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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

The Covenant of Love teaches us to serve

By: Karen Bueno

The day we seal the Covenant of Love is characterized by intense feelings. After months of preparation and expectation, we finally reach the day to come face to face with the Mother Thrice Admirable and give her our hearts. As many say, it is the moment when “heaven touches earth”.

With Mary as our model and guide

The day of the Covenant of Love closes a cycle of preparation and initiates a greater and more important one: the quest to live this surrender in daily life. The Covenant of Love demands from each Schoenstatter the commitment to build a new social order based on the Covenant Culture.

By saying “yes” to the MTA, one also gives a “yes” to the six demands of the Covenant of Love:

“Diligently bring me contributions to the capital of grace. By fulfilling your duties faithfully and conscientiously and through an ardent life of prayer, earn many merits and place them at my disposal. Then it will please me to dwell in your midst and dispense gifts and graces in abundance.” [1]

As the Founding Document of Schoenstatt points out, it is Mary’s wish that many contributions to the Capital of Grace be entrusted to her care, and she will “redistribute” these gifts and graces. Herein lies the apostolic character of the sixth Covenant demand. The Capital of Grace is not limited to collaborating in my personal life or in the lives of those close to me, but reaches out to the whole world. I can, for example, offer my sacrifices for my neighbor, or even for Christians suffering in the Middle East. And these offerings need not come from extraordinary acts, but from “fulfilling your duties faithfully and conscientiously”.

Whatever I intend to do, I do it well and out of love, placing it in Mary’s hands for the good of humanity. That is, to serve through the Covenant of Love.

Liebesbündnis
Mariengarten Shrine in Schoenstatt-Vallendar/Germany

To be servants, like Mary

Through the Covenant of Love, Mary wants to form strong personalities. She is the most perfect model of a human being to which we aspire as Christians. This is how Father Kentenich prayed, asking Mary to manifest herself in us:

“Let us reflect your image
and walk through life entirely like you:
strong and noble, simple and kind,
spreading love and peace and joy.
In us go through our times
and make them ready for Christ.” [2]

To be like Mary – one of the principles of the Covenant of Love – requires practical acts of service, for she is the great servant. The Mother of God places herself at the service of her neighbor, leading him to Christ. And therein lies the great characteristic of the Christian servant.

“The center is only Jesus. The apostle is always off-center. Because he is a servant and is at the service of the center. The decentered charism does not say “we”. “We”, or “I”. It says “Jesus”. And “I”. “Jesus and me.” “Jesus asks me.” “I have to do this for Jesus,” Pope Francis said during the private audience with the Schoenstatt Family on October 25, 2014.

To serve others by leading them to Christ through Mary, through the Covenant of Love, is what Father Kentenich asks:

“We consecrate ourselves unconditionally to Mary so that she may lead us to her divine Son.” [3]

Renewing the Covenant of Love

Aliança de Amor
Original Shrine in Vallendar/Germany

The 18th is the day to renew the Covenant of Love and to feel the same joy and enthusiasm as we did when we first consecrated ourselves. During the 2014 audience, the Pope recalled that Jesus himself participates in this moment: “In the chosen people, in the Bible, renewing the Covenant, was done on special feasts, in special years, after having won a battle, after having been liberated. And when Jesus comes, He asks us to renew the Covenant. He himself participates in this renewal in the Eucharist. Hence the importance of participating in the Eucharist every 18th, renewing our love for Jesus and Mary: “When we celebrate the Eucharist, we celebrate the renewal of the Covenant. Not only symbolically, but in a very deep, very real way. It is the very presence of God renewing the Covenant with us,” stated the Pope.

Father Joseph Kentenich, through the Covenant of Love, has created a multitude of servants, who struggle to build a new man in a new society. Today, each one of us is part of these people who have Mary as Mother and Educator and who want to be servants. The words of the Founder on October 18, 1914, are addressed to all: “You have made my plan your own. I confidently place in your hands both the project and its execution”.

 

 

[1] Act of Foundation. Translation by Fr. Rafael Fernández, Editorial Patris

[2] Heavenwards, no. 609.

[3] Founding Conference of the Marian Congregation, no. 9.

 

Source: Schoenstatt Brasil

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