Fr. José María García – Madrid Shrine on the Eve of 31 May 2013. Dear Friends, At the Pentecost celebration our Holy Father invited us to allow God to surprise us. In the last few months we have not ceased to be surprised, or it would be better to say, God himself has surprised us far beyond our expectations. Surprises that filled out hearts with joy and hope! He obviously wants us to see clearly that HE is taking the initiative – and he “urgently” wants us to see it in this way … There is a dynamism that seems to intensify in its force and effect in the lives of many, believers and unbelievers. We are living in the state of the “Magnificat”.
Ever since our Holy Father Benedict XVI took the initiative to proclaim the Year of Faith for the whole Church, things have happened with such force for us since that Planning Conference for 2014 that we cannot remain indifferent to them – and they always followed the same pattern: to renew ourselves in the strength of the Faith, in trust in God’s personal love for us (Benedict XVI), in re-founding [Schoenstatt] out of the original strength of the covenant of love (Fr Kentenich).
We have to renew ourselves in order to become courageous missionaries of hope who break out of the self-absorption that makes us ill. We have to set out to evangelise “at the periphery” as a witness and a service. It is a renewal that leads us to the essentials of the Gospel, to humility, simplicity, and courageous gentleness in the strength of the living Word of God.
It is the strength of Bethlehem, of Nazareth, of Golgotha and of the Cenacle – of our “homely little Schoenstatt Shrine”. That is the paradox that is so difficult to understand, also in the Church, and for which we have to ask for forgiveness, as Pope Francis has reminded us so emphatically.
She always appears
A few days ago we helpers with a pilgrimage of the Hospitalidad de Madrid to Lourdes took part in the Stations of the Cross. The person responsible for the Fourth Station where Jesus meets his Mother said, “She always appears, especially when we most urgently need to experience God’s love.” Events such as the Pallottine Fathers’ gift of the Original Shrine to the International Schoenstatt Family for the jubilee of the covenant of love is one of these signs that confirm us in this conviction. She comes to meet us in the generosity of her Pallottine community. She does not “appear” to solve the difficulties for us, or to take them away from us, but to give us the strength for the way ahead, so that in the strength of the covenant of love we can continue, and look creatively and generously for solutions that allow us to reach our goal. In this context the current that has arisen in the “Dream Team” of collaborators of schoenstatt.org is no less generous – consciously to enter into a covenant of love in solidarity with one another on 31 May! The Original Shrine will really become our own to the extent that we can live, and want to live, the covenant of love that upholds it. Simple generosity and effective commitment to one another.
God surprises us when we look at the real life in our midst
God surprises us! His way of surprising us is not the result of something extraordinary or “magical”. He surprises us when we look at the real life in our midst! We don’t see this life, which he himself has created and which seems unimportant; it remains unacknowledged until he himself opens our eyes with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we can see and appreciate it. It is life that he himself has woven in the reticence and simplicity, in the “poverty” of everyday life.
Isn’t that the son of Joseph and Mary? Don’t his brothers live among us? Can anything good come from Nazareth? Who is this Bergoglio who talks so simply that everyone can understand him? Can God speak through what is simple and poor? Who is this Joao Pozzobon with his simple MTA picture? Is this Kentenich not the child from Gymnich and Oberhausen, and the priest in exile in Milwaukee? Who is this simple mother in some hidden corner of the world who has dedicated her home shrine with her family?
The sin of pride makes us blind; the grace of “smallness” enlightens. It is the Magnificat, it is the Beatitudes. It is the covenant of love.
Now we see
We experience moments of Pentecostal joy, because we can see! We see the presence and the work of God in what is simple, in our own lives. Our Holy Father doesn’t just tell us, he himself is an authentically simple person who sees and evaluates real life. From it he initiates the renewal of the Faith in order to renew the structures in the Church and in our hearts. The joy we experienced during the Conference 2014, which happened so long ago, originated from precisely this reality: We have “seen” the real life of the international Schoenstatt Family in which Mary “appears” not just to show us how he wants us to celebration the jubilee of his work, but also so that we can re-found the Family for the new century in loyalty to the Gospel and our Father and Founder.
Since our Father “saw” God’s real action in the simple life of his Family, he also saw it in the world. That is why we call him our “Prophet of the 31 May”.
In this Pentecostal joy in the Year of the Missionary Current on our pilgrimage to 2014,
fr. josé maría
PS: I would like to thank all who accompanied me with their prayers in these months of illness, and let you know that the results of the medical examinations are very good. I am over the acute phase. If all goes well and there is no relapse in the next two years, it will mean that I have definitely been cured. There is no better medicine than living the covenant of love in solidarity.
Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, England