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Apostolic Movement

Covenant of Love Day: Becoming Prophetic, Like Mary

By: Fr. Hubert Vonlanthen

Dear Schoenstatt Family all over the world,

Greetings on the celebration of the Covenant of Love Day.

We remember with gratitude and joy that on October 18, 1914, in Schoenstatt/Vallendar, God gave us a place (Shrine), a Mother (Mary) and a mission (charism) for a renewal of the present time and with a vision of the Church of the future through his chosen instrument, Father Kentenich.

Our place, our origins – blessed by God

From a tiny grain of wheat, a worldwide work of Divine Providence has emerged, which has proven its worth in two world wars, has endured persecution and the concentration camps of the Nazi regime unshakably, has fearlessly faced the trials of the Church and will continue to face all current judgmental inquiries.

A prophetic mission must go through the fire of purification and clarification if it is to be confirmed as a charism given by God to the Church, and that can be painful.

We can be filled – despite all our weaknesses, shortcomings and mistakes – with modest but honest pride, and above all with great gratitude for what has been achieved over time, in Europe and in other continents, in our worldwide renewal Movement in terms of a holy life, the ever novel and creative impulses for renewal, the emergence of many spiritual and family Communities of lay people and consecrated persons, but especially of courageous and fruitful individual initiatives. We are grateful for so many unprecedented pioneering actions by João Pozzobon, Gertraud von Bullion, Blessed Karl Leisner, Maria Laufenberg, Mario Hiriat, Father Franz Reinisch, Sister M. Emilie Engel, and various Communities in every continent. Of course, this always goes hand in hand with a constant readiness for inner conversion and the sanctification of our daily lives.

Our Covenant of Love, source of living fruitfulness

At the root of our family history and in the powerful growth and development of the Movement with the challenging goal of living to the fullest the charism that God has entrusted to us for the good of the Church and society in a forward-looking manner, is the Covenant of Love. The Covenant of Love with Mary, the core of our Schoenstatt spirituality, has emerged from the Judeo-Christian Covenant theology, which can be described as the key to understanding the entire salvific action and work of God in this world and in the life of each individual person.

It is none other than an invitation to take seriously the testament of Jesus dying on the cross in a new, original way, and to make it fruitful for our personal relationship with Mary, for our devotion to Jesus, to the triune God, but also for our service to our neighbor. Jesus says to all of us from the cross: “Here is your mother! And he entrusts us all to his mother: “Woman, behold your son/ your daughter” (Jn 19:26-27). Who better than his mother Mary to help us grow in a relationship of love, trust and fidelity of heart with Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, who overcomes pain and suffering?

Whoever undertakes the spiritual journey of personal devotion and personal attachment to Mary, the mother of Jesus and spiritual mother of all Christians, and of all people in the Covenant of love, will be drawn increasingly and more deeply into her spiritually enlightened perception of God’s loving closeness and presence, into the open and often hidden action of her Son, and into the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Our charism – at the service of the Church and of the world

“Mary kept in her heart all that had happened and pondered it” (Lk 2:19). Mary thinks, lives, and loves entirely in the light and in the love of God. She is a teacher of spiritual contemplation, which St. Ignatius of Loyola called “seeking and finding God in all things” and Father Kentenich called “practical faith in Divine Providence”. She is also a teacher in the education of the new man upon whom the living community of the Church is built.

Our charism and the mission of May 31st

Dear Schoenstatt Family, if all of us, prophetically like Mary, constantly recommit ourselves to this spiritual path, then we will give the Church the most important and decisive thing it urgently needs today: a spiritual experience that has been tested many times in our family – in view of the reality before us – to recognize and fulfill God’s true will anew. We want to and can give this charism to the Church and to the world. The upcoming 75th anniversary of Schoenstatt’s third milestone (Shrine of Schoenstatt Bellavista/Chile), May 31, 2024, also reminds us of this God-given task and mission.

It is beautiful that we travel together in this way through all the continents and that we can contribute to becoming “leaven” for a renewed and synodal Church.

I wish you all a profound blessing on Covenant Day.

*P. Hubert Vonlanthen, member of the International Secretariat of the Schoenstatt Priests’ Federation, delegate to the General Presidium


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