within us … and the better the chances of success for us, as well.
Fourthly, soliciting auxiliary members gets the Legion into more homes and places members in closer proximity with those, the family and friends of the auxiliary, who may be feeling attracted to the Faith, struggling with the Faith, or having questions about the Faith. Auxiliary visits then become occasions to interact with them in the hopes of influencing each for good.
Finally, soliciting auxiliary members stokes Legionary zeal. The courage and love demonstrated in reaching out to welcome a newcomer trains us to be equally courageous and loving in the field when the salvation of souls is at stake.
It is said that “God helps those who help themselves.” Well, God also helps the Legion when it helps itself by seeking praying-helpers in the form of auxiliaries. It gives more power in the present. It sets the stage for more effective apostolates in the future. Therefore, we can be certain that one of the best things we can do for the Legion is to invest time and energy into recruiting auxiliaries into our ranks.
July 16, 2017/Allocutio to the Philadelphia Senatus/Rev. Frank Giuffre Reading: Handbook, p. 99/Chapter 16 (f)