The Legion Handbook Chapter 9: The Legionary and the Mystical Body of Christ, 1. Legionary Service is Based on this Doctrine, page 51 to 52
At the very first meeting of legionaries the supernatural character of the service, which they were undertaking, was stressed. Their approach to others was to be brimful of kindness, but their motive was not to be that merely natural one. In all those whom they served they were to see the Person of Jesus Christ himself. What they did to those others — even the weakest and lowest — they were to remember that they did it to Our Lord himself, according to his own words: “Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40)
As at the first meeting, so ever since. No effort has been spared to bring home to legionaries that this motive is to be the basis of their service, and likewise that the discipline and internal harmony of the Legion rest chiefly upon the same principle. In their officers and in each other they must recognise and reverence Christ himself. In order to ensure that this transforming truth will remain impressed on the minds of the members, it is incorporated in the Standing Instruction which is read monthly at the praesidium meeting. In addition, the Standing Instruction emphasises the other legionary principle that the work must be done in such a spirit of union with Mary that it is she, working through the legionary, who really performs it.
These principles, upon which the Legion system is built, are a consequence of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. This doctrine forms the main theme of the epistles of St. Paul. This is not surprising, for it was a declaration of that doctrine which converted him. There was light from heaven. The great persecutor of the Christians was thrown, blinded, to the ground. Then he heard those overwhelming words: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” and St. Paul rejoined: “Who are you, Lord?” And Jesus replied: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:4-5) What wonder that these words burnt themselves into the apostle’s soul, so that he must always speak and write the truth which they expressed.
St. Paul describes the union which exists between Christ and the baptised as being like the union between the head and the other members of the human body. Each part has its own special purpose and work. Some parts are noble and some are less so; but all are dependent one upon the other, and the same life animates them all. All are put to loss by the failure of one, as all profit by the excellence of one.
Our founder, Frank Duff, had a very strong sense of the Mystical Body of Christ. He put this sense into every aspect of the Legion. The doctrine of the Mystical Body flows directly from the Church’s belief in the Incarnation. The Legion understands this well and turns its devotion to the instrument of the Incarnation- Mary. It was Mary’s yes that made the Mystical Body of Christ a reality and it is her unfailing care for it that has given the Church so much growth and strength down through the centuries into our own age.
We are all members of Christ- not in the relationship between a corporation of a CEO with the lowest workers but the relationship between that big round thing on your shoulders with that which is underneath. We are intimately united to Jesus. Thus, any good we do to others is good done to ourselves, and any harm or neglect of others is harm to ourselves. We are all mystically united in the Body of Christ. We are called therefore to respond to the needs of others. The Legion focuses on the spiritual needs in particular- mirroring the role that Mary has for Christ’s body. We nourish, we teach, we defend and recognize the dignity of others.
We also must recognize this dignity in one another. We should seek to show respect and love to one another as we would to Christ. This includes in our meetings, in our works, and our daily interactions with one another as legionaries. Each of us have a dignity and importance to what is at hand that is beyond description. We should support each other when we are struggling, rejoice in one another’s success, and see ourselves united in the same mission, no matter what works we may be doing. May our hearts always look for Christ in one another and those that we serve.