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Council for the Marist Way

 

 

Prayers, Readings

and

Reflections

 

 

 

 

When you pray,

go to your private room

and when you have shut your door,

pray to your Father who is in that secret place,

and your Father

who sees all that is done in secret

will reward you.

(Matthew 6:6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In all things,

let us look to Mary;

 

Let us imitate her life

at Nazareth.

 

Let us imitate her presence

in the Church.

 

Let us respond life Mary,

open and available to God’s will

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections of a Marist Sister

I believe Marist Spirituality

is a timeless spirituality

that today’s complex and materialistic world

is crying out for.

It speaks to what is at the very heart

of being human.

I have found the living of it

both meaningful and rewarding.

It is a source of great peace and happiness

but it is also challenging and demanding.

I gain confidence from the knowledge

that as I try to adopt

the prayerful, pondering heart of Mary,

I know that she is walking through life with me,

guiding and directing me.

To the extent that I allow Mary to do this

I can be confident

that I am doing her work in today’s world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his book ‘The Age of Mary’, Jan Snijders, a Dutch Marist, writes:

"Our founders saw the Society as a mission to a very definite period of history. It was not just a way of life; it was not a project to promote some special devotion to Mary; it was not designed to take care of particular apostolic needs, such as parishes or education or even home missions. It was a mission to a particular period of history, and everything specific about the Society was geared to enabling Marists to fulfil that mission: a Society of clearly distinctive characteristics for a mission not to a particular place but to a particular time."

 

 

A Reflection

Hearing the Word of God requires us to take it to ourselves, allow it to become part of us so that it becomes a true wellspring of our action. This is best accomplished in prayer, where in an atmosphere of tranquillity and silence we have the time to pay attention to what God is saying and hear it resonate in the deepest recesses of our being.

Mary is our model. She was a fully integrated person, because she took God’s word deep into her heart and identified herself with it, allowing it to become the unifying point of her life. Unique among all creatures, she received what God had to offer in a uniquely special way. God did not only speak words to her. He spoke his Son, the Word of God, to her. And she received the Word so completely in heart that she actually conceived him in her womb. Literally she gave flesh to the Word. He became part of her. She took him into herself, so completely identified herself with him that he lives a new life in her womb.

We too are called to give flesh to the Word, not literally as Mary did, but figuratively inasmuch as the Word still seeks to come alive in us and continue his saving presence in our world.                                                                               

 (taken from the New Zealand Marist website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnificat: a song of hope in a changing world.

 

Our world today is one of fear. Our gospel is one of fear not.

Thomas Merton once observed that ‘at the root of all war is fear; not so much the fear that men have for one another, as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another; they do not trust themselves. They cannot trust anything because they have ceased to believe in God’.

 

Mary’s world was one of fear. Her vocation to be the Mother of Jesus was a call to ‘fear not’. She too lived among people who did not trust one another, or themselves, because they had ceased to believe in God.

 

To find hope in our world we have to re-discover our God and listen to his voice. To offer hope to our world requires us to re-discover our vocation as God’s people. The word ‘vocation’ is rooted in the Latin word for voice. It means a calling that we hear. Part of that hearing is not only discovering, or re-discovering who we are, but who God is for us.

 

So what is the calling that we hear? The Magnificat is a call to renewal and mission in our Church.

Our calling, like Mary’s, is to make God’s love visible in the Church.             (Peter Price)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web of Peace

Peace is as delicate

as the woven web of the spider

so intricate, so complex,

yet so easily destroyed.

Lord, give us the peace that lasts,

that binds us together,

that gives hope.

Peace, so delicate yet so strong,

Is our prayer for today and always

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Mary, from being Jesus’ mother, becomes his first and perfect disciple, i.e. she makes the perfect human response to him and to his spirit. Therefore, every follower of Jesus needs to look to her for guidance in becoming a true disciple of the Lord, needs to learn from her what true discipleship means and how it is to be lived. Each Christian, if he or she is to respond fully to Jesus, benefits immensely by being led and taught by Mary.                                                                                                                      (Taken from ‘A Certain Way’)

 

 

 

 

A Reflection

What a frightening invitation was given to Mary, to become mother of the Messiah, the child on whom rested the salvation of all.

 

What does God invite me to do?

When have I been invited?

How did I respond?

 

God’s messengers do come to me.

They tell me too that the Lord is with me.

But sometimes I do not wish to hear;

The demands are too great.

 

I have been called by God to do Him some definite service.

I have a vocation to become what He calls me to be.

I must learn to say ‘Yes’, let it be done.

 

I must learn to trust in God.

He knows what I can do.

