Marist Contemplative Living

JC Colin - Statue - General House
We continue, for the third month, with words from 'A Founder Speaks' : Jean-Claude Colin sm:   141:4 'Let those who are burning to go out there [Oceania] remember it well. They must not count on themselves, but solely on grace, on prayer, on the spirit of prayer. 141:5Messieurs, without that spirit of prayer we shall not achieve anything anywhere, either on the foreign missions, on the home missions, or in schools. The spirit of prayer softens hard hearts, brings graces, brings enlightenment. Often it will suggest a word, a single word, which goes right to the heart. ... Certainly, we cannot always be on our knees with our hands joined; that indeed is not our vocation. Bu...
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New Year - signs of Hope

Mary - Mother of Hope
1.  Unpatented Shot Dubbed 'The World's Covid-19 Vaccine' Wins Emergency Approval in India "This announcement is an important first step in vaccinating the world and halting the pandemic," said Dr. Peter Hotez, a U.S.-based vaccine scientist. Jake Johnson     - Common Dreams   December 28, 2021 An unpatented Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, and the pharmaceutical firm Biological E. Limited received emergency-use authorization from Indian regulators on Tuesday—news that the jab's creators hailed as a potential turning point in the push to broaden global vaccine access. "Our Texas Children's Center does ...
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Marist Contemplative Living

Advent - Hope and Promise
This month's blog builds on last month's, where we ponder our Founder's own words on Contemplative Living.  All quotes are from "A Founder Speaks": 39:19 'Keep well in mind that you must direct your house by prayer. That is very important. Everything by prayer. 47:2 'When you want to obtain something, you do the same [procession] in Heaven, making a round and passing all the saints in review. I make a halt before the holy patriarchs, the holy apostles, the prophets, the martyrs, the bishops, the holy women, the virgins, the confessors, and the holy innocents – yes, especially the holy innocents. I am very fond of turning to them; I pray to them with special affection. They are...
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Aboriginal Spirituality

Art - Australian Aboriginal Peoples
Fr Paul Sullivan sm, Director of Marist Mission Centre, has worked for many years with the Indigenous People of Australia.  He recently gave some input to our Marist Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue. Paul began by quoting the work of W.E.H. "Bill" Stanner CMG, an Australian anthropologist who worked extensively with Indigenous Australians. Stanner quotes an Aboriginal elder as saying: "White man got no Dreaming - Him go another way"; and he quotes Captain Cook's Journal: "they do not have the things that we have for contentment, for example …. …… and ………… yet they have contentment' …..'what we need for contentment – they regard as superfluities'. Stanner claims that Abo...
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Life - let go, or take away?

Kevin Bates sm, Australian Marist, reflects on Euthanasia 'Voluntary Assisted Dying' and Palliative Care:   Some time ago, "A Current Affair" ran a poignant piece telling the story of Gabe Watkin, a Queensland woman suffering the effects of Motor Neuron Disease. She had been pleading with Queensland Health for access to a surgical procedure that will likely extend her life. At the time of the broadcast, Queensland Health's Ethics Committee had kept Gabe and her family waiting twelve months before declining her access to the tracheotomy she was seeking. All Gabe wanted as she said herself was the right to live. The Queensland Government at the same time was preparing its Right to Di...
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Marist Contemplative Living

God needs Dry Wood
Fr Frank Bird sm, waiting to return to NZ, writes from Ranong, Thailand:  God needs dry wood As a Marist venturing down the contemplative tradition, I have been deeply struck by an image used by St John of the Cross: God needs dry wood. I think John of the Cross means that the fire of God's love needs to be physically warm and visibly bright, so it can be a real experience for others. This image has captured my imagination ever since the Marist Renewal experience at Le Neyliere in 2017, and the past few years while here in the Marist Mission in Ranong, Thailand. I think the Church, Mary, the Society of Mary - also needs me to be dry wood. I think contemplative prayer and practice i...
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Mary - support of the Church

Marist - support the Church
To support the Church and the Pope is at the heart of our Identity as Marists. Our founder, Jean Claude Colin, in the founding days of the Society of Mary, understood Mary to have said 'I supported the Church at its birth; I shall do so again at the end of time' [C.2]. Following in the footsteps of those who began the Marist Project, we are determined to fulfil Mary's desire to be 'a support for the Church in these uncertain times' [C.5].We are called to do this with all our strength [C.6]. Fortunately for us Pope Francis is a Prophet as well as an Administrator, and so we find it a joy and a strength to support and defend him, and to encourage his vision and action to flourish. A way o...
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Christian-Muslim Marriage

