PARAGUAY, Ricardo M. Acosta, Schoenstatt Brother of Mary, Diocese of San Lorenzo •
“Schoenstatt for the Church” apostolic work has extended out to different spheres; the missions are one of great transcendence for the Church reaching out. Tupãrenda’s 2016 missions (the second edition in the city of Itá) gathered more than 100 people during the second week of the New Year; five days of very intensive mission work in a city that is located approximately 15 kilometers from Tupãrenda’s National Shrine.
The ecclesial and missionary paradigm of reaching out has strong anthropological roots: being human takes place in giving of oneself, in getting out of oneself. We begin to notice each person who gets out of him/herself to encounter God and others.
Giving of oneself: commitment, solidarity, and encounter
Every Christian’s COMMITMENT is not to remain in “his/her” world and comfort zone; but to take messages of hope and compassion to those many who need it. The Schoenstatt Movement, walking in the second year of the new century, offers many apostolic opportunities to “take advantage” of summer vacation in a generous way towards other people.
Pope Francis proposes a radical move from “self-absorption” to a missionary Church; from a “worldly” Church to a Church “of the people”; from the “needless hallowing of our own culture” to enculturated faith; from the centered to the decentralized; from the center of society to its peripheries; from the Church’s concern for itself to the social (Evangelii Gaudium).
Everyone can give testimony of the infinite graces they have received from the hundreds of shrines spread throughout the world. This invites us to not be selfish or comfortable, but to be in solidarity with others. This SOLIDARITY, the “giving of oneself” to others does not diminish the bounty one has received, on the contrary, one “who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age.” (Mk. 10:28-30)
It is an extraordinary experience to participate in the reality of so many families; it always leads us to see our own reality, to question our own problems and to look at the others with mercy. It is also contemplating God’s footsteps in others with our own experience.
The “madness” for many is the enthusiasm and empathy for others and in the other. A generous spirit is not taken as reference; instead, one forgets oneself and gives of oneself without anything in return. Mrs. Celia related the happiness of having her 103-year-old father still healthy. “How adult people “become” children again!” she reflected, and require all the care of a child in the early years of life. The testimony has taught us that the “best asylum” is the home and the family, especially for people who can no longer take care of themselves.
This ENCOUNTER of hearts experienced in the missions breaks all the molds or paradigms one could have laid out. Because in only five days, your life can do a 180°, meeting hundreds of people who are on their own search and many of them share your reality. When we speak of encounter, we do not go out so that everyone will accept us or “thank” us, one might even be rejected, but most of all one went to discover Jesus Christ who lives in every person. It is demanding because it presupposes forgetting oneself and a sincere detachment.