In their message to all people on 21 October 1962, the priests gathered for Vatican Council II stated that the aim of this enormous meeting was to “find ways to renew ourselves so that we can increasingly act in accordance with the Gospel of Christ.” The popular saying: “actions speak louder than words” suggests that purely theoretical words are weak when placed alongside the power of the incarnate living word. “This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age,” says Vatican Council II (Gaudium et Spes, 43).The Church today is facing not only the challenge of a militant atheism, but also the phenomenon of a practical atheism which in many ways impregnates culture and the environment in which we live and thus generates a way of thinking and living in which God and daily life have little or nothing to do.
A vital phenomenon demands as a response another vital reality. To the absence of the living God in the daily lives of many, we must respond with God’s presence in our lives, with God’s presence in the life of the Church. Vatican Council II teaches us that “is the function of the Church, led by the Holy Spirit Who renews and purifies her ceaselessly, to make God the Father and His Incarnate Son present and in a sense visible. This result is achieved chiefly by the witness of a living and mature faith” (Gaudium et Spes, 21)
This was one of the great goals for which Father Kentenich worked, fought, and suffered. He desired that the Schoenstatt Family would give to the Church, as an answer to the times, “true everyday sanctity.” Our consecration to Mary should lead us to a conscious transformation in Christ. It should make us true witnesses of his person and his Kingdom: “Let me be a Christbearer for our times, that they may shine in the brightest radiance of the sun!” It means that our life be a mirror of Christ’s life on earth, of going with Him throughout the world “strong and noble as living images of Mary.”
The apostle Paul affirmed something similar when he wrote to the Corinthians: “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” (2Cor 4,10)
Civilization of love
All authentic Christian life should be characterized by a continuous and permanent process of interior transformation. It consists in always casting off the old man with the aim of putting on the new man which is Christ. It is the man in whom the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, lives and acts “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Rom 5,5)
This fundamental law of love must impregnate our entire personal and social life. In this way, step by step, we will build the “civilization of love” announced by Paul VI…..presence of the Spirit that impregnates family life, social life, the life of the Church with love, joy, peace, patience, affability, goodness, fidelity, meekness, self-control. In this way, the coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time is being prepared. Then we will have “a new heaven and a new earth.” (Rv 21,1) Then “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.” (Phil 3,21) Then our communion with the Father will be complete and everlasting. Paradise. From her Schoenstatt Shrine, the Virgin Mary wants to manifest her glories as Educatrix of the new man. She wants to awaken in us the longing for a continuous and growing interior transformation. She always wants to give us anew the courage to work tenaciously on our self-education. Over all, she wants to implore for us the transforming strength of the Holy Spirit without whose powerful action, our efforts would be fruitless. In the lives of many persons who came to Schoenstatt and who sealed the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Virgin in the Shrine, that process of interior transformation is very evident. Father Kentenich made visible and transparent the face of Christ…..the person of the Father God…..the person of Mary. Therefore, for those who had the joy of knowing him, through that experience they were able to come much closer to the living God. His life is the clearest sign, the strongest sign of Mary’s transformation action from the Shrine.
In his pastoral visit to Germany, the Holy Father, John Paul II, on speaking to the priests in Fulda, included him in the list of ten noteworthy bishops and priests of the present time. Later on, at the Vatican, he said to the General Chapter of the Schoenstatt Fathers: “In grateful acknowledgement for his spiritual legacy to the Church, I wanted to precisely mention Father Kentenich in Fulda…..on the occasion of my recent visit to Germany…..as one of the great priestly figures of the latest times and thus honor him in a special way.”
Mary’s education in the Shrine
He is the strongest sign of Mary’s education in the Shrine. We hope and we strive so that some day he will receive the honors of the altar. Confidently, we await the ultimate judgement of the Church. The glory of this child will even more illustrate the glory of his Mother. For the glory of Jesus Christ, “the crown of all the saints.”