What Does it Mean to be a Knight of the Immaculata?
I. Goal of Membership
To work for the conversion to God of all men, be they sinners, heretics, schismatics, Jews, etc., in particular the Freemasons; and that all become saints, under the patronage and through the mediation of the Immaculate Virgin.
II. Conditions of Membership
To consecrate oneself entirely to the Blessed Virgin Mary, placing oneself freely as a docile and generous instrument in Her hands.
To wear the Miraculous Medal.
III. Duties of Membership
If possible, to pray the following aspiration at least once a day: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee, and for all those who do not have recourse to Thee, especially for the Masons and for all those who are commended to Thee."
To use all other valid and legitimate means for the conversion and sanctification of men, according to one’s means, in the different states and conditions of life, as the occasions present themselves; this is entrusted to the zeal and prudence of each one. Particularly recommended, however, is spreading the Miraculous Medal.
N.B. These means are recommended only as suggestions and not as an obligation; not one of them obliges under pain of sin, not even venial sin. Our principal motive is to help the greatest possible number of souls to be united with the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the mediation of the Immaculata.
Three Levels of Membership
Fr. Maximilian Kolbe distinguishes three degrees in the M.I., depending upon the members’ zeal, their capabilities and their state in life.
All religious orders and congregations, all the movements in the Church can also belong to the M.I. The different levels of membership will enable each member to give his best to the apostolate and so attain to Christian perfection.
It is necessary to understand the Militia Immaculatae as something transcendant; this means that it should not be viewed as just one organisation among many others; rather, it ought to penetrate into the depths of all other organisations.”
In the first degree of the M.I. each one consecrates himself to the Immaculata and endeavors to realize the purpose of the Militia individually, according to his own circumstances and the rules of prudence. Envisaged by Maximilian Kolbe for every Catholic, it involves a minor consecration and reception of the Miraculous Medal (see M.I. Ceremony of Enrolment) AND, for apostolic purposes, knowledge of a small 22 question mini-Marian catechism (M.I. Primer Catechism).
In the second degree of the M.I., the Knights bind themselves by special statutes and programs. They unite their forces, in order to reach their declared goal more quickly and effectively. This is for M.I. members with greater commitment to an active apostolate which might be demonstrated by active membership of an organisation of the Church Militant such as the Eucharistic Crusade, Legion of Mary, Apostles of Mary, Archconfraternity of St. Stephen, etc. OR, if other possibilities of common apostolate are opportune, they could be members of a circle of studies, a movement for students, a movement for lawyers, a movement for the suffering etc. (see Fr. Stehlin’s Letter No. 3)
The third degree of the M.I. consists in an unlimited devotion to the Immaculata. Thus She can do with us what She wills and as She wills. We belong entirely to Her and She belongs entirely to us. We do everything with Her help, we live and work under Her protection. This is for M.I. members who have given their entire lives to God by a priestly, religious or lay vocation.
In this way, the first degree is restricted to individual action, the second degree, to the public and social apostolate, whereas the third degree goes beyond all limits and aims at heroism.
(From a letter of St. Maximilian dated May 25, 1920).