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.

Fr David Kennerley sm

In terms of justice, Mary in the midst of the Church is the Marist theme that gives me a focus and direction. What could be worse for a mother than to see her only child condemned by her religious leaders, called to be crucified by so many of her people, and so, executed. But Mary when faced with this cruel injustice doesn't run away from Jerusalem, nor does she cut herself off from the disciples who had abandoned Jesus. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles tells us that shortly after all this happened, Mary in fact reappeared in the very midst of the disciples where she was not simply one of the anonymous women or just one of the brethren, but there she was, named and honored as "Mary, the mother of Jesus", that is, as THE one in fact, who can and did best point to her Son and his kingdom-values.

Mary in the midst of the Church

I remember being amazed to read in Joachim Fernandez's Maristica work "Constitutions Old and New" that our current 1988 numbers include a reference to Justice for the very first time (C.111)*. That wee fact reinforced for me all the more that Justice really is a work for this our age. Surely then, contemplating Mary, and perhaps in particular her post-Calvary choice of where to be, provides us with an outstanding model for 'the doing' of justice in a truly Marian and hence Marist way."

* C.111: They should be attentive to the cry of the poor which makes an urgent and continuous appeal for a conversion of minds and attitudes. They acknowledge that action for justice in an integral part of the proclamation of the Gospel and they strive, therefore, to remedy injustice in economic and social relationships"