GERMANY, Maria Fischer •
Actually, the whole thing is quite synodal. So, it fits in Fulda and under the patronage of Bishop Dr. Michael Gerber. “When voices of times and Kentenich listen to each other,” was an intertitle in the announcement of the premiere in October 2022 in Schoenstatt. Listening to one another, that is synodal Church, that is synodal being Christians, that is what makes the Disney movie “Amen. Francis responds” (Amén. Francisco responde) so wonderfully provocative and so provocatively wonderful. —
Sexual identity, abortion, migration, abuse, loss of faith, the role of women: these and other issues are at stake in the new Disney documentary, originally in Spanish, “Amen. Francis Answers.” Anyone who now faints or at least rolls his eyes as a “strict believer” in the Catholic faith is not quite on Francis’ level. For he shows himself relaxed, smiling, and joking, but sometimes also very serious, moved and saddened. But he leaves none of the complex questions posed to him by young people from all over the world without a clear answer. Even if he does not adopt the opinion and point of view of the young people, he dares to dialogue. He dares to listen. Reminds us of the “rule of dialogue” of a Joseph Kentenich.
In dialogue with voices of the times
And this brings me back to the actual subject of this article, even if the above detour was not a detour at all. In the oratorio “Heavenwards”, Dr. Martin Flesch puts all too familiar as well as rather overlooked texts from “Heavenwards”, the collection of prayers in rhyme that Joseph Kentenich wrote as a prisoner in Dachau, in dialogue with voices of the times inspired by Peter M. Behncke’s “Golgotha Poems” from 1985. “When I asked myself in 2016 how the Heavenwards prayers drafted by Father Kentenich in the Dachau concentration camp could become permeable to current times and regain relevance, it quickly became clear that I had to let them have their say on the ground of a sound aura in dialogue with the voices of the times,” says author and composer Dr. Martin Flesch.
If something is able to move just by a report on it…
A few days after the article about the performance of the oratorio appeared on schoenstatt.org, a Schoenstatter from one of the first courses of the Family Federation in Chile contacted us, so agitated that a dialogue via WhatsApp was not enough and an almost 80-minute phone call followed. This oratorio absolutely had to be performed in Chile, it had a prophetic character, it had the power to awaken the Movement and to lead it out into dialogue with the real world…Only in the course of the conversation did he realize that he had read a translation of the report (congratulations to Paz Leiva), that this oratorio was in German…If even a short (and translated) article about this oratorio moved so much, what then to be present at a live performance?
On April 23, 2023, everyone who can and wants to make the journey to Fulda will have this chance. At 5:00 p.m., another performance of the oratorio “Heavenwards” will take place in the Catholic City Parish Church of St. Blasius, near the cathedral in the pedestrian zone, with the same instrumental and vocal set as at the premiere.
There is a dignity in us
There is a dignity in us
that sings like a song in you.
Discovered only by your longing,
which only the sound awakens in you.
A song, a leitmotif in this oratorio.
“The Heavenward Prayers are the result of history and a history of man’s history with God and Joseph Kentenich’s history with God the Father; therefore, they are not an end in themselves, but stand in a context that shaped his own life, the life of the people in the camp in Dachau- but also our life today.
The history of the origin of the Heavenwards Prayers shows us that there is always a possibility of making decisions that could profoundly change our lives, because they are directed in a very concrete way toward Jesus Christ and against the forces of hatred and war, but also against the masquerades of the present time.
Joseph Kentenich’s decision looks the horror in the face in Dachau. It seeks Christ and finds in the camp the face of despair, negation of life, irony, mockery, and scorn, but in the end, Christ has the longer breath,” said Martin Flesch.
“We too, we people of the present, who are the first to shape the voices of the times, have the opportunity every day anew to use the spirituality of the moment, to make courageous decisions every day anew. Our time, too, is filled to the brim with camp formations, dependencies, cynicism, dualistic trench warfare, and inhumanity; we are experiencing an age of narcissism.”
Yet there is a dignity in us…the song of the true self, of the divine core at work in all of us, indestructible. There is a dignity in us…a dignity that carries through loneliness into this song that in Father Kentenich’s school so many may pray daily: What I bear and endure, what I say and what I dare, I give to you as a gift of love….
Save the date. Fulda, 23. April.
What: Oratorium Himmelwärts
Date: April 23, 2023, 5:00 p.m.
Place: Catholic city parish church St. Blasius, Unterm-Heilig-Kreuz 12, 36037 Fulda
Contact: Rev. Stefan Buß
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org