The Vocation of a Marist involves a response to four calls:
1. The Call of Christ: This a responsibility for any Christian, of course. To follow the call of Christ: 'Follow me, according to your position in life.' All Christians, then, need to reflect constantly and prayerfully on the Scriptures, since its through the Scriptures that Christ speaks most clearly to us.
2. The Call of the Church: No Christian can live in isolation; he cannot build his own world of prayer. and think that Christianity is a purely personal matter between Christ and himself. Every Christian must he alive to the needs of the Church; must be willing to move with the Church. And he must be able to respond to the call of the Church of TODAY. To live with the Church of the past, or to he with a non-existent Church of the future is not to be faithful to the Church.
3. The Call of the Founder: For a Marist this is extra to his Christian calling. To be a Marist is to understand the Gospel according to the insights of the Founder of the Society of Mary. Father Colin (and the other founders) urges us to live the Gospel in the was Mary did; she, the first and most perfect of believers, gives us a good model. Hiddenness and service were key points in her life. as they are in the life of any Marist. Marists challenge themselves to live the Gospel according to the model of Mary as understood by the insights of the Founder.
4. The Call of modern humanity: A sense of the needs of man leads Marists to respond to the call of modern man, and to understand what those needs arc. To be deaf to those needs, or to give yesterday's answers to today's problems, are both ways of being insensitive to the needs of modern man. Contemplating Mary in the mystery of Nazareth gives us some clue to a greater understanding of our obligation here. The greatest problem facing people before Christ was the problem of God —always 'out there' beyond their reach, distant, and difficult to know. In Christ, the God-problem has been solved. In Christ we see God. At some moment of time, men have seen, heard, touched the Incarnation of God. The Word of God has become flesh. And Mary's YES has reduced God to terms the world can understand. Mary gave flesh to the Word.
Today Christ is hidden and unknown to many. People need to see something of Christ, and they look to Christians to satisfy that need. The goal set by each Marist is that he will give flesh to the Word in our day, to make Christ come alive for people, to 'transmit the message in terms the world can understand.'
For Marists who are priests, this is an important mystery to contemplate. Perhaps. as Pope Paul says, 'our words leave modern man indifferent.' Maybe we're talking about God but its the dry bones we give, and no flesh to our words. A cartoon recently pinpointed the problem: one pries has just finished his sermon and says to the other priest: 'I talked to them like it was, and they just yawned like it wasn't!'
For Marists who are not priests, the same lesson applies: we must speak — in our words or in our lives — of God in terms the world can understand And this will nean that Marists must be 'in touch' with the needs of modern man. Mary, at the Incarnation teaches us the lesson of prayer. She gave flesh to the Word through her 'Yes- to God; her total openness and response to God in prayer. A Marist who doesn't pray is a contradiction on terms.
'Mary's 'YES' is for all Christians a lesson and example of obedience to the will of the Father, which is the way and means of one's own sanctification.' (Pope Paul PI, Marialis Cultus. No. 20