“Marist” is the adjective that comes from the name “Mary.” It describes Mary, so it means, quite simply “like Mary.”
The “Mary” that we speak of in “being Marist,” is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Therefore, “being Marist” means being like Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
How does this translate into our daily lives? Professed Marists, that is those members of the Society of Mary, believe that “being Marist” is a way of living the Gospel. Mary was essentially the first disciple of her own Son, Jesus. Everything we read about her in the Gospels points to the fact that she lived totally and completely for her Son. She is referred to so often as “the mother of Jesus,” and it becomes quite clear that her whole identity is taken from her Son. She exists for her Son.
As Christians, we commit ourselves to living the Gospel of Christ. As Marists, we commit ourselves to living the Gospel of Christ IN THE WAY OF MARY, HIS MOTHER.
What is the “way of Mary?” In the Gospel we see Mary as a woman who cooperated with God, a woman of strength and determination, a woman of humility and honesty, a woman of compassion and hospitality, a woman whose primary concern lay outside of herself. Her whole life was self-effacing, pointing instead to her Son. We could say she was like a lens through which her Son was magnified.
For us then, being Marist is very similar. It is not something passive. “Being like Mary” is a conscious, proactive, deliberate, committed decision to try and live in a particular way. We are like signposts pointing to Christ. The whole point of a signpost is that it does not draw attention to itself --- it rather points the way in a clear and bold fashion. The essence of being Marist then, is that it is not what people think of us, but what they think of Jesus Christ because of us.