This book is pure gold! A collection of nine stories of Marist lives, lived in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
What remains with me after reading these brief stories is the zest these men show for gospel living, vitality and focused passion.
I was struck by the frequent mention of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as someone very real t o them.
‘We try to embody Mary’s commitment to God.’
This seems counter cultural for 21st century males in New Zealand.
I was inspired by their awareness of the difference prayer makes to everyday living.
‘When I am feeling the burden of it all, prayer gets me through.’ I was heartened by their acknowledgement of the need for community.
‘Of course, you have to work at living in community and none of us is perfect.’
There is a definite awareness of the felt need for good friendships and for authentic community living.
There is realism and dynamism in these lives and a very welcome honesty as they each tell of their struggles and joys in trying to live a transparent, accessible life as vowed men within the challenges and calls of our society.
These stories paint a picture of life lived not at the centre of everything but on the edges. That is the place to be.
I met these Marist priests and brothers in boats, in schools, in crisis intervention and mentoring, among M%u0101ori, in youth ministry, in music, in parish communities and in adult formation.
The book is short and easy to read. Beautiful photographs complement the stories.
I warmly recommend this book to anyone who longs to be inspired in their following of Jesus or who is simply seeking meaning and purpose in life. I especially recommend it to anyone considering religious life as a vocation.
Jean Claude Colin, the founder of the Society of Mary, would be proud of such men who are making a difference to lives in our own time.
See below for details of A Liberating Life.