During this Advent time in the Church year, the image of our Lord coming as a thief in the night expresses the necessity of constant vigilance.
"Here I stand, knocking at the door" (Rev. 3:20).
In every age, we as Christians are in danger of failing to hear Him "knocking at the door." There are among us those who listen to that knocking and are confronted with what that means and are willing to go the next step in answering that beckoning.
Two people have heard that knock and are responding in a special way. Richard Whittington and Liam Curtin are at the beginning stages of responding to the sound of that knock by taking the first step in the process of applying to the Society of Mary.
I have asked a few questions of both Richard and Liam, and due to space, I will present Richard's replies in this issue and Liam's in the next issue of Today's Marists.
Jack: What were your impressions when you first heard that knocking?
Richard: Even before becoming a Catholic ten years ago I felt called to some form of ministry… and responded to that feeling with a pinch of anxiety. The weight of that possibility frightened me, and I diverted my attention elsewhere, namely graduate school.
Jack: Did things change when you became a Catholic?
Richard: The feeling did return, but a wise priest told me to wait and see if the call returned. I then pursued a career in academia. The call did not always dominate my thoughts, but as I completed graduate school, the knock became louder once again.
Jack: This will be a new way of living for you, what are your feelings now, and what has changed?
Richard: As the time of graduation drew nearer, the knock at the door became louder once again. At times I contemplated the call with excitement; very often it simply felt like the obvious choice. As I have traveled this path the latter feeling has become more dominant. The call to the priesthood seems obvious and (in a good way) inescapable. I think of the future with excitement but also with a peace of mind that eluded me so many years ago.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have many questions while considering a vocational life as a Marist. Our FAQs may help in your research.
At many stages of life you may feel God calling you. But how do you understand and act upon God's plan for you?
The Marist Path
The process of joining the Marists is a thoughtful and considered one. Through the various stages of discernment, a person can comfortably get to know the Marist community.
Delve into our resources of books, web sites, and other links that may help in your discernment.
"This will be a
no matter what!"
Lest We Build on Sand
The practice of reciting three Hail Mary's and the Sub Tuum (we fly to your patronage) for the conversion of those who are not faithful followers of Christ, whether baptized or not, and the perseverance of those who faithfully follow Christ is an early custom of the members of the Marist Family. This spiritual practice at the beginning and the end of each day puts us in immediate union with Mary and her spiritual concerns.
Marist spirituality is Mary's spirituality, totally centered on Jesus the Christ, her Son and Teacher, and on our relationships with him. Marists are to be completely centered on and unite with Christ, as is Mary. They are to make their best efforts to bring others to him, while encouraging, strengthening, and cooperating with those whose lives are already dedicated to Christ.
Mary's spirituality is lived always in the context of a Christian way of life, whether one is single, married, or consecrated. The ideas and ideals of Marist spirituality become real only when they are incarnated in the Marist spiritual practice of people in their daily lives.
Lest we build on sand, we must have a clear understanding of our baptismal vocation and commitment; a realistic picture of ourselves; knowledge of the three Christian ways of life; and instruction about Marist spirituality and spiritual practice.
Marist "way of life" Discernment Days, which we hope to offer throughout the Province, help those who have not yet chosen the state in life for which they are suited, to discern which of the three life-giving paths is best for them, and aid those who already have chosen their state in life to understand it more deeply from the Christian point of view.
These Discernment Days are designed to help Catholic Christians live out their baptismal vocation and commitment to Jesus Christ in a Marist way, in their chosen state of life.
Father Tom Ellerman, S.M.