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Take Five

A Certain Way

Part Two: Origins
There's only one Gospel: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But there are different ways of living the Gospel. Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Ignatius of Loyola and many others found different ways of applying the Gospel of Jesus to the needs of their times. In 19th century France a group of people found a way of living the Gospel that answered some of the spiritual needs of their post-Revolution world. This was new and refreshing in their day. It's still fresh today.

Read "A Certain Way" from the beginning.

Life from within
The Marist project was described as "a tree of many branches". There were branches of priests, brothers, sisters, and lay people. Within a year of the death of the founder of the brothers, 421 young men had become brothers. At the death of the founder of the priests' branch, 258 priests and religious were working in France, Oceania and London. Within a year of its approval 16 young women from one small village had joined the sisters’ group. What was the secret?

Life from within: Life force

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul poetically describes the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus:

Being in the form of God, he did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

With these words, St. Paul opens up our understanding of Jesus' spirituality.

A Certain Way: Lifeforce... Take Five with the Society of Mary USA

Out of compassion for us, and in order to save us, Jesus stooped down to the level of our human existence. Through this self-emptying, Jesus let go his privileges, his rights, his dignity as Son of God, and became hidden in our human nature, identifying with us so as to encourage us back to the Father.

When christians confront this mystery, they begin to understand one of the christian paradoxes: that what is significant in God’s sight is often hidden from human recognition.

The life of Mary reflects a similar self-emptying. She did not cling to her privilege as Mother of Jesus. She submerged herself among the disciples, becoming hidden and unknown at the heart of the Church.

Father Colin saw that living this Marian way of life was a very effective way of doing the great things we are called to do as followers of Jesus. So it is appropriate to speak of a "Marian Church".

By that title we don't mean a Church focussed on Mary, but a Church that bears the features of this believer who was both mother and disciple of Jesus, and who was a hidden, compassionate presence in the Church Jesus founded.

Karl Rahner writes of this Marian way of being Church:

"The unnoticeable thing maybe the most important; the snowball may become an avalanche; the archimedean point of leverage is not always located at the spot where the loudest talk is going on. Courage to make an unimpressive start, the humility of small beginnings, is the charism of a truly great apostolate."

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Chapter Three, Section 1: Icons

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Last century, a group of people in France gathered together,
inspired by a question:
"What if we discovered the Gospel together, and lived it as Mary lived it?"

And finally, they are in the world, and not on the sideline watching with regret the passing of an age.

The first Marists were men and
women of rock, and the origins of
Marist spirituality were hewn, almost literally, out of rock.

But what those pioneers found was fresh for their times.

And for ours.

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