We are Contemplatives in Action
While the Church has always emphasized Marian devotion, “We (Marists) are called to something much deeper … we are called to become Mary’s devotion in the midst of the Church.” (Quote from Fr. Ed Keel, SM – Today’s Marist V4. I1. P.6)
Mary of Nazareth, the first disciple of the Lord and Mother of the Church, is the heart of our identity as Marists. This remarkable woman of faith has called us to this way of life. We believe that we have been called by a “gracious choice” into the family of Mary. It is her work that we do and so we commit ourselves to think, judge, feel and act as she did.
These qualities mark us as Marists: mercy and compassion, availability, welcome and hospitality, simplicity manifest in everyday ordinariness and a common touch. We are self-effacing apostles who demonstrate a spirit of joy and respect for others; we are called to be humble and hidden and unknown in the world.
Our spirituality, which is both mystical and practical, responds to the reality and circumstances of today’s world. Jean-Claude Colin, acting on what he believed to be Mary’s desire, encouraged us to establish a Marian Church, a Church with the heart of a mother beating at its center.
At our best, we are instruments of God’s mercy working to help others taste the boundless love of the Lord, especially those who find themselves on the margins. As Marists, we seek to go where the Church is not. We should enable all with whom we come into contact to experience the gift of reconciliation as well as peace of heart and mind.
Mary is the icon of God’s Spirit. As her fellow disciples, we pray that with God’s grace we become the same.
Marists are men called to live a life of contemplation in action bringing Mary’s presence to a broken world. “Human experience, in the light of faith, is the ground from which the contemplative way emerges and returns. … It (Contemplation) therefore requires a capacity and commitment to listen to what is happening, to face the truth of our experiences, and to submit to the truth.” (Today’s Marist, V4. I.1. p.5)
“Contemplation as the energy source, the mystical heart of Marist mission, is intimately linked with our identity as Marist religious. … With Jesus at the center we can, like Mary, be missionaries of hope.” (2017 General Chapter, 30)