A Lay Marianist is one who KNOWS, COMMITS TO, and LIVES the Marianist Charism.
To KNOW means that the Lay Marianist has learned the basics of Marianist history and charism. This formation includes information about the founders and the common elements of the Marianist charism and spirituality. The specific style and length of this formation may vary from country to country as long as it is consistent with our international documents which can be found at clm-mlc.org. Usually this process covers a period of time from six months to several years. The formation may include formal classes, periodic talks by experienced Marianists (SM, FMI, AM, or Lay), reading resource material, and active involvement in a Marianist Lay Community. The National Chairperson, in consultation with the Regional Representative, is responsible for the process in each country.
To COMMIT means that after initial formation, the individual makes an explicit commitment to accept the Marianist charism to guide their life. To be a Lay Marianist is not a private commitment but should be shared with others. Lay Marianists are recognized by the International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities (IO-MLC) through the National Responsible or their delegate. Commitments are usually renewed annually.
To LIVE as a Lay Marianist means that commitment is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing lifestyle in which one continues to grow in understanding one’s vocation and participation in community life.
MARIANIST CHARISM includes the pillars of:
- Faith – Flowing from one’s baptismal promise, a Lay Marianist embraces the vocation to follow Christ.
- Community – Marianists live our faith within the context of our relationships with other people. Generally this is done through participation in a local community. When this is not possible, virtual (cyber) communities can fill this need or the individual may propose to honor the value of community through creating community among those who are available in his or her locale. Our communities are inclusive and welcome all. We are characterized by a discipleship of equals.
- Mission – Marianists are always called to make our Church and our world a better place. We do not exist only for our own well-being but to respond to those in need both near and far. As a prophetic witness to our faith we seek to reach out to all without regard to status or hierarchy.
- Mary – All of our work is done in the spirit of Mary bringing Christ to the world. We seek to have Mary’s Magnificat spirit of humility and justice permeate our being.
In order to carry out our vocation as Lay Marianists, it is helpful to have practices that unite us and give form to our commitment. These are often called a “Plan of Life” or “Rule of Life” or “Guide to Life” and include such things as
- Regularly attending community gatherings
- A personal and communal prayer life
- Uniting in prayer through the 3:00 O’clock Prayer
- Supporting the local, national, and international organization
- Connecting with other branches of the Marianist Family
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