Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine, 

With the falling of the leaves and the dreary weather, the month of November reminds us of our mortality: All Saints’ and Souls’ Day at the beginning of November and Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year evoke thoughtfulness and quiet contemplation. Due to the attack on Israel and the ongoing wars in the Holy Land and Ukraine, our contemplation is interrupted by ineffable suffering and death. News reports and commentaries speak a language of horrific, unbearable, inhuman revenge, retaliation, hatred, and annihilation. Warnings like conflagration and an impending world war remind us of the apocalyptic age. The suffering caused by hatred and violence is always the suffering of very specific people. And every individual whose life is destroyed by hatred and violence reveals to us our powerlessness at the threshold of death.

In a text on prayer from 1944 during the Second World War and while he was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp, our founder formulated: “Christ promised: ‘Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you’. That is why we can call prayer the greatest power on earth, … It is more powerful than the power of money and science, more effective than the force of arms and the creative power of genius. In a word, its efficacy exceeds the power of all natural factors, whether they be named individually or collectively. They can only produce natural effects. In its own way, prayer can set the same thing in motion. It decides the war – often more than weapons … There is nothing in the natural order that it cannot give to us. Moreover, it reaches into the supernatural order and brings its goods to the life of mankind and humanity” (Instruction on Prayer, Kentenich 1944).

Already in the early days of Schoenstatt, a special current of prayer emerged. Many Schoenstatters resolved to carry out their daily lives and professions in inner union with the shrine and reported concrete prayer intentions to Schoenstatt.  Full-time workers in Schoenstatt were to bring these intentions to the shrine. At that time, it was called a “Marian service of honor.”

Father Kentenich refers to this in the rest of the text, mentioned above: “Only those who know how to correctly assess the power of prayer can sense the great importance of our Marian service of honor for the welfare and well-being of the whole family. We like to refer to it as our loving and praying power and thus aptly express its position in the overall structure of the family, our tasks, and our expectations. The way each generation values the Marian service of honor testifies in an unmistakable measure to the nature and degree of its supernatural disposition.

Today’s world has become unhinged because it has eliminated the great power of prayer from its calculations. Only a return to prayer can save it. All this inspires us to assert our claims of love again and again through fervent supplication: for our family and its fruitfulness, for its victoriousness in the struggle of time, for canonizable saints from its ranks, for the right use of freedom until the end of time, for holy vocations, for good parents and superiors, for Schoenstatt’s mission in the world and the Church …”

What hinders us from turning all our deeds and prayers into the capital of grace and in this way contributing personally to enduring peace in the world? As always, it starts at home. Let us lift up our hearts in prayer and gratitude. 

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary  

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