GERMANY, Michael Defrancesco •
What makes something ring true for us? With whom are we on the same wavelength? When the Academy for Marriage and Family deals with this question at its 16th Graduate Congress at Marienland on Mount Schoenstatt in Vallendar, one already suspects the point: ideally our spouses will make our lives ring true, we are on the same wavelength with both he and our children. “Resonance or the redeemed longing for a successful relationship” was the almost poetic title for the academic weekend. —
What makes our marriage ring true?
Sr. Vernita Weiss demonstrated in her opening motivational talk: “What makes our marriage ring true?” How important you are to building a good relationship? According to Sr. Vernita, in a world where communication takes place more and more via a smartphone screen, it is important, to look at the other person. She substantiated the idea with business models uncovering the human connection movement and banning smartphones from meetings, and also from the Schoenstatt story, how touching it can be to look into the eyes of the MTA.
“Resonance is not an emotional state, but a mode of relationship,” she said, bringing out a bowl brimming with nuts and other odds and ends. She hit it— a hollow, dull sound. She emptied the bowl then hit it again —a full, beautiful sound. The couples in the auditorium immediately understood: a bowl or a soul full of trinkets will no longer sound beautiful and full. The speaker also emphasized that resonance needs time —time to listen to its inner life and to be able to let things linger.
Sr. Vernita enumerated the inner resonance space —our soul that responds and echos back. Then the divine resonator: how do we respond to God’s voice and calls? Then the social resonance space —how do we react to our environment? And: things — how do we deal with things, how do we shape our world? “We need a relationship with ourselves, with God, with fellow human beings and with things and works,” Sr. Vernita said. There is hardly anything more beautiful than eyes shining when people swing on the same wavelength— Sr. Vernita spoke of the glowing-eye-index.
In the afternoon, Sr. Vernita looked at the children and talked about “What young and older children need —resonance.” She looked in particular at the five guiding stars of Kentenich pedagogy: Ideal Education (Why am I here?), Confidence Education (What do you believe I can do?), Relationship Education (Do you like me?), Alliance Education (Will you go with me, God?) And Exercise education (What is our child doing?).
In couples’ and group work, couples approached the topic, listening to their interior thoughts, looking at their relationships, looking into their family, and discussing many aspects completely.
In the evening, the Marienland meeting room was transformed into a concert hall—where many young and older musical talents brought out their instruments and sent out positive vibes for the families.
Spiritual Resonance – What the Bible tells us to do
On Palm Sunday, Dorothée and Thomas Bretz gave a motivational talk “Spiritual resonance— What the Bible tells us” utilizing various Bible passages. In dance, songs, and meditation, couples in the hall approached the question of what makes God sound in us and what God’s voice can achieve. The moment when Dorothée Bretz stepped in the dance as a sinner before Jesus, weeping down in front of him, anointing his feet was quite impressive. It was an intimate moment that completely silenced the auditorium, and a successful way to express and experience this familiar passage from the Gospel of Luke.
After the death of Cardinal Lehmann
At the conclusion of the Graduate Congress, Palm Sunday worship service was celebrated. At the farewell, all participants again looked into the future. One question occupied many: Who would become the Academy’s new patron after the death of Cardinal Karl Lehmann? Numerous projects will be realized in the coming months from the ranks of the Academy for Marriage and Family: conferences and courses for couples, participation at the next Catholic Day in Muenster, and at the Family Festival in Schoenstatt. The work does not end for the Academy’s trainers.
More information on the Website of the Academy for Marriage and Family (german): www.akademie-ehe-familie.de
Original: German, 31.03.2018 Translation: Lindsay Burger, Munich, Germany. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA