Each year every member of the Province of Meribah sets aside two periods of time for extended prayer and reflection. The first of these periods is during Holy Week. The second period of time is the Summer Renewal Program which serves as the Annual Retreat for each Brother. For the next three weeks each member of the Province will transport themselves for one week to our residence and retreat house in upstate New York, Founder's Hollow.
Silence was the opening theme of our retreat today. It was placed in the context of our celebration of 250 years since the birth of our founder, Blesses William Joseph Chamnad. Our provincial began with this simple sentence, "What Did the Founder Teach Us About How to Pray?"
The thoughts shared were from Brother Stephen Glodek, S.M. , te former provincial of the Marianist Province of the U.S.
"As Brothers, we often are asked: What did Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the founder of the Society of Mary, teach us about how to pray?
In his first "Rule of Life" for the Society of Mary, Father Chaminade defines two characteristic virtues of a religious of Mary: a spirit of prayer and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Simplicity is a hallmark of Father Chaminade's method of prayer. The five key components of his method of prayer are faith, silence, and the importance of the Creed, Mary and practice.
Prayer is an exercise of faith, which takes revealed truth and roots it in the soul of the individual praying.
"The practice of absolute silence is an excellent means of arriving at the constant active presence of God", Father Chaminade said. For him, silence involved the whole person: words, signs, mind, emotions and imagination.
Father Chaminade understood meditation on the Creed as meditation on the whole mystery of Christ. The Creed is an itinerary of Christ from birth to death to resurrection. To pray its truths meditatively is to practice the life of Christ.
The Christ life for Chaminade is rooted in prayer and devotion of Mary. One of the most powerful images of Mary's role in prayer is when she is surrounded by the apostles in the Upper Room awaiting the Holy Spirit. With Mary as our center, we pray as a community, with the community and for the community.
For Chaminade, the goal of all prayer is to be transformed into Christ. Marianist prayer is about an ever-deepening resemblance to Jesus Christ, Son of God become Son of Mary for the salvation of all.
So, what better counsel could Marianists give you than to take time, be silent and see what the Scriptures tell you about how to be closer to God?"