Posted On 2009-09-15 In Something to think about

Father Joseph Kentenich’s Easter

Now we would have to learn to be with him and to listen to him in a new way. - Foto: CrivelliFr. Alberto Eronti. September 15th evokes a series of memories for me, as a result of what I experienced 41 years ago. The group of students of the Schoenstatt Fathers saw Father alive for the last time shortly before September 15th. Father’s health had been deteriorating and the Sisters of Mary cared for him zealously. On the occasion of our pilgrimage to Cambrai (France, following the footsteps of Joseph Engling), we asked to greet Father and to receive his blessing.

r. Joseph Kentenich - after Holy Mass To avoid making demands, Father Alex Meningen proposed that we go to the window of the dining room where Father dined, estimating that he would have already finished eating. That is what we did. When we arrived we formed a semicircle beneath the window of the second story and we began to sing. Father immediately opened the window and he was surprised. He waved his hand greeting us and he smiled enjoying our presence. Then he said a few words of sending forth and he gave us a blessing for the trip. We sang another song and Father disappeared for a few seconds and then he reappeared with a box of candies and chocolates and he began to throw them toward us, meanwhile he laughed enjoying our joy. Finally he greeted us waving his hand and he disappeared.

Days later, after we had completed our stay in France, the news arrived like lightening: Father had died! I remember that I immediately went to the house chapel and knelt. The inner emotions and sorrow crushed me interiorly, I had a profound feeling of being orphaned, of worthlessness, of emptiness. The man –priest and father – throughr whose person and mission God had changed the course of my life, was no longer present, I could no longer allow his person and his words to illuminate my life and for his fire to maintain mine inflamed. Time passed and I was there, kneeling looking at the picture of the Blessed Mother, recalling that She was Father’s great love. Suddenly, something changed in me. I no longer felt anguished, nor empty, nor feeling like an orphan; rather, I felt the gift of an immensely close presence: it was Father’s presence! Yes, it was no longer necessary to ask for an audience to see him or to speak with him; now he was mine, intensely mine and without barriers. He was mine and completely of each one of his sons and daughters. Now he would not have barriers to accompany each one, to guide and to protect, to bless and to send forth the Family, he belonged completely to each and everyone. Now we had to find him in the heart shrine and to learn to be with him and to listen to him in a new way. His fullness in God made him belong to everyone and forever.

Father Kentenich's tomb, September 15, 2009Forty one years after his departure, I can testify that his presence is fuller, his words are more educational, his mission is more on fire. It is a grace to have known him personally, but it would be a wasted grace if my life as a priest and father would not have been an impact of love that marked me forever.

As I share these memories I do it with the certainty that life enkindles life. May Father’s life enkindle each member of the Schoenstatt Family and may it lead to a passionate love for Mary.

Translation: Celina Garza, San Antonio, USA

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