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Testimony of my personal experience

with Father Josef Kentenich

Erika Alcala, Queretaro, Mexico

August 2000

Why is Father Kentenich so important in my life?

I belong to the Schoenstatt Youth for 6 years already, and the MTA has given me a lot during this time.

My father died when I was 7 years, and my mother took over father's part and tried to bring us up well and to give us all her love. But I was always longing for a father. In my heart, there was a gap that no one could fill. In the beginning, it was Mary who filled this gap by and by, but suddenly I have experienced Father Kentenich very personally.

I remember that I often prayed before the MTA picture, and I asked the Mother of God to please give me what I needed so much.

I Put Father Kentenich to the Test

I put Father Kentenich to the test. At the same time, this was a test of confidence for me.

Twice I have tried to get a visa for the United States, but twice it had been rejected. Due to this experience, I had lost all my hope and didn't want to apply for it once more.

However, I was invited to the yearly girls' program, held by the Sisters of Mary in Lamar, Texas. For this, I needed a visa. I then went to the Father-Kentenich-Room in the Schoenstatt center of Queretaro, and there I started to talk to Father Kentenich. I told him that I needed his help and if I were called to Schoenstatt, he should help me.

During this time, I had a question I thought very often of. My question was: Why so much love for Father Kentenich?

Then I told him that he shall be my adoptive father. When I would get the visa to go to Lamar, this would be his "YES" to this plan.

A friend told me that Father Kentenich also had to apply for a visa once, and that, in this time, he prayed several times the confidence prayer ("I trust in your power..."). I had many doubts and thought they wouldn't give me the visa. I prayed, but I also had doubts.

Seven months I prayed to Father Kentenich to get this visa, but I had forgotten what I had proposed. I prayed the novena "Courage of Faith", I prayed for the consul, and I gave many contributions to the capital of grace, to get the visa. This was my greatest concern.

The day came when I had to apply for the visa at the American embassy. While my friends talked and made plans, I was silent and prayed the confidence prayer ("I trust...").

When it was our turn at the counter, it didn't even take 15 minutes, and I had the visa. I was blissfully happy and could hardly believe it.

When I arrived in Lamar, I remembered my request to Father Kentenich and then I knew he had accepted to be my father. Now he was my father, but the trust and love between us first had to be earned. I had to become child so that he could be father. I started to try to put everything in his hands, starting with the responsibilities. I always thought, I have to know everything and I have to be strong. Now I had to learn to be weak and little so that he can show his power and help.

And so the love between father and child has started to grow. He is responsible for me like a father, who cares for his children so that they have what they need. Some things were and are hard. I try to lay everything in his hands that is difficult, that hurts, that is unpleasant, the doubts, but also the joys. You have to try again and again, until you are sure that everything lies in his hands. Then you find out for certain that he takes care of everything.

So my longing for the father is slowly soothed. The gap is filled with the presence and love of the father. The love makes his presence living, and I experience myself as his child, and my self-confidence towards problems and people has grown by and by.

Before, I cried everywhere. I still do it, but only before him, because I may be his child. I give myself to him. I don't have to look for comfort here and there, because he is my comfort and he wants me to give everything I am and I have.

This relationship to Father Kentenich helps me to see God as a personal father, too. If Father Kentenich is a model of paternal love and love in general, the more it is God, and if I love Father Kentenich, I love God, too, and can feel him. Now I don't see God to be far away. Now I feel him to me my father. This is the way Father Kentenich leads us to God.

Why Father Kentenich is so Important to my Life

During this time, when I tried to explain to you how I have found Father Kentenich, I discovered three important things I want to share with you. They will help you better understand, why Father Kentenich is so important to my life.

  1. I have received this grace from the shrine
  2. I have my very personal experience with Father Kentenich
  3. I have experienced his help.

To love Father Kentenich is a grace that is given to us in the shrine. Don't forget that Father Kentenich is a contact person. The love for Father Kentenich is a gift that Mary gives us. This grace turns us into children.

When I realized that it is a grace, my love became even greater. It is a blessing, given to me personally. I don't love Father Kentenich because the Sisters of Mary or my friend told me so, but because this real and true love has grown in me. I may not give a love that is not real. I shall not force myself to love him. Because it is a grace and it grows from within. It is not something that has been created outwardly, but comes from the heart. I love our Father, because I have experienced him. He is part of my life. He and I, we have exchanged many things. He has conquered my love and I want to conquer his love, too. That takes time and prayers so that the confidence comes to life and I can experience him as my father and can be his child.

Yes, the prayers help, but I also need something practical, visible, to practice my confidence. I use the picture of the father hands to cultivate my connection to the Father. I lay in his hands my work and my plans as well as my worries and fears, my dreams and my sadness and my joy. That helps me. I know that someone holds me and helps me.

Third, I have experienced the help from our Father. I can say that it helps me very much to know how he acted in difficult situations. If we experience our Father personally, then we can love him. I have experienced his help in many difficult situations. I ask for his help in little things, too.

Father Kentenich always waits for me, but I want to seek him to talk to him, to ask for his advice or to receive a word of encouragement. Something I like very much is to call him, and it really works. When something happens I don't understand, I take a father telephone card and I am amazed at his answer. Once I have read that "the telephone line to heaven is never engaged", and its true. You can call the Father again and again and he will always answer. And its fun to ask him questions or just to call him. Moreover, it doesn't cost anything!

All those little things make my relationship to Father Kentenich so personal. Each time I feel more and more that I want to know him better. The more I know him, the more I love him. I don't need to read all the books there are about him. My urge to know more about him comes on my own. In my life with Father Kentenich, I discovered that we have something in common, and that unites us. For example the fact that he didn't have his father near him when he was a child and that this didn't hinder him to come closer to God and see him as his own father. That has helped very much to understand that I never were alone and that God, my father, is always with me.

Father, your eyes tell me
so they say, my dearest child
come, come up closely to me.

Nothing will happen, I am here
you are mine, child
for I chose you,
to create a happy place
from this world.

And that everybody knows
say incessantly yes
that a dearest child
you are for me.

The mist is not important
neither is the gray night
You are sheltered
very close to me.
And I chose you
For you are my dearest child
this is what you are.

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