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!
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary