By Gracious Choice

To be a Marist is to have a sense of being chosen and called by Mary. Marists feel themselves called to be not only
followers of Christ (as all Christians are) but also called by Mary to bear her name and share in her concern for the
Church, the world, and the whole human race. This grace is an invitation to participate in her spirit and in her desire to see
the Gospel of Jesus take root in our contemporary world. The unity of all Marists lies in the name and spirit of Mary
which she has bestowed on them, they are convinced, as pure grace, by a "gracious choice".

Support of the Church

According to the Acts of the Apostles, Mary was present at Pentecost, the birth of the Church, and according to Marist
insight, she was its support. One of the ways she wishes to be present in the Church and in the world again is through a
family of believers who live her spirit and do her work of gathering the world to her Son and who, touched by God's
mercy, become truly one, one in mind and heart. This family is a group of people whose task is to support the communion
of the Church as it comes into being today in the same way that Mary supported it at the beginning. Today there are so
many places where the Church is being born or reborn, emerging or re-emerging, places in the center or at the edges
where people search for a community in which they can hear the Good News proclaimed to them

Instruments of Divine Mercy

The love of God for all is at the very center of
the Christian message. Marists see Mary as
Mother of mercy who has a heart for humanity,
especially those who suffer greatly or who are
lost or excluded. Marists receive the mercy of
God and in turn want to be instruments of mercy
to others. When Marists are asked to become
"instruments of divine mercy", they are
challenged to portray the merciful face of God
and to build a Church which is perceived not in
terms of power, control, or competition, but
rather in terms of community, compassion,
simplicity and, above all, mercy. For this reason
Marists are to welcome and embrace all, to the
exclusion of no-one, and to have an open heart
for all.

Hidden and Unknowm

Mary exemplifies the way in which Marists live their lives in order to bring the men and women of their time to Christ.
Mary was present in the early Christian community at Jerusalem, but her presence was quiet and unassuming. She was
most effective, yet she was not much spoken about. Marists follow Mary in the way they evangelize in order to reach the
people of their time with the love of God. They take a low-profile approach, are not pushy, but have great respect for
people and their weaknesses. Marists try to avoid anything that would make it more difficult for people to know Christ,
and anything which is flamboyant or makes a big show. To pattern oneself on Mary in this way is not to hide away. It is to
be fully engaged in life but in a simple, gentle, humble way, doing a great deal of good for others.

Tasting God

From their own experience the first Marists believed that once a person had "tasted God" everything else would fall into
place. This "tasting God" in prayer is to be an inner experience even in the busiest moments of a Marist's life. Through that
experience we develop a willingness to put all our trust in God alone. In our many activities and concerns we trust more in
God than in ourselves. This gives us purity of heart. Whatever a Marist's situation in life, he or she will be a prayerful
person. This does not mean spending a great deal of time in prayer, but rather living in the presence of God, having deep
faith in the love of God, and interceding for the world. A Marist is concerned particularly with those who are lost and
seem to be far from God, and seeks to point them to Christ in the gentle way of Mary. There are a thousand ways of
praying and caring for people. What is essential for the Marist is to be prayerful and apostolic like Mary.

To Think, Feel, Judge, & Act

In order to be effective evangelizers, Marists take Mary as their model. They should think, judge, feel, and act in a new
way--the way of Mary. This is a new approach to life. Acquiring it is the work of the Holy Spirit and is a life-long
process. It involves a deep relationship with Mary as a living person. In no way, however, is Mary the chief focus. Neither
is the emphasis on particular devotions to Mary nor on giving honor to her in very public ways, but rather living like Mary
with the faith and attitudes she had--in a profound sense, to make Mary present today.

The Work of Mary

Today is a time of great change, and Mary has a special interest in bringing the women and men of our time into contact
with Jesus Christ, her Son. Marists share this effective concern of Mary, and are drawn into her family to work on her
behalf. The term "the work of Mary" covers the whole breadth of the Society of Mary, inclusive of all its branches. It also
denotes that the conditions are not set by the Marists themselves but by Mary. It is her work, done on her terms. Marists
have this missionary spirit which at heart is open to all people. It excludes nobody but rather has a sense of urgency to see
a brotherhood and sisterhood of all united in Christ.
Marist Spirituality: An Overview

S. M.
A Tree with Several Branches

The Society of Mary is a "tree with several
branches". It was originally envisaged as a multi-
branched congregation, a vast enterprise
embracing all kinds of people: lay people as well
as religious, brothers, sisters, and priests, all
working for the same goal. This image captured
the imagination of the first Marists, and it
continues to do so today.

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