Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Marianist Stability

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Our vow of stability expresses our alliance, our covenant, our love for Mary. With her as mother, we become brothers of Jesus whose Spirit fills us and invites us to live a life of superabundance. We might spend some time today, speaking with Mary, asking her to form us more into the likeness of Jesus. We might beg the Lord to become such a deep and loving part of our lives that the abundant life Jesus promised might be real and tangible—the grounding for us.

For Father Chaminade, the image of the Holy Family held special pride of place as a model for the Marianist Community. The unity and intimacy, the centrality of Jesus, the complementarity of roles all reflected something of his hope for our life together. Today, however, perhaps a more compelling image is that of the Apostles with Mary, awaiting the gift of the Spirit in the Cenacle. It captures something of the apostolic dynamism that should characterize our communities. At the end of Luke’s Gospel, when Jesus withdraws from the disciples and is taken up to heaven, he promises to return and tells them to stay in Jerusalem until the gift of the Spirit is given. What kind of community is this: savoring the presence of the risen Jesus for 40 days, assured of Jesus’ return, hopeful that what is coming is more than they can hope for, and Mary there in their midst? Talk about a vibrant community! Perhaps they spent those days also reflecting upon their giftedness and looking with respect and appreciation on the giftedness of each of the other members of that tiny apostolic group. And then, of course, the explosion of Pentecost in wind and fire sends them out with zeal and with apostolic boldness. Our vow of stability emphasizes the essentially communitarian dimension of the Marianist charism.

[Editor’s Note: Father Martin Solma, SM, the Provincial for the Society of Mary’s Province of the United States, delivered the following talk as part of the 2011 summer retreat series for the Province.]