Posted On 2014-12-17 In Jubilee 2014

Two Keys to Deepen the Encounter with Francis

JUBILEE REFLECTIONS, Sr. M. Elizabet Parodi. The encounter of the Schoenstatt Family with the Holy Father gave us more, much more, than a sequence of questions and answers.  I believe we can all affirm that we lived an hour of covenant, not only because the Jubilee was the great background which framed that moment, but because the entire encounter was conceived from the dynamic inner nothing without you, nothing without us.



We approached the pastor of the Universal Church to give him our gift, which we received 100 years ago and which constitutes the center of our spirituality: the Covenant of Love in the Shrine.  And the Pope accepted that gift, renewing the Covenant of Love along with us.  At the same time, he gave us an enlightening message for our way in the future: to be and to give testimony to the Covenant even to the radical point of sanctity. Those two keys, Shrine and testimony, can help us understand the depth of the encounter.

An encounter in the Shrine

During the conception of that event, developing the idea that it would be an encounter with the Holy Father in the Shrine – a moment of renewing the Covenant of Love when his words would enlighten horizons – we wanted to be sent forth by him, from the Shrine, into the new era we were beginning.

Having given the great basilica the aspect of a shrine – with simplicity and soberness – was the exterior background for the renewal of the Covenant of Love.  Also, the moment prior to the arrival of the Pope – which drew us nearer to the fruitfulness of the charisms in the Church and to the originality of ours, like the working of Mary from the Shrine – was thought of as a help to highlight the inner background of that moment: renewing the Covenant of Love in the Shrine and being sent forth by the Holy Father to develop a covenant culture.

In dialogue

Pope Francis grasped that dynamism and, to say it thus, he submerged himself into the atmosphere of the Shrine in order to dialogue with us.  Previously, he had been asked if he preferred to give a message or to interact based on questions and answers.  He preferred the latter; a dialogue seemed to him the most appropriate form to give us his testimony, and especially, to give us the category of being and giving testimony as a central message.  A horizon he outlined even inviting us to the most sublime level of Christian testimony– sanctity: “those who take the Church forward are the saints.  Do not be afraid of a life of sanctity.  This is what it means to renew the Church.  To renew the heart of each person.”


The category of the testimony was Francis’ response to the gift of the shrine.  “Or, I give testimony because that is the consequence of my life choice,” he stressed.  A clear message that evokes the axiom – so rooted in Schoenstatt – the order of being determines the order of acting, the apostolate of being is the basis for all undertaking, of doing everything with Mary from the Shrine.  It is the same response with which Blessed Mother surprises us when we give her all our efforts of self-education.

On the background of his testimony, the Holy Father spoke to us of three indispensable attitudes in order not to reduce ourselves to the role of spiritual hairdressers of covenant culture instead of going to the outskirts – like Mary – preparing our times for Jesus Christ.

Francis was accurate in his selection– Abandonment: “I have seen the miracles that the Lord has worked through people who abandon themselves into His hands.” De-centered:  “There is only one center – Jesus Christ.” Audacity: “Courage and endurance, and go out to the periphery.”  Three attitudes which send us directly to the cradle of our sanctity: in the Shrine, Mary mediates the graces of a home, whose utmost expression for us is in the abandonment that is born from confidence; inner transformation whose deepest sense is living centered on God and de-centered from ourselves; and she mediates the graces of fruitfulness in the apostolate, increasing our audacity and strengthening us in perseverance.

Sent to give testimony to that which motivates us interiorly

Yes, we can say that with Francis we lived an encounter where we experienced the Shrine as the place of the Covenant and the cradle of sanctity, source of a new culture.  Likewise we lived the experience of being accepted in our charism and of being sent to give testimony to that which motivates us interiorly.

His message:  “Live in such a way that others will be interested enough to ask: why? Testimony. The path of testimony. There is nothing more that can be added to this.”

His desire:  “That in this world of mis-encounters, defamation, calumny, destruction with the tongue, you can take this culture of encounter onwards by renewing the covenant.”

His conviction:  “Nobody can be educated alone.  You need Mother to educate you.”

His prayer for us:  “Therefore, I entrust all of you to the Blessed Mother that she can continue to walk with you in this renewal of the covenant.”

Guidance for the new era

None of the words he suggested to us throughout the encounter can make one indifferent.  It will be each person’s efforts, of our groups and communities, making them interact with our charism and gradually assuming them in our life, one by one.  Those words are his legacy to us, as children and missionaries of the Shrine and his way of conceiving the radiance of the Covenant.  They are the concrete guidance, which we desired he would give us at the beginning of this new era.

Original Spanish. Translation: Carlos Cantú, La Feria, Texas USA

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