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Who We Are

The Marist Way, A Contemplative Way

Excerpts from a Reflection on the 2017 General Chapter

One of the remarkable (and perhaps unexpected) challenges that arose from our recent General Chapter was the clarion call for all Marists to live a life of contemplation.

“Contemplation as the energy source, the mystical heart of Marist mission, is intimately linked with our identity as Marist religious. To form a communion for mission, we need to deepen the contemplative dimension of our lives. With Jesus at the centre we can, like Mary, be missionaries of hope." (2017 General Chapter, 30).

Ours is not a monastic vocation but a call to a deeply contemplative life bearing fruit in mission. Whether Marists are feeling the aches and pains of aging or, like Fr. Orlando Rojas, SM, in Peru just ordained, or like the novices presently preparing for First Profession in January in Davao, we share this same Marist vocation.

“As Mary pondered the Word, so are we called to a life of contemplation, centered on the Eucharist, bearing fruit in service within the Church and beyond." (General Chapter, 4)

One of the especially challenging decisions of this Chapter was:

"Marists are recommended to spend one hour in private prayer each day." (General Chapter, 32)

This is a welcome challenge that can lead to a renewal of our vocation to be Marist missionaries of the light and joy of the Christ child, both in this Season and throughout the year.

Long ago our own Craig Larkin introduced me to this story from the desert. It speaks of light and contemplative prayer:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him: “Abba, as far as I can I say my little Office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?” Then the old man stood up and stretched out his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him: “If you will, you can become all flame.”