On Saturday morning, 5th November, we, the Schoenstatt Family, gathered once again at the Provincial House of the Schoenstatt Sisters. The Schoenstatt Mothers’ Union organised the registration and, to our delight, the conference room was full to capacity. Promptly at 9 am the program began. The chairing couple of our Diocesan Family Council welcomed Father Michael and gave an overview of the day. With open ears and hearts, notepads, pencils and recording devices, all were ready to listen to the inspiring words of Father Michael. Below is a summary of the first talk of the morning.
SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER THE MARIAN PERSON AS GOD’S IMAGE OF THE HUMAN PERSON
Fr. Michael continued the discussion on Father Kentenich’s charism and highlighted that he spread a covenant culture of relationships which led to HEALING, INTEGRATION and WHOLENESS. He briefly touched on the theology and psychology of Schoenstatt’s spirituality, showing how our founder drew on modern psychological understanding as well as theology to develop his own psycho-spiritual approach. Mary was presented as our ongoing EDUCATOR [life-coach]-she is the redeemed person, the new person who can form us into new persons.
The question was asked; can you experience something of heaven in a difficult situation? Two examples are: Fr. Dresbach said that in the hell of Dachau he found heaven due to our founder’s presence. In our Zimbabwean members we have another example of loyalty to the covenant in the midst of chaos.
[Psalm 8 refers to our dignity, being made little less than a God …being crowned with glory]. Thus, we need to be fully aware of our inner dignity no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
The Marian person is the NEW PERSON, the one who loves God. Mary’s task is that Christ is born anew in us each day. She lives in a network of relationships with God, creation and the whole of humanity, and through our covenant we are drawn into this whirlpool, this vortex of relationships.
The question for us is DO WE have the capacity to form such God-willed relationships both on the vertical and horizontal levels. If we look around, we see the extent of abuse, rape, xenophobia which all point to a breakdown in relationships. In the covenant of love, we learn how to relate properly.
To return to charisms – in the Church we see how different charisms responded to the needs of the times – foundations arose that concentrated on health and healing or education and/or addressing poverty. For our new times the most urgent need is for relationships. Schoenstatt has an answer through the covenant of love and through our earnest self-education.
HOW DO WE BECOME MARIAN, NEW PERSONS?
We need to discover who we are!
- Relationship to the ‘self’
Self-mastery entails a process of growth of one’s inner self through experiencing self-confusion; self-discovery; self-acceptance and self-possession. This is a process of journeying through our own life history [could be with the help of another] so as to come to a stage where we have fully accepted ourselves and have attained ‘an inner possession’ of self.
- I – you – we – GOD relationships: The Covenant of love in all its dimensions-height, width, depth.
Relationships develop over time to God in the height and depth. Relationships to our fellow human beings also grow in depth and are linked to God
- This is a personal life process.
In Father King’s book the various section headings point to various facets of our ‘self’ that should be worked on: that is, ‘setting the soul free’; ‘unmasking the true self’; ‘becoming cheeky’; ‘a life that is stuck on’; ‘repression compensation and guilt’.
After the war many left their faith since religion was only experienced as an outer form that had not penetrated their inner life. [One can also think about how the Second Vatican Council which changed some rituals and forms affected some …] Our founder founded a Movement that can change the world since he saw the inner and outer forms in an organic holistic way.
In the next post we will see how Father Michael develops the theme of the inner person and how Schoenstatt can help us to discover who we are and strengthen our character.