Fr. Guillermo Carmona, National Director of the Schoenstatt Movement in Argentina •
It was raining in Schoenstatt on September 20th when the hearse carrying the coffin of Father Kentenich was leaving the Original Shrine, and heading toward the church of the Blessed Trinity on Mount Schoenstatt. Sisters of Mary bearing a white lily in their hands surrounded the vehicle. Thus they acknowledged him, as a father, who without generating physical life had consecrated himself totally to others.
I observed all of this from a bend in the road, taking care that all would proceed in order. While the vehicle approached, I thought of the people going up the mountain who represented so many others from diverse parts of the world that were accompanying the event with pain and gratitude: it was “human crying and divine smiling” as Father Kentenich often affirmed.
Already at Mass, the then Bishop of Munster and member of the Institute of Diocesan Priests, Bishop Heinrich Tenhumberg, recalled a text from St. Paul:
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, 3 shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.” (2 COR 3:1-3).
Every great man is a letter from God written in our time, said Bishop Tenhumberg, expressing a fundamental key for understanding Father Kentenich: he was an instrument of the Spirit in his person and in his Work; the Gospel – good news – for the heart of man and for the culture of today.
But it is not enough for Father to be a letter of recommendation. Each one of us should also be so! “You yourselves are our letter, a letter written in our hearts, known and read by all mankind,” recalled St. Paul.
What the Church says TODAY and will say TOMORROW about Father Kentenich is defined by each one of us, in each Schoenstatt family, by each young person, by the Rosary Campaign missionary, by my…
What should men be able to read in that living letter? Fundamentally, three dimensions: the covenant which transforms, the evangelical vigor of a church on the way, and the presence of God, faithful and merciful Father in whom we can trust and abandon ourselves as children.
The Year of Father Kentenich is an invitation to canonize him with our life: “You canonize him!” was our challenge from St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s square. And it is good that it is that way. It is providential that the process is delayed: what good would it be for him to have received the honors of the altar if the Church still does not acknowledge his charism, his message for today? It would be a mere act, valuable to us, but which would probably fall into oblivion, like the names and faces of many persons canonized by the Church in the last few years.
Only in this way, when his family strives to live as he lived, to proclaim what he proclaimed, to love what he loved, then it will be probable that he would do – as an expression of that miracle – the miracle that the Church requires to confirm his sanctity. The ball is in our court and the game is being played. Let’s get to work!
In the meantime, we are encouraged by his message: “In intimate communion with Christ and Mary we want to go toward the Father. ‘I came from the Father and I return to him’ this also applies to us. With the Savior and in the Savior we go toward the Father; we are in the world, but we also go with it toward the Father.” (Joseph Kentenich, 1964)
I wish you a very blessed “Year of Father Kentenich,” and that, we be that letter of introduction, not written in ink but by the Spirit of the living God.
Original Spanish: September 26, 2017, Translation: Carlos Cantú, La Feria, Texas USA . Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA