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Militia of the Immaculata

 

Purpose

Everything that exists, i.e., the being of each thing, is formed according to the specific purpose for which it exists. So, in order to understand the nature of the MI, it is necessary to examine its purpose. Now, everything has a two-fold purpose: The ultimate and the proximate.
The ultimate purpose of every creature is the glory of God manifested externally. In contrast to irrational creatures, rational beings manifest this glory in a perfect way, for they not only reflect the image of God's perfections, they also come to know and admit them. Hence, homage, adoration, thanksgiving and love for the Creator by the creature.
But, God loves us in an infinitely perfect way and shows this love by coming into the world to raise us up again, to enlighten us, to strengthen us, and even to redeem us through a most terrible and painful death. He shows it by remaining among us for all time and all around the world, although he is shamefully neglected and abandoned by the ungrateful. He even gives himself to us as food and drink in order to impart to us a share in his divinity.
We must, therefore, love God in a perfect way. Yet, as creatures we are finite and unable to give him infinite glory. So, let us at least give him as much glory as we are able. For this reason the ultimate purpose of the MI is the glory of God, and not merely the greater glory of God, but the greatest glory.
The proximate purpose of a creature is the particular purpose for which it is made. This particular purpose serves as a means of attaining the ultimate goal. Now (as we have said] the reflection of God's perfections is the purpose of all creation. Hence to know and recognize God's image in us, and to perfect it by freely responding to God's graces and thus through charity unite ourselves all the more strictly with God through a kind of deification, is the [particular] purpose of man.
The MI, therefore, has for its proximate purpose the conversion of non-Catholics and particularly of those unfortunate persons who in their blindness lift up their criminal hands against the most loving and best Father, i.e., the [enemies of the Church]; and this subject to the direction, protection and mediation of the Most Blessed Virgin, the Immaculata. Under her protection, that is, as instruments in her Immaculate hands and through her intercession, using all the means she has given to us, and praying that she would obtain mercy for all. As to the reason why we have recourse to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of her Immaculate Conception, we have already seen this in our last discourse. (KW 1248)
 

 

 Nature  and Means

 The foregoing is our real purpose, according to which our whole union must be formed.We have learned from philosophy that everything is made up of "matter" and "form," which are combined together to establish the nature of the thing. In the MI the "matter," as in every organization, is its members, and these can be all those without exception who desire to attain the above-mentioned purpose: young and old, the Religious, priests and laity, men and women, the learned and the simple, in one word all who desire the greatest glory of God without limitations, through the Immaculata.
The "form" of every organization is that which joins the members together in order to attain the organization's purpose; it constitutes the organization's essence. In the MI the "form" is the complete dedication of ourselves and everything, without any reservations, to the Most Blessed Virgin, so that she would deign to accomplish in us and through us what was once written of her: "She shall crush your head" (Gen. 3: 15), and "You yourself have conquered all the heresies in the whole world" (office of the BVM); in one word, that she would deign to sanctify us and through us to unite others with God in the most intimate love.
The external sign of this dedication is the Miraculous Medal, because it was given to us by herself, and this is an integral part of the MI.
The keeping of the spirit of the foregoing offering, as well as the wearing of the Miraculous Medal, does not obligate us under any sin, even the smallest; it is love only, love without limits towards the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in order to bring back to him as many souls as possible and to unite them with him as intimately as possible, which is the only motive for the existence and activity of the MI.
We are merely an instrument in the most loving hands of the Immaculata, and only in this way can we expect to reach our ultimate purpose, which is not only the greater, but the greatest glory of God. Hence, all our efforts must be directed to this: that we allow ourselves to be led, that we do nothing of ourselves, but only what she wants in the way she wants it.
But where do we find and how do we recognize the will of our Queen? There is only one sure way of doing this in the whole world: holy obedience to all who represent God, whose will is the very life of the Immaculata. But we must (here we reason in a human way) recognize a difference: God directs all things according to his justice; however he has given us the most Blessed Virgin as a Mother so that we might avoid the stroke of justice and seek refuge under her motherly mantle of mercy. For this reason, says St. Bernard, God has reserved to himself the order of justice, and consigned the order of mercy to the most Blessed Virgin Mary.

We can sometimes recognize the Blessed Virgin's intentions through interior inspirations. Yet we can hardly ever be sure that they come from her and not our own self-love or from the devil. For the devil can disguise himself as an angel of light and suggest the most holy things to us. These may even be good for someone else, but they will not be what the Lord God desires for us. Even though the most Blessed Virgin should appear herself in order to send us on the most noble of missions, when and where could we have that certainty that it is really she, and not some phantasm or some trick of the devil? Indeed we know that the devil even appeared to St. Catherine of Sienna (if I am not mistaken) as the crucified Lord Jesus, and deceived her for a time.

 

 

 And the Miraculous Medal

 In all such instances the best criterion is obedience. That is, we must present our feelings to the proper religious authority or spiritual director as the case requires, and faithfully fulfill his directive in the matter. Should he forbid what the Immaculata wants, she will still be able to achieve her purpose, as she did when the authorities opposed her will in the case of the Miraculous Medal and at Lourdes. Indeed the Lord God sometimes permits such obstacles intentionally in order to clarify his wishes. Whatever does not come from God or the Immaculata will come to nothing.Hence, we recognize the wishes of our Queen not only in the direct commands we receive from authorities but also in the permission given us to fulfill our interior inspirations. Our whole life, every thought, work and deed is in her hands. Let her direct all of these as she pleases.
At various times and in various trials the most Blessed Virgin Mary has come to the aid of her children, giving them different ways of attaining salvation more easily, and freeing others from the yoke of Satan. Now in this epoch of the Immaculate Conception the most Blessed Virgin has given mankind the "Miraculous Medal". Its heavenly origin has been proven by countless miracles of healing and particularly of conversion. The Immaculata herself in revealing it promised all who would wear it very many graces; and since conversion and sanctification are divine graces from God, the Miraculous Medal will be one of the best means for attaining these gifts. For this reason it constitutes a first-class weapon of the Militia Immaculatae; it is a "bullet" which a faithful Knight of the Immaculata aims at the enemy, i.e., evil, thereby saving persons caught in evil. "And above all the Miraculous Medal" (- original Program or Charter of the MI).
On this medal, there is inscribed the ejaculation: "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you." This is a prayer which the Immaculata herself places upon our lips, revealing it to us and recommending its recitation. This is truly our heavenly weapon - a perfect weapon for a Knight of the Immaculata. And so we fulfill this directive of Mary. But because there are also some who do not have recourse to her, we add the following: "And for all those who do not have recourse to you." Now the head of the hellish serpent is the union of the enemies of the Church. We, therefore, mention especially those who are ensnared by them.
So, therefore, we strike daily at all members of the hellish dragon, and above all else at the head. The results of this work (or rather of the prayer) we do not see now, but after death we will see how true are the words of the Savior: "Ask and you shall receive" (Jn. 16: 24); for here we can be sure that what we ask for is certainly not contrary to God's will.
The Program of the MI indicates that we are to use "all means (as long as they are licit), which our state of life, conditions and circumstances permit, which are recommended to the zeal and prudence of everyone." Here we have opened the broadest field for action, for there is every variety of "state in life, conditions and circumstances," offering countless ways and means of action. (KW 1248)