Intention from the Pope’s world-wide prayer network - Christian Unity
That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.
The reflections this month are largely taken from the provisional revision of the Constitutions.
1 January - Sunday | The Octave Day of Christmas | Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Foundation of the Provinces of Sydney and Melbourne (1948) | World Day of Peace
Readings: Num 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
Link to reading USCB Sunday Readings
Intention 1: We model ourselves on the Mary of Scripture.
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists in the District of Asia.
Intention 3: World Day of Prayer.
Mary’s oldest title, Mother of God (Theotokos, God-bearer), was defined at the Council of Ephesus in 431. As with all Marian theology, it follows from Jesus, who was truly human and truly divine. This feast allows us to think about Mary’s role in giving birth to Jesus.
Reflection - With the Holy Spirit, Mary is always present in the midst of the people. She joined the disciples in praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14) and thus made possible the missionary outburst which took place at Pentecost. She is the Mother of the Church which evangelizes, and without her we could never truly understand the spirit of the new evangelization. (EG, 284)
2 January – Monday | Foundation Day 1817 | Sts. Basil and Gregory
Institute of the Marist Brothers of the Schools (Little Brothers of Mary, FMS).
St Marcellin Champagnat founded the Marist Brothers six months after he was ordained a priest. He had attended the death bed of a 17 year old boy, Jean-Baptiste Montage. The boy knew nothing about God. With two followers Marcellin formed a group of Brothers with the aim of making Jesus Christ known and loved.
Office: Week 1
Readings: 1 JN 2:22-28; JN 1:19-28.
Intention 1: For the Pope and our bishops
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists at Marcellin Technical College in Adelaide.
Marist Anniversary: 1817 Marcellin Champagnat began the Institute.
Reflection - On January 2nd, 1817, Marcellin Champagnat founded the lay religious Institute, or religious Institute of Brothers, under the name of Little Brothers of Mary. He saw it as forming a branch of the Society of Mary. (Constitutions, 76)
3 January - Tuesday | Holy Name of Jesus
Readings: 1 Jn 2:29-3:6; Jn 1:29-34
Intention 1: For our Superiors.
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists, school and community, at St Joseph’s College, Alafua, Samoa.
Reflection: Our vocation as Brother is a fundamental call to be brothers of Christ, brothers to one another and brothers to everyone, especially young people who are the neediest and poor, loving them with a selfless love.
4 January - Wednesday
Readings: 1 Jn 3:7-10; Jn 1:35-42
Intention 1: That our love for the Institute increase.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, Alice Springs.
Reflection: The Institute is made up of Brothers with temporary or perpetual vows. We become members by our religious profession. Brothers of the same religious family, we are united by fraternal love and by obedience to our Constitutions. The novices, who are beginning their life in the Institute, share in the temporal and spiritual benefits of our religious family.
5 January - Thursday
Readings: 1 Jn 3:11-21; Jn 1: 43-51
Intention 1: That we accept the responsibility to make decisions.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Marist College, Ashgrove.
Reflection: Lay faithful, clergy and other religious who seek to live Marcellin’s charism, Marist spirituality and mission, can also share a special association with the Institute. Certain lay people who demonstrate by their lives core Marist values and virtues can be affiliated to the Institute or a Province. In a similar way to the novices, they share in our spiritual benefits and fraternal care.
6 January - Friday before Epiphany
Readings: 1 Jn 5:5-13; Mk 1:6-11
Intention 1: For our community leaders and local superiors.
Intention 2: Marists at Trinity Catholic College campuses, Auburn and Regents Park.
Marist Anniversary: 1814 - Marcellin and Jean-Claude Colin received Minor Orders from Cardinal Fesch, Arch-bishop of Lyon. - 1914, John Dullea, First Superior, District des Iles 1875-1893, and 1897-1900, Assistant General 1900-1914. - 2007, Marist apostolate recommenced at Murgon.
Reflection: The Institute is made up of Provinces and Districts which, in turn, are made up of religious houses. Each Province or District is animated and governed by a Major Superior with his Council, under the authority of the Brother Superior General with his Council.
7 January - Saturday before Epiphany | St Raymond of Penyafort
Readings: 1 Jn 5:14-21; Jn 2:1-11
Intention 1: That we model our lives on the Handmaid of the Lord.
Intention 2: Marists at the Burdekin Catholic High School and St Francis Primary School in Ayr, Qld.
Reflection: As an international Institute present in all the continents and in many different cultures, our unity is based on the spiritual heritage received from Saint Marcellin Champagnat and handed on by his followers. This unity calls for a union of discernment and prayer, a life witnessing to international brotherhood, co-ordinated global apostolic action, and the service that authority renders at all levels.
8 January - Sunday | The Epiphany of the Lord
Readings: - IS 60:1-6; EPH 3:2-3a, 5-6; MT 2:1-12
Link to reading USCB Sunday Readings - This site also has a daily video and audio reflection.
Intention 1: That prayerful discernment be the basis of our decisions.
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists, school and community, at St Louis High School, Bairiki, Tarawa, Kiribati.
Marist Anniversary: 1876—arrival in Australia of Br John Dullea, First Superior, District des Iles. - 1984, Champagnat Marist apostolate began in Kiribati.
There are four manifestations or Epiphanies of Christ in the New Testament: 1) birth of Jesus; 2) visit of the Magi. 3) Baptism of Jesus and 4) Jesus’ first miracle at Cana. The Visit of the Magi is usually know as the Epiphany (MT 2:11). Their traditional names are Balthazar, Caspar and Melchoir. Their gifts represent: Gold-the royalty of Jesus, Frankincense-the divinity of Jesus and Myrrh-the passion and death of Jesus.
Reflection - The Wise Men or Magi who brought gifts to the child Jesus were the first Gentiles to acknowledge Jesus as "King" and so were the first to "show" or "reveal" Jesus to a wider world as the incarnate Christ. This act of worship by the Magi, which corresponded to Simeon’s blessing that this child Jesus would be "a light for revelation to the Gentiles" (Luke 2:32), was one of the first indications that Jesus came for all people, of all nations, of all races, and that the work of God in the world would not be limited to only a few.
9 January - Monday | Baptism of the Lord
Readings: 1JN 3:22-4:6; MT 4:12-17,23-25.
Intention 1: That our communities be characterised by brotherly love.
Intention 2: Marists at Trinity College, Beenleigh, Qld.
Marist Anniversary: 1863—Pius IX approved our Institute and the first Constitutions.
Reflection: Religious consecration unites us in a special way to the Church and its mystery. In the midst of the People of God, and of the wider Marist spiritual family, we give prophetic and joyous witness of a life wholly dedicated to God and to people. True to the charism of the Institute, we collaborate in the pastoral action of the local Church.
The Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the river Jordan marks the start of Jesus’ public ministry. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “the baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's suffering Servant”. The Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, ‘This is my beloved Son’. This is the manifestation or ‘Epiphany’ of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God. CCC, 535-536.
Weekday lectionary Year 1 and Sunday lectionary Year A
10 January - Tuesday after Epiphany
Readings: Heb 2:5-12; Mk 1:21-28.
Office: Week 1
Intention 1: For our major Superiors and their Councils.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Bendigo.
Marist Anniversary: 1838—The first Catholic Missionaries, Bishop Pompallier, Fr Servant SM, and Br Michel Colombon FMS set foot in New Zealand at the Hokianga.
Reflection: Like Marcellin Champagnat, we have a deep respect and love for the Pope, whom, by obedience, we recognise as our highest Superior. We express our faith, and contribute to the unity of Christ’s Body by striving to live according to the teachings and directives of the Church.
11 January – Wednesday after Epiphany
Readings: Heb 2:14-18; Mk 1:29-39
Intention 1: For our Brother Superior General.
Intention 2: For all Marists engaged with REMAR.
Reflection: In keeping with our Founder’s expressed wish, we extend our fraternal love to all other Religious Institutes. We share special bonds that unite us to other branches of the Marist family. With them, we seek to be the Marian face of the Church through our Marist way of being and building church.
12 January – Thursday after Epiphany
Readings: Heb 3:7-14; Mk 1:40-45
Intention 1: For the members of the General Council.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community at Blacktown, Sydney.
Reflection: God has a promise of abundant life for the whole of humanity and for each one of us. Attentive to the presence of God in our hearts, we experience His infinite mercy and tender love as Father and Mother. In response to this love we feel called to consecrate our lives as religious brothers, to continue the mission of Jesus and be signs of fraternity for our world.
13 January – Friday after Epiphany | St Hilary
Readings: Heb 4:1-5,11; Mk 2:1-12
Intention 1: For our Brother Provincial and District Leaders.
Intention 2: Marists at Marcellin College, Bulleen.
Reflection: We Brothers express this commitment by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, a consecration that has its roots in our Baptism and expresses our desire to live totally for God.
14 January - Saturday after Epiphany
Readings: Heb 4:12-16; Mk 2: 13-17
Intention 1: For the members of the Provincial and District Councils.
Intention 2: Marists at Bunbury Catholic College, Western Australia.
Reflection: We renew our religious profession in community once a year, either at the retreat, or on the feast of the Assumption or on some other Marian feast.
15 January – Sunday | 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Is 49:3,5-6; 1Cor 1:1-3; Jn 1:29-34
Link to reading USCB Sunday Readings - This site also has a daily video and audio reflection.
Office: Week 2
Intention 1: For our local Superiors and Community Leaders.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at St Augustine’s College, Cairns.
Anniversary: 1842—Birth in Melbourne of Mary MacKillop.
Reflection: The love which the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts inspires us to share in the gift of Marcellin Champagnat’s charism, directing all our life’s energies to realize this one aim: TO FOLLOW CHRIST AS MARY DID, in His life of love for the Father and for all our brothers and sisters. We witness to and live out this goal in fraternal community.
16 January - Monday
Readings: Heb 5:1-10; Mk 2:18-22
Intention 1: That we use our assets for the good of others.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and co-workers at La Valla School, Yodifee and Villa Maria, Cambodia.
Reflection: Profession is also a covenant by which we Brothers, with total freedom, commit ourselves to live according to the Constitutions of the Institute. The Institute accepts us as its members and provides the conditions and spiritual and material means to fulfill our life and mission as Brothers.
17 January – Tuesday | St Anthony
Readings: Heb 6:10-20; Mk 2:23-28
Intention 1: That we live simply.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown.
Reflection: The Province provides for the Brothers what they need. It provides for their human, spiritual and professional formation, both initial and on-going. It also provides whatever is necessary for health and social security.
18 January – Wednesday
Readings: Heb 7:1-3,15-17; Mk 3:1-6
Intention 1: That we share what we have with those most in need.
Intention 2: Marists at Marist College Pearce, Canberra.
Reflection: Consecrated as religious Brothers, we are sent to “make Jesus Christ known and loved”, especially to children and young people. The apostolic mission, in communion with the Church, forms part of the identity of our religious family.
19 January – Thursday | Martin Luther King, d. 1968, Civil rights campaigner.
Readings: Heb 7:25-8:6; Mk 3:7-12
Intention 1: That, through the example of our lives, God will awaken vocations.
Intention 2: Marists at St Mary’s Catholic College, Casino.
Reflection: We Brothers dedicate ourselves with passion to the mission that has been entrusted to us. We try to be con-templatives in action and active in contemplation, so that our apostolic work may bear the abundant fruit of the Gospel.
20 January - Friday | Sts. Fabian and Sebastian
Readings: Heb 8:6-13; Mk 3:13-19
Intention 1: That our lives be a credible witness to those around us.
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists at Catholic Cathedral College, Christchurch.
Marist Anniversary: 1968—Marist apostolate began at Canberra. - 1988, Marist apostolate began in Bourke.
Reflection: To belong totally to God with an undivided heart and to follow Christ closely, we Brothers choose celibate chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven. Our consecrated celibacy is the anticipated memory of the Resurrection and a reminder of the covenant of love between Christ and His Church.
21 January – Saturday | St Agnes
Readings: Heb 9:2-3,11-14; Mk 3:20-21
Intention 1: That we make our Champagnat Marist charism relevant in our culture.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Newman College, Churchlands, Perth.
Reflection: In following the chaste Christ, we Brothers commit ourselves to live perfect celibate chastity. In this way we accept the gift of the Father and our response becomes a generous and gratuitous surrender, living like “brothers of all”, especially poor children and young people.
22 January – Sunday | 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Is 8:23-9:3; 1 Cor 1:10-13,17; Mt 4:12-23
Link to reading USCB Sunday Readings - This site also has a daily video and audio reflection
Office: Week 3
Intention 1: That we be willing to support other Province and Districts.
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists at Trafalgar Street, Lower Hutt.
Marist Anniversary: 1881—Death of Brother Francois, 1st Superior General, 1839-60. - 1991, John Paul II declared Br Alfano to be Venerable.
Reflection: Our community is the ground where the universal love to which we have committed ourselves grows. The love for our brothers is simple and cordial, attentive to sensing their difficulties, humble in sharing their joys and generous in giving ourselves to all.
23 January - Monday
Readings: Heb 9:15,24-28; Mk 3:22-30
Intention 1: That the Holy Spirit will free us from our fears.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at St Michael’s Primary School, Daceyville.
Intention 3: Day of Prayer for Unborn Children.
Reflection: Fraternal life is where we can receive excellent support for our development as persons and for the living out of our chastity. In the moments of greater loneliness we count on the help and understanding of our brothers. Their friend-ship brings joy to our hearts and helps us to keep us balanced. The spirit of faith and mutual trust facilitate openness, dialogue and challenge.
