Fr. Guillermo Carmona •
Soon we will begin the time of Advent. The Virgin is on the way. She is like a closed ciborium filled with the Lord. Nobody knows it, only Joseph, her cousin, Elizabeth and her husband Zachary, and perhaps a few more. The rest of humanity and the Jews at the time were unaware; they were unaware of the mystery gestating in her womb, so there will be no room for them in Bethlehem. How unfortunate to not discover the presence of God when He comes to visit us!
We Schoenstatters should live each Advent with special dedication and joy. “God is extremely near” (St. Augustine) and it is good that his arrival does not surprise us while we are so wrapped up in the thousands of things we have to do at the end of the year. The Biblical texts encourage us to clean our inner home – a poor manger, but a dignified one – to adorn it and transform it into a shrine, a Heart Shrine. If we are to prepare ourselves, it is necessary to know that God always visits us in those who represent Him and make Him more present: the sick, the poor and the needy, the children. Whatever favors we do for them, we do for Him. Jesus will not say the same of the rich and powerful, perhaps because it was implicit (we are all children of the same Father…..) although that surely was not the reason for the omission.
Our Father and Founder, whom not long ago we remembered on his birthday, often told us that life is a permanent Advent and Christmas: God comes to us in joy and sadness, in love and in sickness, in a child who returns, in the embrace of a child who has recently been born. Therefore, life is nothing else than waiting for and discovering God “until He comes” (John 21, 22).
There are two symbols which the liturgy invites us to use in Advent: one is the road which must be prepared for his arrival; the other is the road which each of us must travel, “a new way, a new traveler, a new song” said the Fathers of the Church.
Therefore each Advent is an exhortation to straighten the way, or as we like to put it, to live a “covenant which transforms.” On the other hand, we have to begin to walk, we have to become a pilgrim, while keeping our lamp lit and supplied with plenty of oil (Treasury of Grace) and having a wedding garment prepared (woven by acts of love). This will help us to receive God’s gift this Christmas and until one day we may sit at the wide table of the Kingdom.
This “Year of Father Kentenich” is also a new Advent. He experienced it in his lifetime and today shares Christmas with us in heaven, now he invites us to live with great hope. His last written message has instructions forever: “With hope and joy, confident in the victory, we go with Mary into the newest times” (Message for the meeting of Catholics in Essen, 1968). Hope is the virtue based on God’s promises; trusting in them we set out on the way, confident that He would never deceive us. To hope does not mean sitting with hands folded waiting for a miracle: it means going together to the Shrine, to watch, to purify our heart of resentment, of bad feelings, and allowing the gift of Jesus – “nothing without you” – to find in each one – “nothing without us” – the experience of reconciliation, peace and joy.
I remember a question Fr. Esteban Uriburu often asked our Blessed Mother: “What do you want me to help you with today, dear Mother?” It is a good question for the time of Advent.
Dear brothers and sisters, God is coming, He is near; we are going to meet Him around some corner, especially in the Daughter Shrine and in the Home Shrines. Perhaps She may not say much, because She is concentrating on and adoring the Child about to be born; but She will look us in the eyes and her gaze will captivate us – like on the first day we met Her, and She will continue winning our heart.
Wishing you a blessed covenant day, I bless you and accompany you.
Fr. Guillermo Carmona, Director of the Movement in Argentina, Covenant Letter 11-18-2017
 The original Spanish article was published end November
Original Spanish: November 26, 2017, Translation: Carlos Cantú, La Feria, Texas USA. Edition: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK