It’s odd sometimes how some of my interests come together. As readers of this blog may be aware, I’m fascinated with all things Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, since many of my ancestors came from that part of the world. Readers may also know that I am president of my parish’s praesidium (local chapter) of The Legion of Mary, a Catholic organization dedicated to fostering deeper devotion to Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary.
The Legion of Mary was founded on September 7th, 1921, in Dublin Ireland. That may sound like so much interesting historical trivia until you realize, as I did a few days ago, that the 1920s were a very turbulent time in Irish history. In 1921, the Irish had just concluded their War of Independence from Great Britain and set about trying to establish the Republic of Ireland. Tragically, however, the Republican movement soon split into factions because of profound disagreements about what the nature of Ireland’s relationship to Britain should be. Each faction accused the other of betraying the revolution and selling out the Irish independence movement. Infighting between the factions escalated into The Irish Civil War of 1922-23. The political fallout from the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War, including the partition of Ireland into the predominantly Catholic and independent Republic and the British and Protestant-controlled territory of Northern Ireland, played a huge part in “The Troubles,” the political and sectarian violence that plagued Northern Ireland until very recently.
So what’s the connection? At every Legion meeting, members pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the world, mercy from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and prayers and intercession from the Immaculate Heart of Maryworthy things at any time, to be sure, but especially valuable in times of war and violence. I imagine that to the founders of the Legion, these things were not just pious niceties or pretty phrases, but things they desperately wanted and neededand things that are just as much wanted and needed in our world today.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us.