It is common to hear speak of the “message” of different Marian shrines; for example, one hears about the message of Lourdes, of La Salette or Fatima. Is there also a “message of Schoenstatt?”
While he was a prisoner in the Dachau Concentration Camp, Father Kentenich studied Fatima and he heard about the act of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which was done by Pope Pius XII in 1942. During the October Week of 1946 which was celebrated in Schoenstatt and which had as a central theme the coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of the World, Father Kentenich asked himself the question if there was a “message of Schoenstatt.” The answer was affirmative.
From his experiences in Dachau, he perceived an “emptiness,”a growing lack of soul: many experienced the absurdity of life. One must help that the world seals a profound Covenant with the Blessed Virgin so that the Covenant with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit may become irreversible, profound and indestructible. God has sealed a covenant of love with his children. “Our task – he would affirm – consists in making the world conscious of this covenant of love. We do it in the measure in which we incorporate the world anew into this Covenant of Love with the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the great message of Schoenstatt.
This message of the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Virgin Mary has its roots in practical faith in Divine Providence and should express itself in daily life through a vigorous consciousness of apostolic fruitfulness.
Practical faith in Divine Providence.
In the catechism we have learned that God “governs the world with his Providence.” According to the measure in which we have been traveling the road of life, we have faced, more than once, situations which have left us perplexed and without understanding why. There have been situations in which it has been difficult for us to see the loving and wise plans of God. It is fitting to recall here the words of the apostle Paul to the Romans: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!” (Rom 11,33) Nevertheless, as Christians, we affirm the existence of a plan of God, a plan for our personal life as well as a plan for the redemption of mankind. It has to do with a plan which God reveals to us as time goes on. It is a plan which we can discover a little at a time if we seek it with the heart of a child. It has to do with a plan of wisdom, of love, and infinite power. It is often a plan which does not coincide with our own personal plans. It is a plan which also includes a share of pain and a share of the cross without which we would not be true Christians nor would we participate in the redeeming pain of Christ and thus reach the glory of His resurrection.
Practical faith in Divine Providence means seeking God’s plan and striving to fulfill it in our life. It consists in making the will of the Father the fundamental norm of our life, trusting that everything else will be added unto us.
Father Kentenich expresses it in a prayer written in Dachau:
“May what you have forseen for us
be realized in every moment of our lives.
We have but a single longing:
Lead us according to your wise plans.”
(p.14 HEAVENWARDS, American edition)
Therefore, behind every event we should try to perceive the plan of the Father. A simple question can help us with this task: What does God want to tell me with this? Like all novices, at the beginning, will stumble in trying to see the wishes of God and what He permits. But if we persevere, little by little, our sensitivity will sharpen – our faith radar. Like an “instinct,” we will develop our ability to detect the plans of the living God. Even though we often go through darkness, we will maintain a deep interior peace: “the Father has the tiller in his hands even when I do not know the goal nor the way.” (p.112 HEAVENWARDS, American edition)
The consciousness mission
We are not going to develop here what the covenant of love with the Blessed Virgin is. We will say a word regarding mission consciousness. In the interior emptiness of many…..the boredom of some or the fatigue of others…..Schoenstatt proclaims as an essential part of its message, mission consciousness.
In other words, this means that in this world no one is indispensable or merely is called to be a spectator. We all have a task to fulfill…..something to do…..in summary, we all have a mission. The Lord Himself sends us. We are therefore instruments in His all-powerful hands. In spite of all human limitations, we are full of confidence in the divine strength which works in us (…..”My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12,9) Here lies our hope of reaching the final victory.
We know by experience that life is a struggle. We know that many difficulties await us. Nevertheless, be believe in the words of the Lord: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16,33). We are inspired by the words Father Kentenich wrote to the Schoenstatt Family only days before his death: “With Mary, with hope and joy, confident in the victory, into the newest times.”
Translation: Carlos Cantú, Family Federation, La Feria, Texas USA