Sarah-Leah Pimentel. This morning I woke up with these words of our Morning Consecration on my mind: “We thank you for all the gifts we have received in such abundance.” This prompted me to re-read the text of our daily morning Schoenstatt prayer in the light of the start of our Jubilee year, on this day — 18 October 2013 — when we stand on the threshold of a new century of Schoenstatt, a new century of our life in the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother.
“Father, I may awake with new strength to rekindle my love. Let me joyfully greet you with all your Schoenstatt.”
Yes, Father, this is the dawn of a new day, the dawn of a new century, the dawn of our continued mission to spread our Covenant of Love in our world today. There is so much work to be done, heavenly Father, as we build Schoenstatt for the next 100 years. At the start of this Jubilee Year, we are filled with renewed strength to go your way, to share the love you have given us in last 99 years. It is with great joy that we unite around the Original shrine and every daughter shrine, wayside shrine, home shrine and heart shrine around the world to greet you as we stand on the threshold of this new century.
“We are united in the shrine where the flames of our hearts beat for our Mother Thrice Admirable who, through us, wants to build your kingdom.”
Dearest Mother, everywhere around the world, thousands of people who have united themselves to you through their Covenant of Love are waking up this morning with a new joy that brings warmth to a cold and hopeless world. Tiny flames in every corner of the world have come together with a common desire, to be the fire that brings life a new kingdom, a kingdom of covenant solidarity.
“We kneel in the Holy Spirit and sing jubilant hymns to Christ, who sends us with her as instruments to change the destiny of nations.”
Filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are bursting with joy as we give praise to your son, Jesus. We raise our voices in joyful praise as we sing — this is the year of jubilee and from your shrine, salvation comes. We humbly ask you to send us as your instruments so that in the life of our common Covenant of Love, we can help you to build a new society that counters the culture of death that threatens to destroy us.
“We give you thanks for all the gifts we have received in such abundance: for choosing Schoenstatt as the place of Christ’s rebirth, and the place where you radiate into the world the glories of our Mother, so that streams of love may pour forth to warm cold hearts.”
With heartfelt gratitude, we thank you, dearest Mother, for the love you have showered upon your Family in the last 99 years. Even in the midst of great hardship and trial you were always there to protect and guide us. You have indeed blessed us abundantly. And we thank you for planting the small seed in the heart of your son, Joseph Kentenich, who trusted your call to “make this place a place of pilgrimage, a place of grace for our house and for the whole German province, and perhaps even further afield” (Founding Document, 18.10.1914). Indeed, your shrine became a place of grace, a place where cold hearts — burdened with the worries of life — find a home in you. We thank you for the love you have given to each of your Schoenstatt children through all these decades, so that the current of love and grace that once trickled slowly out of your Original Shrine became a mighty river that waters even the driest desert in the most distant corner of the earth.
“Use will us according to your will.”
We are here, dearest MTA, your children return again to your shrine to renew our Covenant of Love for the next 100 years. We want to say to you: Yes, we are your instruments. Use us as you wish to spread Schoenstatt’s message for the world even further afield.
“Through Schoenstatt may the wide halls of the holy Church be filled again and your praise resound to your throne.”
In some parts of the world, the Church is empty. We hear the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, calling us to take the Church onto the streets, into the real lives and concerns of all God’s people. A year from now, we will travel to Rome to offer the Schoenstatt Movement and ourselves, to the Holy Father and to the Church, as instruments of renewal. Accept, dearest Mother, our heartfelt desire that the Church can once again be filled with hearts that beat for your Son and give him praise.
“You may use us for your work and send us crosses, suffering and hardship; whether we meet with failure or success, we want to proclaim your love.”
Covenant Mother, no task will be too great for us. We want to be the stones of your living shrine and in every moment of our lives we want to proclaim your love. We welcome any hardship, suffering or trial as an opportunity to offer you many contributions to the Capital of Grace so that each of us, in our individual way, can be a part of your Schoenstatt Work. We trust that even in the failures, you will be triumphant.
