Some Reflections onJean-Claude Colin's Vision of 'A Marian Church' with particular reference to the 'Marist Laity'
Written by Marie Berise Nash SM
In this present period of the beginning of the Third Millennium we wish to turn in a special way to her (Mary) the one who in the night of the Advent expectation began to shine like a true Morning Star, for just as this star, together with the dawn precedes the rising of the sun, so Mary from the time of her Immaculate Conception preceded the coming of the Saviour Her presence in the midst of Israel a presence so discreet as to pass almost unnoticed by the eyes of her contemporaries shone very clearly before the Eternal One who had associated the hidden daughter of Zion with the plan of salvation embracing the whole history of humanity. [Pope John Paul II Redemptionis Mater No. 3]
From the outset Colins projects were capable of implementation only by a plurality of branches and an association of lay people with no further boundaries than the mercy and compassion of Mary extends the field of vision to the very limits of the Church itself. the Society of Mary accepts to forget itself, to regard itself as the catalyst of a Christian community whose direction is not in its hands and to bind its fate entirely to that of a people of God still in the course of gestation with all the risks and hopes which were present in the Cenacle on that Pentecost morn. [J. Coste, Allocution to XXIV General Chapter of SM, 1977 (2nd last paragraph)].
Whenever a Marist abandons the stronghold of one who owns the truth and becomes instead defenseless as one who knows he (or she) must disappear in order to allow God to take over then he understands how Mary is present in Colins vision of the Church and its mission. Thanks to her, something stirs in the heart of the apostle, a certain image of the Church emerges which prefigures the Church of the last days. In a sense, yes, the Church begins again, the Church which from its birth at Pentecost is less concerned with lasting forever than with starting again each morning humbly, around the Lords supper with Peter and the Apostles awaiting the coming of the Spirit persevering in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the women. [J. Coste, 'Lecture at Saint Louis de France Castre', 7 February 1984 (concluding words)].