Our Marriage – a Sign of God's Love
Marriage Preparation Seminar in Schoenstatt
(mkf) "Marriage is not just a state, it is a task." – A key insight shared during the marriage preparation seminar in Schoenstatt around Easter. The young people who participated wanted not only to prepare for their wedding but also their marriage. A culture of love and an organic view of sexuality, conflicts as a chance to grow, marriage as sign of God's love, differences between man and woman, communication – a wide range of topics related to marriage were presented by the seminar team. Designing and crafting their wedding candle challenged the couples to work through the various inspirations of the days and find their own way to express what they want to see as central in their future marriage.
The seminar was marked by the liturgy of the Holy Week and Easter. On Easter, the couples joined in the Easter Vigil in the Adoration Church on Mount Schoenstatt; the other Masses and prayer services were celebrated in the House Chapel of House Marienau, the Easter Mass in the Shrine of the Families. The "terrific Masses," as one participant said, created an atmosphere of openness towards the religious and the sacramental dimension of marriage.
How to Live a Good Marriage
The couples gave more time to the preparation of their marriage than usual. The seminar team, the Müller family, the Lerchen family, Sr. Louise Schulz and Father Bernhard Schneider,spoke about various aspects and dimensions of marriage. One of the couples said that the "difference between man and woman" as presented by Sr . Louise was for them the highlight of the seminar. "For us, it was clearly understood: We want to make all of our decisions together, no matter how trivial they may be," said a young woman from the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth. "We want to talk over our decisions – not with just anybody but with each other."
Father Schneider showed marriage as a concrete sign of God's love; organic view of sexuality and NFP were topics of the presentations given by young families. Other themes were conflicts as a chance to grow, a common style of life as couple, and the practical preparations for the wedding. "We really feel well prepared after the many good ideas and inspirations of these days," a young man said.
The Wedding Candle and the Candle in the Shrine of the Families on the Day of the Wedding
"I can't believe that!" A young woman marvels at her future husband's so far hidden talents of crafting and designing, while he (for the first time in his life) was busy decorating their wedding candle. During the times given for conversation as a couple and also during those times of common creative activity, the couples found many possibilities to talk about the presentations and apply the ideas to their own future marriage. During the Easter Vigil, the couples, many of them embracing each other, smiling, walked to the altar to bring their wedding candles to the Risen Lord.
It is a good tradition in these seminars, resumed in 2001, that the participating couples also design a common candle with a symbol representing each couple. "When I walked ahead at the beginning of the wedding Mass," a young man who had been in this seminar the year before shared, "trembling, I suddenly thought of this candle that would now burn for us in the Shrine of the Families in Schoenstatt. That was a real comfort!"
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, US
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