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Today's Marists

Marist events and stories about parishes, Marist School and Marist personalities are shared regularly in the print edition of our newsletter, Today's Marists. We invite to read about our ministries, missions, history, schools, donors and more.

Download Spring 2018 Today's Marists Newsletter
(updated June 15, 2018)

From Today's Marists Newsletter

Marist Postulant Nik RodewaldAn Interview with a Millennial about Marist Spirituality
by Jack Ridout, Marist Vocation Director
and Marist Postulant Nik Rodewald

Niklas Rodewald has been a postulant with the USA Marists for the past three years and will be attending the next novitiate class.

Nik has been living with the Marists and understands our spirituality and wishes to be professed in the Society of Mary.

I asked Nik to add his insights and explain how he has heard through the "noise" of today's world in light of those Marist values as expressed by Fr. Colin so many years ago.

Nik, what has been your path to the Marists?

After experiencing a sort of 'second conversion' during my first years in college, I began to feel a possible call towards religious life. Based on my own personal spirituality and desire to work among God's beloved poor, I felt that God might be calling me to a congregation that was focused on Marian spirituality, the Eucharist and an apostolic mission that emphasizes the poor and marginalized in our world today.

I visited with a couple of different religious congregations, including the Dominicans. With the Dominicans, I felt as though I had found my vocation: they emphasized Marian spirituality and Eucharistic adoration; served AIDS patients in New York City; and celebrated beautiful, sung liturgies. It seemed like a perfect fit.

In explaining what happened next, I think about Elijah meeting God at Mount Horeb (1 Kings 11-12). In order to reveal himself to Elijah, God leads him up the mountain: a strong wind passes by and pierces the rocks, but God was not in the wind; an earthquake thundered, but God was not in the earthquake; a fire blazed, but God was not in the blaze. In the end, a small voice spoke, and in that Elijah found God. Despite all the 'criteria' that the Dominicans met, it was a small voice that spoke to me and said, "This is not what I want for you."

A couple of weeks later, I was visiting with a friend and mentor of mine, and as we're sitting down having coffee, he tells me about his friend, Fr. Mike Mahoney, SM, who had been a missionary in Brazil for many years. He told me about Fr. Mike's spirit, dedicated service to the poor, and humility. He ended the story by saying, in his slight southern drawl, "Just like we have a Society of Jesus, we’ve also got a Society of Mary to carry on her work in the world." I looked up the Marists online, did a bit of reading, and reached out. I was pleased to learn that there was a Marist presence in Boston. And the rest is history.

What values stand out the most?

The phrase I always come back to in my meditation upon the Society is, "As Marists, they desire to breathe her spirit, to be humble and obedient, and to deny themselves for the love of God and their neighbor" (Constitutions, 9).

Breathing Mary's spirit means living as she did. And how did she live? She was always attending to the will of God – both in her extraordinary 'fiat,' but also in her 'everyday ordinariness' as the mother of a family and the maker of a home. Her life and her spirit also mean darkness and self-denial: she followed her Son to the cross, and "a sword pierced her heart, too."

Finally, we as Marists come face-to-face with the beautiful paradox of Mary being 'hidden and unknown.' As we read in Acts, "All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" (Acts 1:14), yet we have as our founding story the message of Mary to Fr. Courveille and Fr. Colin, "I upheld the Church at its birth, I will do so again at the end of time."

She is at once simply mentioned as being among the disciples, and yet her 'hidden and unknown' presence upholds the very life of the Church.

Our lives are a participation in the life of the Blessed Mother: we breathe her spirit, and live the very life of Mary. How blessed we are as Marists to have been called to spend our lives "breathing Mary’s spirit" and taking all of the gifts that come from it – the 'fiat,' 'everyday ordinariness,' the 'sword that pierces our heart,' 'hidden and unknown' – and 'pondering all these things' in our hearts, just as Mary did!

How does your music mesh with your Marist life?

I worked in a recording studio for a while, and I remember my boss talking about being a sideman. Our job – whether we were playing on a record or producing it – was not to make the music as we thought it should be made, but to help the artist fulfill their dream. In short, it was not about us, but about the music.

In a similar way, making Christian art means taking up the spirit of Mary – it’s not about 'self-expression' or 'my' art, but is rather about the artist's call to make known the presence, mystery and grace of God in our world, right here and now.

Being challenged daily to 'breathe Mary’s spirit' helps keep my musical focus on the mystery of Christian faith, and away from the 'self-expression' that produces noise instead of music. Likewise, being a musician means that I have been gifted with a special way of breathing Mary's spirit and making it known in a particular way. Couple this with the generous support that I have been given by so many Marists, and music and Marist life become two sides of the same coin.

Our Blessed Mother continues to influence young people today by pointing them to her son Jesus. We pray that more will open their hearts and minds to accept those cherished values of Fr. Colin and to make "the whole world Marist."

Should wish to follow a blog by Nik Rodewald sharing his experience of formation please go to https://maristformation.wordpress.com and sign up. You will be notified of updates.

 

 

The phrase I always come back to in my meditation upon the Society is,
"As Marists, they desire to breathe her spirit, to be humble and obedient, and to deny themselves for the love of God and their neighbor."

(Constitutions, 9)

 

 
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