Marists take Mary as their model. They endeavour to “think, judge, feel and act ” as Mary in all things. Mary was present at the birth of the Church as its support. She wishes to be present today through those who live her spirit and do her work of gathering the whole world to her Son, and, being touched by God’s mercy, become united – one in heart and mind.
Hidden and Unknown
Mary was present in the early church but her presence was a quiet, unassuming one. In the way that they work with people, Marists try not to draw attention to themselves, but to support and encourage and to avoid anything that would make it difficult for people to know Christ. To live in this manner is not to hide away from life but rather to be fully engaged in it in a simple, gentle, humble way.
Mary at Nazareth
“Nazareth” is a point of reference for Marists. It is a place where Marists go in spirit and from there see things as Mary saw them. Jeanne-Marie Chavoin reminds us that… “Our Congregation was not founded to imitate this or that Congregation but to have its own spirit, which is a love of poverty, simplicity and love of work. The house of Nazareth must be our model.” At Nazareth, Mary is found among the poor and humble. She shared their way of living and was attentive to the needs of those around her.
Marists see Mary as a mother of mercy who has a heart for humanity, especially those who suffer greatly, are lost or excluded. Marists help to build a church that is seen, not in terms of power, control and competitiveness, but in terms of community, compassion, simplicity, and mercy. All are welcomed, no one is excluded.
Instruments of Divine Mercy
From their own experience the first Marists believed that once a person had “tasted God” everything else would fall into place. As, like Mary, we meditate on God’s word, contemplate Christ and listen to Him, we learn to ‘taste God’ in prayer and become more closely united with Him. Marists are particularly concerned for those on the edges, the overlooked, the lost, those who seem far from God. They try to point them to Christ in the gentle manner of Mary.