The following homily was given by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde on March 26 on the Fourth Sunday of Lent at St. Thomas More Cathedral, for the 44th Annual Acies Ceremony of the Arlington Regia Legion of Mary.
At the heart of today's Annual Acies Ceremony — the 44th for the Arlington Regia — is the consecration which the members of the Legion of Mary make to Our Blessed Lady. We shall come forward in pairs to the Legion vexillum and place our right hand upon the staff and pray: "I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours." Then, collectively, we shall echo this consecration.
So then, Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, is our focus. And because she is our focus, so too is Jesus, Her Divine Son and our Lord and Redeemer. Mary's only desire is to lead us to Jesus, the One Savior of the human race. He indeed is the source of all truth, all love and all life. He Himself reminds us, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Dear Legion Members, through your apostolate, you are inviting people to come to Jesus, that they might in Him have true life in abundance. You are the agents of the New Evangelization and the instruments of Christ's continual call to holiness of life for every person created in the image of God and recreated in Christ's image. Like Mary, the Mother of the Lord, your only desire is to draw people ever closer to Jesus, so that they may live life here with purpose and meaning, and then inherit eternal life in heaven.
Let us draw closer to Our Blessed Mother, so that she may bring us closer to Jesus and to the people whom He redeemed by shedding His blood on the Cross. As we focus on Mary and on her one desire to draw us closer to Christ, permit me to share with you some reflections expressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his homily on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this past December 8. "The closer a person is to God, the closer he is to people. We see this in Mary. The fact that she is totally with God is the reason why she is so close to human beings." Yes, let us allow Mary to draw us closer to the Lord, so that, in turn, filled with His love and life, we may draw lose to His people, serving them with all our beings and leading them to Him, the very source of their lives!
Pope Benedict XVI continues, "Mary thus stands before us as a sign of comfort, encouragement and hope. She turns to us, saying, 'Have the courage to dare with God! Try it! Do not be afraid of him! Have the courage to risk with faith! Have the courage to risk with goodness! Have the courage to risk with a pure heart! Commit yourself to God, then you will see that it is precisely by doing so that your life will become broad and light, not boring but filled with infinite surprises, for God's infinite goodness is never depleted." Each time you carry out your apostolate as Legion members, be energized by these words of our Holy Father.
Yes, renewing our consecration this day and recommitting ourselves to evangelize in our parish communities and throughout this diocese, let us have the courage to "dare with God." Again, hear what Pope Benedict XVI is telling us, "let us thank the Lord for the great sign of His goodness which he has given us in Mary, His Mother and the Mother of the Church. Let us pray to Him to put Mary on our path like a light that also helps us to become a light and to carry this light into the nights of history. Amen."