The Catena Legionis

Jim Daly
Handbook Ch. 18 No. 10
November 9, 2017

Catena is Latin for chain. The Catena is the chain that binds us to the Legion. Not a chain of steel but a human chain that strengthens with use. It assures our perseverance in the Legion.

Members of the Legion of Mary are required to say the Catena every day. New members should be encouraged in this duty. It is a spiritual exercise that strengthens them.

The Catena is the prayers that are said midway through the meeting. The main part is the Magnificat, a prayer authored by Mary. The Magnificat is part of the story of the incarnation.

At the Annunciation, Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month. Mary immediately visited Elizabeth and stayed three months until John was born. Life was difficult for women in those days. Elizabeth needed Mary's help. Even though Mary was pregnant herself, her focus was on service to others.

Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. John leaps in her womb when Mary greets her. Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith. In a loud voice, she says.

"Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." Luke 1:42
Mary responds with the Magnificat. She echoes Old Testament verses she is familiar with. She praises God for what He has done to her and for the mercy He has shown to Israel and to us. She praises God for redeeming us.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once referred to our Blessed Mother as being like “a magnifying glass that intensifies our love of her Son.”

The Magnificat shows the importance of humility. Mary says, "God has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid” . She also says, “He has put down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the lowly.” Mary says that God has filled the hungry with good things. Jesus says, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled."

We should follow Mary's example, be humble, be of service to others and hunger for righteousness.

O Mary conceived without sin.
Pray for us who have recourse to thee