Christian-Muslim Marriage - Fr Damien
In a recent Inter-Religious Dialogue on-line Meeting we listened to Fr Damien Diouf sm [Senegal – London], share on his experience of preparing engaged couples, one party Christian, the other Muslim, for marriage. Damien shared that his own parents were Christian, then, when his father died his mother married again – this time to a Muslim, from whom Damien now has 4 siblings. So he has a solid personal experience to work with inter-faith relationships. It is important, he says, to start from human experience: how did the couple meet? How did their relationship grow? How do they experience the Mystery of Love? On this last question, he says, he is grateful for the papal document Amoris L...
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Del Rio - a Can of Worms

Haitians at Del Rio - Texan Border
Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes from Texaa: "DEL RIO" is a Texan town of some 35,000 people some 230 kilometers west of San Antonio on the Rio Grande River with an international bridge connecting with the town of Acuña (215,00 Pop) on the Mexican side. It is a quiet out of the way connection with the two countries and with very reduced border patrol facilities. The first photo below shows Haitians and Central Americans at Del Rio.  The  second shows them camped under the International Bridge at Del Rio. The stretch of border near Del Rio became the second busiest Border Patrol sector this year with nearly 215,000 arrests out of 1.47 million across the entire border s...
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Bearing Witness - Peace by Piece

The Author in Actiion
'Fratelli Tutti" was anticipated twenty-six years ago by Brendan Murphy, teacher of history at Marist School Atlanta, when he became aware of the need to engage the whole person in a humanizing endeavor. Since then he has been engaged in the development of three such programs at the School: "Peace by Piece" – engaging students and teachers from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Faiths: "Bearing Witness" – engaging students and teachers from the Christian and Jewish Faiths, and "Share the Journey" – engaging students and teachers in solidarity with migrants and refugees. Brendan is a member of the Marist Commission for Inter-religious dialogue, and some weeks ago, when sharing his journey wit...
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Buddhist Retreat - a Marist's experience

Marist Contemplative Living
Kevin Duffy sm, well-known Marist, currently based in England, writes: I was invited to write something for this JPIC Blog, something personal, saying something, if I felt inclined, about Buddhism. Here goes. I had the interesting experience of attending yoga lessons from a fellow Marist, Bernard Rérolle, in The Forum in Paris, and although I didn't take up his kind offer of instruction in Zen Buddhism, I did subsequently have some experience of another variety of Buddhism - in  the form of Vipassana Retreats. Benefits were calmness, focus, concentration, but I can't report any spiritual benefit in a more particular sense. This wasn't interreligious dialogue, but a typical Wes...
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Consolation for Children with Special Needs

Our Lady of Compassion Care Centre
Mrs Chwefung Anastasia Sama writes from the Our Lady of Consolation Care Centre for Children with Special Needs, a Marist Project in Bambili, Cameroon:  PURPOSE / OBJECTIVES Our Lady of Consolation Center Bambili is a day care center for children with special needs - existing now for close to 14 years and it is being run by the Marist Fathers. It has grown and it is still growing, in the objective to trained and interact with children living with disabilities (and also with their families). This interaction involves familiarizing both children their families with the concern center and civil authorities involved in their social interaction. To be a child of disability is a ser...
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Code Red for our Planet Home

Code-Red-for-our-Planet-Home
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change has released its latest report. This Sixth Assessment Report is a weighty document at nearly 4000 pages and the science is described as robust. It has been tagged "code red" because human activity is changing our climate in unprecedented ways. A key word for the whole report, according to  Will Steffen  an Australian climate systems scientist, is "urgency". We have this current decade to act and to do so decisively. To shift all human activity and the global economy to a low-carbon footing is the task before us. There can be no new coal, gas or oil developments and existing fossil fuel extraction has to be phased out. 2030 is a key d...
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Marist Contemplative Living

