September 27, 1846
Father Colin said: “The Society must begin a new Church over again. I do not mean that in a literal sense, that would be blasphemy. But still, in a certain sense, yes, we must begin a new Church. The Society of Mary, like the Church, began with simple, poorly educated men; but since then the Church has developed and encompassed everything. We too must gather together everyone through the Third Order. Heretics alone may not belong to it.”
– The Mayet Memoirs
As if starting again
Colin did not mean that Marists were to construct “another church”, but rather “a church that is other”; not “a different church”, but “a church that is different”. One could say that he envisaged Marists as agents for the Church beginning again, being born again. Recent Popes have spoken about a “new Church.”
“It is a new humanity and a new Church which must be reborn from the maelstrom of our present times.”
– PiusXI 1930
“If we have our eyes fixed on Mary, we will be able to re-constitute in ourselves the line and the structure of the renewed Church.”
– Paul VI 1973
“The Church must be constructed in this present century… For us it is not a question of constructing the Church but of re-constructing it.”
– Paul VI July 14, 1976
“Our times require us to take up the building of the Church, almost psychologically and pastorally, as if starting again.”
John Paul II August 4, 1985
“We must be prepared to leave atrophied schemes and be ready to move to where life is beginning.”
John Paul II September, 1985
No antique drum
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
We cannot revive old factions
We cannot restore old policies
Or follow an antique drum
– T.S.Eliot. Little Gidding
An entirely new civilization has arisen, deeply secularised to the point that the very existence of God and His merciful call is for many people meaningless and irrelevant. The message of the Father must be preached again in a new language, in terms of a new culture. The incarnationalmovementof the Church is to start again in this new civilization. She must meet this new world on its own terms. This is how we must read today the call of our Founder: “The Society must begin a new Church over again.”
New missionaries are needed, with a new approach, to manifest the mercy of the Father in such a way that it will be understood….
Jan Snijders, sm
And the Church must be forever building, and always decaying, and always being restored….
– T.S.Eliot – The Rock
As Marists, we must dedicate ourselves to the more important and radical task of transforming the Church into a communion and a people….
Such a Church will demand a different form of leadership,one based not so much on hierarchy as on the ability to create an atmosphere in which people can recognizetheirgiftsandhavethecouragetoofferthem for the task of the Kingdom.
John Jago, sm
In the natural world a loving God has designed each creature for the environment in which it is to live. There are fish that can thrive in the coldest waters and move easily through the most turbulent of rivers. The royal albatross can fly thousands of kilometres over gloomy and solitary oceans. God has designed Marists, too, for their environment, and our environment is a time characterised by unbelief, ignorance, confusion and sinfulness. Our Founder even said we were called to serve the most abandoned and the most profligate of sinners. That is our milieu,that is where we are at home.
– Frank McKay, sm
Where is the anchor?
Although most Western Europeans, if asked, would describe themselves as Christians, even Catholic Christians, they would also have to admit that Western Europe is increasingly secular. What that means is that people have developed the bad habit of dropping their anchor inside the boat of their own earthly resources, rather than outside the boat into the living waters and the rock that is Christ.