Greetings for January 15, 2022

Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine! 

Much too fast, the Christmas season came to a close and by now we are well into the new year 2023. Only ten days ago, we buried Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, a friend of Schoenstatt. His first encyclical letter Deus Caritas est encapsulates the heart of the Christian faith in a single phrase: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). Being a Christian is essentially an encounter with a person who gives life a new direction. The late pontiff’s final words: “Jesus, I love you” attest to that. Our faith in Christ is not an “add-on” or an “extra”; it is the core of who we are as Christians.

As Schoenstatters we have made a covenant of love with the Blessed Mother who wants to put our hearts in order so that pure love can emanate from us. This love includes love for the cross. On January 20, we commemorate the second milestone of Schoenstatt’s history. This date is not just one among many other remembrance days in Schoenstatt’s rich history, but it is on the same level with October 18, 1914, the founding day, and with the other two milestones, May 31, 1949, and October 22, 1965.

For our father and founder, January 20, 1942, is the axis about which our whole Schoenstatt  history revolves. What happened before is verifiably directed to this day. What happened afterward wants to be seen as a consequence of this day. Therefore January 20, 1942, cannot be overestimated in its importance for Schoenstatt. Father Kentenich even compared this date to the events of “Holy Week”, that is, the celebration of the suffering and resurrection of Jesus whereby it is self-understood that this must be considered on an endlessly lower level. 

On January 20, 1942, the covenant of love matured to love for the cross. In this way, Schoenstatt is drawn into the great stream of going the way of the cross with Jesus. Father Kentenich’s total surrender to God’s will of January 20, 1942, to freely go to the Dachau concentration camp is ultimately a deed of freedom. Our father and founder staked his exterior freedom so that we would grow into the freedom of the children of God.

 May our Covenant Queen also implore this miracle of inner transformation for us! 

Sursum Corda!

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary 

Sursum Corda Moments …

  • In high school, there are plenty of people who are in need of a living Sursum corda. There’s this girl at school, and she doesn’t think she’s smart because she’s not “school smart”. She is talented in other ways; for example, she is a wonderful musician. Once I told her: “You’re not dumb, you’re just unconventionally smart.” Sometime later, she told me that touched her so much that she now has it on a sticky note on her bathroom mirror as a reminder. It really lifted up her heart! – S.V.
  • My religion class in our homeschool co-op this year has helped me lift up my heart to God in a way I never thought was possible. – M.H.
  • As the oldest of 8, you lift up a lot of hearts. Sometimes it’s pretty hard, but you have a constant opportunity to lift up others’ hearts. Constantly. – L.G.

Lead from the Shrine…

Our home shrine was established on June 16,1990, when my brother, Ruben Montez, Jr. and his lovely wife, Christel Montez, presented it to us at our wedding. Since then, our MTA has been the focal point of our home.

Before moving into our apartment and three homes thereafter, our home shrine was moved in first. Throughout the liturgical season, our home shrine has been adorned with sacramentals and special items that remind us of the particular season. During challenging times, our homeshrine was the place we shared our inner most thoughts and petitions. It serves as the place of honor and comfort when we leave and greets us upon entering our home.  During joyous occasions, our family has always placed good news or important information such as our daughter’s study notes, medical reports that showed we were in good health, resumes for jobs for which we were hired, school certificates, awards, etc. 

At times, one could see wedding/graduation or funeral announcements for friends or loved ones and tokens of gratitude on our home shrine. We have fond memories of our daughters’ missing toys that were found and in thanksgiving, were placed on our home shrine before playing with them.  All of our innermost thoughts, challenging events and concerns have been offered to our dear Blessed Mother for the past 31 years. She remains the haven we seek during our high, lows and everything in between that life seems to present to us on a daily basis.

Growing up, my parents, Ruben & Rosa Montes, made it a point to always honor their/our home shrine with fresh flowers…a tradition we still honor in the Hernandez home shrine. Through our daily act of consecration, the Blessed Mother has always taken perfect care!

Belinda and Mike Hernandez, Reno, AZ

Greetings for January 15, 2022

What do you think of this remark? “The worst purchase I’ve ever made was a 2020 planner.” Of course, it’s a joke, but is it? May be some of us had similar thoughts!? Pretty much all of last year Covid-19 had us in its grip. Time and again, just when we thought that the worst is over, a new virus variant emerged, forcing us back into restrictions and additional precautions. At the same time, we feel growing resentment and resistance to the restrictions.

Yet, in light of Divine Providence we know the past year, each of its 365 days had a purpose and included many lessons for us to learn. Perhaps the exterior restrictions were meant for us to grow in inner freedom. How about the many home projects we could have tackled or the many resolutions concerning our eating habits could have been easily kept. The virus only apparently makes us think that the world is on pause but we can always move forward with a lot of our goals and strivings.

If nothing else, 2021 taught us that time matters, that it’s a free gift inviting us to sanctify it with our efforts to make of ourselves a gift of love for others. The Blessed Mother, our covenant partner, is our model and teacher on how to view each day as an opportunity to live with trust in Divine Providence and charity to all. From the shrine, she wants to direct us to follow her paths.

With Prayers from the Confidentia Shrine,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

P.S. Please check our website calendar for upcoming retreat and workshop opportunities.