The Catena Legionis

Jim Daly
Handbook Ch. 18 No. 10
September 17, 2020

Today's Spiritual Reading is on the Catena. All active and auxiliary members of the Legion of Mary say the Catena every day. Catena is Latin for chain. The Catena is the chain that binds us to the Legion and to each other. Not a chain of steel but a human chain that strengthens with use. It assures our perseverance in the Legion.

The main part of the Catena is the Magnificat, a prayer authored by Mary.

At the Annunciation, Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month. Mary immediately visited Elizabeth and stayed three months. Mary wanted to help Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Mary was in her first trimester, probably experiencing morning sickness. Her focus was not on herself, but on service to others. Life was difficult for women in those days, no washing machines, no microwaves. Elizabeth needed help.

John leaps in Elizabeth's womb when Mary greets Elizabeth. 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. And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Luke 1:42-43
Mary responds with the Magnificat. It is the core of the Catena. The Magnificat is about Jesus. There are a number of themes in the Magnificat.
  • The first theme is the acceptance of our mission. Mary rejoices and glorifies God. Mary is delighted with what the Lord has done to her. She whole heartily accepts her mission.
  • Humility is another theme. Mary says that God has regarded the humility of his handmaid.
  • Revolution is another theme. He puts forth His arm in strength and scatters the proud hearted. He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly. He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty. Jesus says in Luke 12:49 "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled."
  • Another theme is the great mercy God has promised, and has shown, by giving us Jesus.

We should follow Mary's example, accept our mission in life, be humble, be of service to others, let Jesus be a revolution in our life, and praise God for his mercy.

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