24 January - Tuesday | St Francis de Sales
Readings: Heb 10:1-10; Mk 3:31-35
Intention 1: That we remain true to our spirit of simple living.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community at Drummoyne.
Reflection: In community we agree on the manner of wel-coming people. Times must be reserved for prayer, work and rest as these are indispensable for community life.
25 January - Wednesday | Conversion of St Paul - the great conversion
Readings: Acts 22:3-16; Mk 16:15-18
Intention 1: That we remain true to our spirit of poverty and detachment.
Intention 2: Marists at St Patrick’s Marist College, Dundas.
Marist Anniversary: 1893—Marist apostolate in Victoria began at Assumption College, Kilmore.
Reflection: Chastity, the fruit of our intimacy with the Lord, is a grace which we Brothers humbly seek in our regular personal prayer, at the Eucharist and in Reconciliation. In the Virgin Mary we seek inspiration and support to learn to live chastely. In receiving her in our home, we learn to love all so as to be signs of the tenderness of the Father.
The Conversion of Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, is dated about 35-36AD. Saul of Tarsus had been a persecutor of the early Christians. Paul becomes a follower of Jesus while on the road to Damascus. See: Acts 9:1-9; 22:6-16; 26:12-18.
26 January – Thursday | Sts Timothy and Titus | Australia Day
Readings: 2 Tim 1:1-8 (or Ti 1:1-5); Mk 4:21-25
Intention 1: That we be alert to the signs of the times.
Intention 2: Marists at Wewak and Yangoru, PNG.
Australian Anniversary: 1788—Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove.
Reflection: We accept and give love so as to grow in a fruitful and adult chastity. Gradually we acquire the wisdom of heart that allows us to integrate positively the renunciations of human existence and those which we sense in our journey as religious. We consciously choose what favours our emotional balance and personal care.
27 January - Friday | St Angela Merici | Sts Timothy & Titus (Australia)
Readings: Heb 10:32-39; Mk 4:26-34
Intention 1: That we be guided by our Constitutions.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists in Bacau, East Timor.
Reflection: In order to attain the mastery of the senses and of the heart, and to assume in a balanced way, our vow of chastity, we use the adequate means especially: (a) psychological education and formation in the field of sexuality, of affectivity and of human relationships; (b) and open and balanced community life.
28 January – Saturday | St Thomas Aquinas OP, d. 1274, Dominican theologian.
Readings: Heb 11:1-2,8-19; Mk 4:35-41
Intention 1: That we live the Marist ideal with generosity.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community and Marists at Eastwood.
Marist Anniversary: 1871—Brothers Ulbert and Landry opened the first Marist school in Apia, Samoa. - 1929, Marist apostolate began in Queensland at Sacred Heart College, Rosalie.
Reflection: In His love for humanity. Christ, who being rich became poor, invites us to participate in his poverty. Out of love for Jesus we follow in his footsteps and learn from Him how to live fully our vow of poverty in the spirit of detachment.
29 January - Sunday | 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Zep 2:3, 3:12-13; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12a
Link to reading USCB Sunday Readings
Office: Week 4
Intention 1: For Brothers in circumstances of great difficulty.
Intention 2: Marists at Marist College, Emerald.
Reflection: By the vow of evangelical poverty we commit ourselves to being poor in spirit and in fact. We renounce the use and disposal of money or of any other material good of value, without authorization. Nevertheless, we retain the ownership of our goods, the capacity to acquire others and to add to the patrimony what this can produce; but we cede the administration to others. We can also renounce to our patrimony with the Superior’s permission.
30 January – Monday
Readings: Heb 11:32-40; Mk 5:1-20
Intention 1: That we make the charism of the Founder present today.
Intention 2: The Brothers’ Community at Heidelberg, Melbourne.
Marist Anniversary: 1876—Brothers Sigismond, Papinien and Matthew sailed from London to open the first Marist Brothers school at Wellington, NZ.
Reflection: The Brother concerning the use of money acts under the dependence of the immediate Superior, to whom he regularly renders an account of the amounts at his disposal.
Mahatma Ghandi, d. 1948. Indian nationalist and Father of the Nation. Philosopher of non-violence.
31 January – Tuesday | St John Bosco
Readings: Heb 12:1-4; Mk 5:21-43
Intention 1: That, like Marcellin, we be sensitive to the needs of our time.
Intention 2: Champagnat Marists at Onslow Avenue, Auckland.
Reflection: To make use of a gift of money or something of money value, the Brother needs the Superior’s permission.
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