Saturday, July 13, 2024

Woman, Mother and Disciple

March 7, 2010 by  
Filed under 3. Life force, A Certain Way

The Society of Mary can be called both “least Marian: and “most Marian” because its aim is to reflect the life of Mary, the first disciple of Jesus. It can be said to be “most Marian” because it models itself on Mary. But the very fact that Mary was a disciple of Jesus meant that the focus of her attention was off herself and on Jesus.

Marists, too, will find that their focus of attention is off Mary and on Jesus – as Mary’s was. In this sense the Marist congregation can be said to be “least Marian”.

Although Scripture says very little about Mary, we do know that she was there in the early church, and we know that she was there as woman and as mother; and that already tells us a good deal.

Colin’s line of thinking adds something more: Mary was the perfect disciple of the Lord, whose one thought was the extension and development of the Church, and whose attitude was that of a hidden believer.

In the course of the years, Mayet noted in his Memoirs the main lines of Colin’s thinking on Mary’s place in the church. And by reflecting on these ideas, we can learn a lot not only about Mary’s place in the Church, but also about Marists’ relationship with her, and the sort of “new Church” they are called to begin.

In Chapter 8 of his Gospel, Luke outlines Jesus’ description of the perfect disciple.

The perfect disciple is the one who has a noble and generous heart, who hears the Word and take it to heart, and yields a harvest through perseverance. In fact, Luke also applies this description of the perfect disciple to Mary. In detail, he describes Mary as: one who hears the word of God and accepts it wholeheartedly (1:38): one who believes that what she had heard will be fulfilled (1:42,45): one who cherishes what she has been told and ponders it (2: 19-51): one who hears the word of God, keeps it, and puts it into practice (8: 19-21 11:28): one who is with the disciples in the community, praying continuously, receiving the Holy Spirit, and witnessing to the Resurrection (Acts 1:14).

And so, we learn a good deal about Mary when we reflect on her presence in the church as woman, as mother, and as disciple.

As disciple, Mary listened for the Word, pondered it, searched its meaning for her life, and then acted on it. By living this way of live, Marists will help a “disciple Church” to emerge: a church which listens to, submits to, and acts on the Word that has been proclaimed. It will be a church whose members try to discover the Gospel together and live it as Mary did.

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