Web Content Display Web Content Display

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Be Like Mary

Bro. Brian Poulin

April 2, 2022 – Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent  


Although vocation ministry is my official full-time responsibility with the Marist Brothers, I share with other Marists a wider concern for our overall evangelization efforts. How do we invite people into a healing encounter with Christ, if the Church that is meant to help facilitate such encounters sometimes possesses a culture just as toxic as so many secular institutions? Catholic voices of intolerance and condemnation are amplified while those Catholics promoting inclusion and unconditional compassion are too often viewed with suspicion, as if we somehow give less faithful witness to the Christ who famously and scandalously welcomed all manner of sinners and outcasts into his midst.

I’ve spent a lot of time in recent weeks talking with groups of students about the origins of the Society of Mary. The first Marists were responding to a world in which too many people had been alienated from Church, both by social turmoil and also by an ecclesial culture that was rigid and punitive. The founding Marist inspiration was that the same Mary who had once brought Jesus to the world could help bring the world back to Jesus through her example of absolute love, bold tenderness, gentle strength, and determined mercy. Marists soon discerned that to truly present Mary as a pathway to Jesus, we must seek to think, feel, judge, and act as she did.

St. Marcellin Champagnat understood this implicitly, teaching the first Marist Brothers that “to educate children, you must first love them, and love them all equally,” both the good, and the “not yet good.” Acting in love does not guarantee we will avoid wrongdoing, but acting in unloving ways indeed guarantees that we will do harm. If we’re bound to make mistakes regardless, isn’t it preferable to make mistakes that we can at least feel good about?

Much is made of the archetypal love of a mother that persists in spite of whatever any child of hers has done. Such love abhors exclusion and refuses to accept unnecessary suffering. It mystifies me that so many Catholics can demonstrate ardent devotion to Mary while emphasizing only those qualities of hers that suit their purposes: obedience, humility, and faith.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Presenting Mary as an example to follow rather than simply a statue for a pedestal can encourage us to reach out to the margins and make the peripheries the center. Mary calls us to a kinder and bolder way of following Jesus, one that may at times be misunderstood by secular or religious authorities. We remember that Jesus himself was targeted by such figures in his own time.

It’s very fashionable and convenient for those worried about declining Church affiliation to blame the effects of the larger culture. A more honest approach would be to ask if the Church’s failure to attract people has more to do with it straying from Jesus’ teaching and thereby making itself unattractive.

A Church with a Marian heart is one that desires to welcome all people and one that more people will feel drawn to.

All to Jesus through Mary!




This month’s ‘ear candy’ is a song about finding comfort throughout life’s ups and downs—something the faith provides for many. If only our Church was more consistently willing to be a shelter for all. The ‘brain food’ is an opinion article actually published for Mother’s Day two years ago that describes different ways that Mary has been viewed over time.


Ear Candy: “Catch & Release” by Matt Simons (Deepend Remix)

Brain Food: “Mary: Our Often Reimagined, Always Radical, Mother” by Kaya Oakes


Come back on the first Saturday of next month for a new post!


Previous Posts:


March 5 – Unbound

Feb 5 – Glitch

Jan 8 – Making It Real


Dec 4 – Reason for Hope

Nov 6 – Unspeakable Love

Oct 2 – God of the Always

Sep 4 – Time Unchained

Aug 7 – Pray for Us

Jul 3 – Real Presence

Jun 5 – Bag of Squirrels

May 1 – Brothers

Apr 3 – Plan B

Mar 6 – Times 40

Feb 6 – Testimony

Jan 2 – Unconditional


Dec 5 – Gestation

Nov 7 – Where Hope Lives

Oct 3 – Enough

Sep 5 – Assembly Required

Aug 1 – Stumped

July 4 – Bitter and Sweet

June 6 – Fire

May 30 – Brother’s Keeper

May 23 – Remote

May 16 – Getting By

Apr. 25 – Thank God It’s Saturday

Apr. 18 – Joseph’s Fiat

Apr. 11 – Bells & Sirens

Apr. 4 – Adaptation

Mar. 28 – Guest Column

Mar. 21 – Moving Forward

Mar. 14 – Reality Check

Mar. 7 – Soar

Feb. 29 – Hiking Lessons

Feb. 22 – Love in the Desert

Feb. 15 – Beautiful Life

Feb. 8 – Bad Science

Feb. 1 – All Shall Be Well

Jan. 25 – Let Somebody Love You

Jan. 18 – Extraordinary Time

Jan. 11 – L’Chaim!

Jan. 4 – Decisive


Dec. 28 – Can’t Alone

Dec. 21 – Unexpected Gifts

Dec. 14 – No Room

Dec. 7 – End of the World

Nov. 30 – Elective Unpleasantness

Nov. 23 – Always Greater

Nov. 16 – Coloring Book

Nov. 9 – Justice and Mercy

Nov. 2 – Together in Loneliness

Oct. 26 – Gently

Oct. 19 – Flow

Oct. 12 – In This Place

Oct. 5 – Why Understanding

Sep. 28 – Stone to Flesh

Sep. 21 – Let God

Sep. 14 – Passion

Sep. 7 – Hermanos

Aug. 31 – 525,600

Aug. 24 – Pathway

Aug. 17 – Crazy Together

Aug. 10 – To Bridge

Aug. 3 – Stripes

July 27 – Ghost Town

July 20 – Adrift

July 13 – Borders without Borders

July 6 – Little Bit at a Time

June 29 – Holy Dissent

June 22 – Old Kentucky Home

June 15 – Steamer Trunk

June 8 – Squad

June 1 – Legacy

May 25 – Live like You’re Loved

May 18 – Purity of Heart

May 11 – Builders and Creator

May 4 – Value Proposition

Apr. 27 – Vital Signs

Apr. 20 – Let It Be Real

Apr. 13 – Meet Self

Apr. 6 – Let Go of the Best

Mar. 30 – Thirst

Mar. 23 – Back Home

Mar. 16 – Say Goodbye

Mar. 9 – Garden and Desert

Mar. 2 – In Transit

Feb. 23 – Wealth

Feb. 16 – In Place

Feb. 9 – Each and All

Feb. 2 – Not Disneyland

Jan. 26 – Pilgrim People

Jan. 19 – Waking Dream

Jan. 12 – Called and Sent

Jan. 5 – Divine Encounter


Dec. 29 -- Resolution

Dec. 22 – Room for Love?

Dec. 15 – Humbug!

Dec. 8 – Let It Begin with Me

Dec. 1 – Driven by Love

Nov. 24 – What Manner of King

Nov. 17 – Stranger

Nov. 10 – I Need Help to Be Holy

Nov. 3 – Fully Alive

Oct. 27 – Behind the Curtain

Oct. 20 – Questions. Answers?

Oct. 13 – Stumble & Fall

Oct. 6 – Young World

Sep. 29 – Defend Us in Battle

Sep. 22 – The Taste of Water

Sep. 15 – God’s Plan

Sep. 8 – Life Finds a Way