To Him nothing is impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy are those who are poor in spirit

whose heart freely gives and receives,

who say with Mary: "Be it done unto me."

Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy are those who are gentle,

whose concern brings comfort, whose touch, healing,

whose manner says: "The Lord is with you!"

They will inherit the earth.

Happy are those who mourn with the mourning,

who reach out to the suffering, the oppressed,

who stand with Mary near the cross of her Lord,

in His cross they will be comforted.

Happy are those who thirst for what is right,

who use mind and heart for the Kingdom,

though persecuted in the cause of what is just,

with living waters they will be filled.

Theirs is the Kingdom of God.

Happy are the merciful, the peacemakers,

who forgive and accept the other,

who heal the wounded, reconcile the broken,

feeling oneness with sinful humanity,

mercy will be shown to them.

Happy are those, pure in heart, transparent,

who pray, "Your name is oil poured out…

in your footsteps, draw me. Let us run..

you are my joy and my gladness!"

Yes, they will see God.

 

 

 

 

The Wedding Feast at Cana

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come". His mother said to the servants. "Do

whatever he tells you".

John describes the event at Cana as Jesus’ first miracle, and gives us some clues to its meaning. For example the six stone water jars. They were used by the Jews for rites of purification, but for John, the mystic, they symbolise fallen human nature in need of purifying; they stand for the old creation that emerged out of the dark waters of chaos. But the Evangelist has set this wedding feast on the seventh day of the new creation where Christ is the Light shining in the darkness. His mother, introduced now as Woman, Eve of the new creation, is destined to become the Mother of all the living when she appears again at the end of his gospel. So we have, Christ the Light, His mother the Woman, and water.

What is John telling us? In the previous chapter of his gospel he spoke of John the baptiser as one who baptised with water, but indicated that the one to come, Jesus, will baptise with the Holy Spirit. In this miracle water is transformed into wine, sparkling, heady, inebriating wine, symbol of the Spirit – the Spirit who would change our broken humanity into a new creation, into the wine that will take us out of our darkness, our loneliness, our alienation and anxiety.

Human nature, our human nature, is then truly transformed – not replaced – just as the water was not replaced - so we remain who we are with our personal history and characteristics, all our quirks and peculiarities, but we are transformed into the Spirit. We live NOW, in this moment where the future meets the present, IN Christ. And Mary, the mother, is the one who with total confidence does her work, indicating our needs to Jesus and telling us what to do.

(Marie Challacombe, Marist Sister, a reflection given during their General Chapter, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFLECTION

(Taken from ‘Like Mary—Towards Christian Maturity in the twenty-first century by Fritz Arnold sm)

In silence we become aware of the healing, loving care of God. In silence we can again be aware of what is really always valid. We can be aware that we are always basically and unconditionally loved by God. In a manner of speaking, God says to us: ‘I always wanted to speak with you, but you never left me time. I always wanted to say: "I am here for you." but you were anxious. I always wanted to tell you: "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." But you did not believe me, but thought I was distant, absent. I wanted to speak to you all the more, but you would not let me speak out. If you are ready to listen to my words, then I would like to tell you, "I have loved you with an everlasting love."

Quiet times allow us to experience the liberating love of God. We can place ourselves at his call and that releases us from pre-occupation with earthly things.

People who commit themselves to times of stillness in their lives, radiate warmth and light in their surroundings. The more one is recollected in one’s innermost soul, so much greater the radiance emanates from it, drawing others under its spell. As Mary was aware of the call of God, so can such people be conscious of God’s call in our time.

 

 

 

 

A Prayer

God of stillness and creative action,

Help us to find space for quietness today,

That we may live creatively

discover the meaning of silence

and learn the wisdom that heals the world.

Send peace and joy to each quiet place,

to all who are waiting and listening.

May your still, small voice be heard

through Christ in the love of the Spirit.

AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayers for Peace in the Middle East

Make your circle around the poor, God of love

Make your circle around the hungry, God of compassion

Make your circle around the oppressed, God of liberation

Make your circle around the victims of war, God of Peace

(John Johansen-Berg)

 

O God

you bring hope out of emptiness

energy out of fear

new life out of grief and loss.

As Mary returned to mourn

yet found unspeakable joy,

so comfort all who have lost their homes

through persecution, war, exile or deliberate destruction.

Give them security, a place to live, and neighbours

they trust,  to be with them a new sign of peace to the world.

(Janet Morley)

 

O God , we thank you for the glorious opportunities

to build new societies of peace, justice and love

to praise and glorify you.

