Identification with Mary
The key to understanding a Marist’s unique relationship with Mary is not found in any particular devotion or act of piety, even though these are important. The relationship between Mary and a Marist exists at a much deeper and more profound level. Marists identify with Mary. This reality is summed up for Marists by Jean Claude Colin in the following way: “So they must think as Mary, judge as Mary, feel and act as Mary in all things…”
Aspects of the Spirit of the Society of Mary
“Think as Mary, judge as Mary, feel and act as Mary in all things”.
In order to be effective evangelisers, Marists take Mary as their model in their way of living. They gradually think, judge, feel and act in a new way – the way of Mary. It is an approach to life.
“Hidden and Unknown in the world”
This phrase has to do with the manner in which Marists live their lives in order to bring the women and men of their time to Christ. Mary was present in the early Christian community at Jerusalem, but her presence was a quiet, unassuming one. Marists try to have the same presence. To pattern oneself on Mary in this way is not to hide away but to be engaged fully in life but in a simple, gentle, humble way.
“Instruments of Divine Mercy”
The love of God for us in Christ is at the very centre of the Christian message. When Marists are asked to become “instruments of divine mercy” they are being asked to portray this feature of God and they are to help build a Church which is perceived, not in terms of power, planning, control, administration and competitiveness, but rather in terms of community, compassion, simplicity, mercy and fellowship. For this reason, Marists are to embrace and be welcoming to all, to the exclusion of no one, and to have an open heart to all.