Monday, September 5, 2016

Mary, Queen of Apostles

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Today as Marianists we remember Mary as Queen of Apostles. While private vows were made in 1817. On this day in 1818 the first Marianists, Brothers and priests, publically professed vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

Blessed Chaminade wrote, "Among the many congregations that sprang into existence in succeeding ages and in various parts of the world, some were called to one particular form of work, some to another. And last of all, we believe that we too have been called by Mary herself, to assist her with all our might in the struggle against the great heresy of our times. To this end, we have taken for our mottos, as declared our Constitutions, these words of the Blessed Virgin to the attendant at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). We are convinced that our particular mission, despite our weakness, is to perform all the works of zeal and of mercy for the welfare of our neighbor. It is for this reason that, under the general title of teaching Christian morals, we employ all the means at our disposal for preserving our neighbors from the contagion of evil, and of restoring those who have fallen under its sway.

Also, Pope Benedict XV, on the occasion of the first centenary of the Society of Mary, wrote to Very Rev. Father Hiss, Superior General of the Society, a letter which is a kind of approbation of Father Chaminade’s views on the Marian apostolate:

It is not without divine guidance that the Reverend Chaminade went into exile to Saragossa. There, visiting the shrine of our august Sovereign, he understood the plan of divine mercy to lead his country back to Jesus through Mary. Sensing, without a shadow of doubt, that an important role had been reserved for him in this apostolate, he prepared himself for that mission by meditation and prayer at the feet of the august image. It is, in fact, not an empty praise that we give to Mary by this title of Queen of Apostles. Just as she helped the apostles, educators of the newborn church, by her support and counsels, so we must also affirm that she assists at all times the heirs of the apostolic office who seek to either prepare victories or to repair disasters in the adult Church.

Blessed Chaminade identified today’s Gospel passage as the moment of our birth as Marianists. We identify ourselves as the beloved disciple who stands at the foot of the cross to hear the dying request of Jesus: to take care of Mary and for her to take care of us.

What this implies for us is that we have a big responsibility: to take into our hearts all that Mary stands for—total trust in the Lord, a model of faith, openness to the mysteries of our vocation wherever that might lead—and sharing that with others.