“May what you have foreseen for us be realized in every moment of our lives. We have but a single longing: lead us according to your wise plans.”
Mother, we cannot see the future. We don’t know what lies in store for us. But we trust in you and in God’s loving and Divine Providence. And so we ask that the Father’s will be done always. Teach us to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to correctly discern what it is that you want from your Schoenstatt children in the next 100 years.
“Our ideal shall shine before us and form our entire lives.”
Your Covenant our Mission. This is the ideal you have given to your International Schoenstatt Family as we walked the road of our preparation for 18.10.2014. In the words of our 2014 Pilgrimage Prayer, you’re asking us to “spread a covenant culture in our world today” and to be “your true missionaries for this century.” May this be the ideal that guides our every word and every deed.
“For this you have created us in love and for this we strive with all our strength.”
Together we make up your worldwide Schoenstatt Family. But dearest Mother, you have also called us individually by name. To each of us, you have given a personal ideal and you educate us each according to our circumstances and the paths that we travel. I thank you, heavenly Father, for choosing me to be a part of your plan for Schoenstatt. I pray that you will give me the strength to continue to allow your Mother to form and shape me, so that I can be a sign of love for others.
“Let us glow like brands of fire and joyfully go forth to the nations, giving witness to redemption and jubilantly leading all people to the Triune God.”
Yes, Mother, you have put a fire in our hearts when you agreed to become our Covenant partner. Let this fire enkindle the whole world, so that all sorrow is replaced with joy, discord with unity, where death resurrected into new life, and despair into salvation for all peoples. Allow even our most insignificant deeds of true love be a witness that will bring others in the Holy Spirit to the heart of your Son Jesus and through him to the heavenly Father.
“When we consider our own strength, we lose all hope and confidence. Mother, we stretch out our hands to you and ask for your many gifts of love.”
We have seen so many times in the last 99 years that, on our own, we are weak. When our human strivings come to nothing and we see our good work destroyed, we lose hope and we begin to doubt. But yet, you never lost hope and showered us with abundant graces.
“Even in storms and dangers you will always remain faithful to the covenant you sealed with us and enriched with countless graces.”
Just this year we saw the powerful testimony of your love in the heart of the storm. We had started to lose hope that the Original Shrine would ever be ours. In that moment when we had fallen to our knees in sorrow and despair, you intervened and held up your end of the Covenant of Love. In your love, you gave us the gift we had been hoping for all these years. You rekindled our hope and our confidence. We ask that you continue to hold our hand as we go on our pilgrim way into a new age.
“You will send us vocations who join us in pledging themselves for your kingdom. You will give us work and richly bless us, and unite your unlimited power to our powerlessness.”
There is so much work to be done. So many people in our world today need a mother. Although we are many, there are not enough of us to reach into every corner of the earth where people need to hear your word, need hope to carry on another day, where there is hopelessness, where there is sadness because they do not know you or your Son. And so we ask you, dearest Mother, to send us many vocations to the religious life, to family life, to single life, to all those places where you need God’s kingdom to be built.
“May God’s blessing come upon all those who have consecrated themselves entirely to Schoenstatt and bring them happiness and salvation, here and in eternity. Amen.”
On this day, as we stand on the threshold of a new century, we ask you loving Father for your many blessings. We ask for your blessings on those who came before us and prepared the way for us. We ask you to receive them into your heavenly kingdom and to reward them for the many sacrifices they made during their life to build the earthly Schoenstatt. In particular, we pray that you will grant the honours of the altar to you beloved servant, our Father and Founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich, and all the Schoenstatt heroes who have inspired us in the last 99 years. We pray also for your special blessings today, 18 October 2013, for every member of the Schoenstatt Family in every part of the world who has given themselves entirely to the life in the Covenant of Love, as we celebrate our feast day and continue on “our pilgrimage to your shrine.” We thank you, Father, for your unfailing love. Amen.