The Beginnings Of Legionary Life
Four lines marked our small initial life:
1. Faith in God, all of us believed in God. None of us was an atheist. The more we were alone and surrounded, the more our preoccupations were directed to God and toward contact with our own dead and those of the nation. This gave us an invincible strength and a bright serenity in the face of all blows.
2. Trust in our mission, No one could be presented the smallest reason for our possible victory. We were so few in number, so young, so poor, so hated and detested by everyone, that all arguments not based on fact, pleaded against any chances of success. And yet we went ahead thanks only to . the confidence in our purpose, an unlimited trust in our mission and in the destiny of our country.
3. Our mutual love. Some of us had known one another for some time, having fortned close friendships, but others were youngsters, freshmen or sophomores in college, whom we had never met. From the very first days an ambience of affection between us all was established as if we were of the same family and had known each other since childhood. The need for an inner equilibrium was obvious in order to be able to resist. Our common affection had to be of the same intensity and force to match the wave of hatred from outside. Our life in this nest was not cold, official life, with distance between chief and soldier, with theatrics, rhetorical statements and assumed airs of leadership, our nest was warm. Relations between us were absolutely casual.
One did not come in as into a cold barracks but as into his own house, among his own family. And one did not come here just to take orders, but one found here a ray of love, an hour of spiritual quiet, a word of encouragement, relief, help in misfortune or need. The legionary was not asked so much for discipline, in the sense of barracks discipline-as for propriety, faith, devotion and zeal for work.
4. The song. Probably, because we had not started out on the, road of reason by setting up programs, contradictory discussions, philosophical argumentations, lectures, our only possibility of expressing our inner feelings was through singing. We sang those songs in which our feelings found satisfaction.
"There, High Up on a Black Rock" Stefan the Great's song, the melody of which, it was said, had remained unchanged from his time to this, from generation to generation. It is said that at the sound of this melody Stefan the Great triumphantly entered his fort at Suceava 500 years ago. When we were singing it we felt alive with those times of Romanian greatness and glory; we sank 500 years back into history and lived there for a few moments in touch with Stefan the Great and with his soldiers and archers.
"Like a Globe of Gold," the song of Michael the Brave; Avram lancu's song; "Let the Bugle Sound Again," the march of the Military School of Infantry in 1917; "Arise Romanians" written by Iustin lliesu and Istrate, which we proclaimed as the Legion's hymn.
To be able to sing, one has to be in a certain state of spirit, an inner harmony. A person bent on robbing somebody cannot sing, nor can one who is about to commit some other wrong; nor he whose soul is consumed by envy and hate of his comrade; nor he whose soul is devoid of faith.
That is why you, legionaries of today and tomorrow, anytime you feel the need to orient yourselves in the legionary spirit, must return to these four lines of our beginning which constitute the basis of our movement. The song will be a guide to you. If you are not going to be able to sing you must know that a sickness gnaws at the depth of your spiritual being or that life has filled your innocent soul with sins; and if you cannot rid yourselves of these sins, you ought to step aside, leaving your place to those who can sing.
Pursuing our life on the above mentioned 'lines we set out to act from the first days. I designated leaders, who received and gave orders.
We did not start out by engaging in some spectacular actions. As we were faced by some problem, we set out to solve it.
Our first action was fixing the room in our Home in which the icon of St Michael the Archangel was kept. We whitewashed it, we scrubbed the floor, the legionary girls began sewing curtains. Then legionaries wrote down several maxims I collected either from the Gospels or from other writings. They embelished our walls. Here are some of them:
"God carries us on His victorious chariot."
"Whoever wins.... I shall be his God."
"He who does not have a sword, let him sell his cloak and buy one."
"Fight bravely for faith."
"Avoid carnal pleasures, for they kill the soul."
"Do not destroy the hero that is in you."
"Brothers in fortune... as in misfortune."
"Whoever knows how to die, will never be a slave."
"I await the resurrection of my Fatherland and the destruction of the hordes of traitors," etc.
In a week's time our headquarters was set up.
Our second action was of a different nature: it pertained to,what our attitude should be toward outside attacks. We decided not to respond to them; which was extremely difficult for us all, Our moral being was being ripped apart. But this was the time of heroic endurance.
Another action: no one is to try to convince anybody to become a legionary. The customary sleeve-pulling and fishing for members always displeased me. The system was and has remained contrary, even to this day, to the legionary spirit. We shall state our point of view, simply. Whoever wanted to join, would come. And will join, if he is accepted.
But who was coming? People of the same spiritual essence as ours. Many? Very few. In Iasi, one year later, there were only two or three more than the first day. In the rest of the country however, there were more who were joining as they learned about our existence.
All those approaching us were characterized by two distinct lines clearly visible:
1. A great correctitude of soul.
2. The lack of personal interest. Among us, one could profit by no benefits. No promising prospects opened up. Here everybody had only to give-soul, wealth, life, capacity for love, and trust.
Even if one who was an incorrect individual or was motivated by some interest joined, he could not remain with us, for he could not find here a propitious setting. He would automatically leave, a month, a year, two or three, retreating, deserting or betraying.