The Assumption of Mary
This month's reflection on Marist Contemplative Living comes from David Kennerley sm, former Provincial of Aotearoa - New Zealand, "Marist spirituality almost has too many 'core' themes. We have the three founding, formation moments of Fourviere, Cerdon, Bugey and then of course there are the classic Colinian-life themes of Hidden & Unknown, Nazareth, One in Mind and Heart, Perseverance of the Just and the Conversion of Sinners, Instruments of Mercy etc. For me, however, Mary in the midst of the Church is in a sense the sun in our spiritual galaxy, THE theme around which all the others revolve and thereby receive their own particular light and significance as well. In term...
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The Pandemic & the People of God

The Pandemic & The People of God
Fr Gerald Arbuckle sm, is about to publish his latest book:    The Pandemic and the People of God: Cultural Impacts and Pastoral Responses.  He provides us with this summary overview:  The world is grappling with the most severe health, economic and political emergency since the Second World War as a consequence of covid-19 disease. It has left so many people in so many nations traumatised. An untold number of people have died. The enduring human suffering especially among society's most vulnerable - the poor and elderly – is incalculable. It is estimated that the pandemic could cast 490 million in 70 countries into extreme poverty, reversing almost a decade of ...
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A Synodal Church

Pope Francis' Call for a Synodal Church
We Marists SM are committed to having an International 'Omnes Gentes' community in Paramatta. Covid has slowed us down, and while we are waiting it is worthwhile to ponder on a summary reflection of the Bishop of Paramatta, +Vincent Long OFM Conv, in his recent Helder Camara lecture. "My hope for the [Australian] Plenary Council"  What follows are 'tastes' of what he has to say under each heading:  Plenary Council: Abundance of goodwill or the last throw of the dice? With a few months to the first session of the long-awaited Plenary Council, we are finally headed down the home stretch. The initial phase of listening drew nearly 220,000 people across Australia and 17,500 i...
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Marist Contemplative Living

The Wedding Feast - Cana
In Irish mythology there is a well-known exchange between the mythical king, Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and some of his warriors. Fionn is asking them which is the most beautiful music of all. One speaks of the clashing of spear on shield, another of the baying of the hounds as they move in on a cornered stag. They turn to Fionn, and ask his view. "The music of what happens" is his reply. For me, this could be a key to contemplative living, for Marists, as for anyone else. It came to mind at a recent community reflection on a short text by Simone Pacot, entitled Choisir de vivre le present: "to desire the present is a marvelous way of living God's will". It has echoes of the old monastic adage: age...
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Share the Journey - Marists, Migrants & Refugees

Atlanta-Marist Students Share the Journey
Marist Campus Minister Bernadette Naro writes from Atlanta, Georgia, USA: " In May this Year we again joined Share the Journey Pilgrimage during which we walked in solidarity with immigrants and refugees. I am happy to report that we had over 135 participants from across the Atlanta community. Four other area schools joined us as well, as did Catholic Charities Refugee Services office, and two agencies that serve immigrants in detention, Casa Alterna and El Refugio. Moira Ujda, a newly graduated Marist alumna, was a participant and has this to say:  "Community has always been important to Share the Journey. Especially after the isolation of this past year, it was powerful...
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Interreligious Dialogue - A Marist's Journey

Gerard Hall with 'Aunty' Joan Hendricks, Raimon Panikkar, & Francis D'Sa
Australian Marist, Gerard Hall sm, recently presented his Journey in Interreligious Dialogue to our Marist IRD Commission.     His full presentation can be found here:  This blog begins at the end, where Gerard writes his SUMMARY STATEMENT I feel in many ways that my ecumenical and interreligious journey is just beginning if for no other reason than that my knowledge of other religious traditions is so minimal. Even though I was drawn to Panikkar's inter- & intra-religious dialogue with Hinduism & Buddhism and then, through circumstance, found myself involved in dialogue with Islam, in many ways, like Panikkar, I have been increasingly focused on th...
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Contemplation - A Personal Reflection

Mary-Presence-Tasting God
Michael Whelan SM, Australian Marist writes:  "In the seminary – 1965-1972 – my spiritual life was nurtured by the old manuals. In particular, the old meditation books written by Jesuits outlining a very limited way of "discursive meditation". I found it very frustrating. After six or seven years I told my spiritual director that I thought I was being called to "a deeper form of prayer". He smiled and said he did not think so, that I should persevere. Soon after ordination in May 1972 – courtesy of Philip Callaghan SM – I joined a charismatic prayer group. I found myself drawn into a contemplative style of prayer that was liberating. The rational mind did not have to keep working and th...
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