Like Mary, we also have said “yes,” first of all in our Baptism, then in our religious profession, capped by the vow of stability. I was struck recently by a letter I received from a member of the Province. He had been asked to do an important and challenging job within the Province. In accepting, he said, “this is how I understand my religious profession and the vow of stability.” This availability, this yes-saying, this freedom to give oneself away . . . much good food for thought and prayer during this retreat. I will leave a copy of a very fine article, dated now but excellent nonetheless, by Charles Davis. It is entitled “Empty and Poor for Christ.” Maybe you’ll find it helpful for your prayer today.
Perhaps no biblical image expresses most deeply the charism and gift of the Marianist life as the Calvary scene in the Gospel of John. The original sculpture at the General Administration in Rome has been reproduced in so many ways and has found its way into the iconography of most Marianist units. It represents what Father Johann Roten, SM, calls “our deep Marianist memory.” As you know, the mother of Jesus makes just two appearances in this Gospel: at Cana in chapter 2 and at the foot of the cross in chapter 19. The hour that was anticipated with the superabundance of wine at the wedding finds full and final expression as Jesus completes his mission from the throne of the cross.
[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.]