Help us, as we pray, to stand up with courage,

 to work with love and to live in hope

for Christ's sake. Amen

 

Vulnerable God,

You challenge the powers that rule this world

through the needy, the compassionate,

and those who are filled with longing.

Make us hunger and thirst to see right prevail,

and single minded in seeking peace:

that we may see your face and be satisfied in you,

through Jesus Christ, Amen         

 

 (Janet Morley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed are you Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers

who say no to war as a means to peace.

Blessed are the peacemakers

who are committed

to disarm weapons of mass destruction

Blessed are the peacemakers

who wage peace at heroic personal cost.

Blessed are the peacemakers

who help those who are hurting.

Blessed are the peacemakers

who befriend perfect strangers

Blessed are the peacemakers

who welcome, encourage and inspire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed are the peacemakers

who offer hope and healing.

Blessed are the peacemakers

who care and comfort.

Blessed are the peacemakers

who help find answers.

Blessed are the peacemakers

who help restore faith and love

Blessed are the peacemakers

who see the good in others

Blessed are the peacemakers

who never give up

(Pax Christi)

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Ward—Jubilee 400: 2009—2011

2009 marks the beginning of a two year celebration of the 400th anniversary of Mary Ward’s foundation, a response to God’s call for active engagement of women in apostolic work for the church and the world.

 

In September, 1609, Mary Ward had returned to England after some years spent in Poor Clare Convents in Flanders. She then worked in London at a time when English Catholics were suffering intense persecution.

In 1609 she had an intense experience of God and realised that she was not be an enclosed nun, but that ‘ some other thing more for the Glory of God’ was being asked of her. Mary’s conviction that Christ was calling her into active religious life meant that she had to leave England with no certainty of what God wanted let alone human security. So strong was her conviction that she persuaded a group of like-minded young English women in their early 20’s to follow her. They left England for St Omer in Flanders to do ‘some other thing more for the glory of God’. The group acquired a house, opened a small school and began to discern their future together.

 

In 1611, Mary Ward had a further experience of God and learnt that ‘some other thing’ was to take the Constitutions of the Jesuits, written a generation earlier by St Ignatius of Loyola and form a congregation of women who would live without enclosure, actively committed to the apostolate.

Although initially welcomed by the Pope, the Congregation had many opponents and in 1630, was suppressed and Mary Ward was imprisoned.

However, in 1639, Mary was able to return to England and eventually settled in Heworth, Nr York where in 1645, she died.

 

A group of her followers continued her work and from these modest beginnings came Mary Ward’s world-wide congregation, its two branches known today as the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Ward Jubilee 400 Prayer

Glory, glory, glory to you O God

Our fragile planet’s creator, Redeemer.

Teach us Christ’s way of using all things

In that singular freedom from all that might bind us

Lover of souls and giver of life

Ground our being, call us by name.

Glory, glory, glory to you O Jesus

‘Jesus’ first and last word in the story.

Your name given us for our founding.

Challenge our values, our fears, our delusions.

Widen our vision, deepen our prayer

Put in our hearts your world and your people.

Glory, glory, glory to you O Spirit,

Spirit of God, powerful and powerless.

Give us a glimpse of this new way of being.

Breathe into our thinking, our praying our choosing

Give us a great and new love for this Company

Imprint on our hearts the law of your love.

Glory, glory, glory to you O God,

Parent of parents and friend of all friends.

Call us and take us into your care.

That we may see and settle our love in You.

Great Mystery, fill us with wonder,

Come home to our hearts and dwell there.

(Pia Buxton CJ)

 

 

 

A Marist Way of Living

The three Marist ‘Nos’

The three Marist "no's" are essential elements of the Marist life.

 They are:

no to greed

no to pride

no to power.

Poverty, the lack of personal power and the absence of self-worth are not Gospel values, but the desire for money, power and personal aggrandisement can, albeit subtly, enter our lives and stunt us as fully alive human beings.

Just as poverty can cripple, so can excessive wealth.

Similarly no one really likes a bully. Greed, power and pride limit the effectiveness of those who wish to present the Gospel of Jesus.

Marists are invited to follow in Mary's footsteps keeping their eyes fixed on God alone and on the kingdom, resisting the crippling forces of greed, power and pride so as to develop an inner freedom, and in the manner of Mary, build a Christian community which has Mary's face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Blessing

May Mary, honoured in so many places

in great cathedrals and in lowly grass,

may she bless you and keep you.

May the Morning Star shine gently on your face

and the Evening star show you your way home.

May the Star of the Sea guide you

across life’s stormy waters

till you find safe harbour

and peace for your souls at last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This booklet was prepared by the Council for the Marist Way.