Love is Stronger
Closing of the October Week and German Schoenstatt Movement's Motto 2002
(mkf) "Love is stronger": With this motto and task, the approximately 700 delegates of the German Schoenstatt Movement on Sunday returned from the October Week to the places where this declaration and the motivation given during the three day-long meeting are made and intended for: to the places where an effective love, stirred up by real life, is to move mountains and to change the destiny of those in reach of each person and each community.
After the closing Holy Mass a brass band intoned military marches while the participants headed for the lunch distribution. If the verve of this music is to indicate the quality of the Schoenstatt Movement's come apostolic activity, then move is to be expected, and, as Father Heinrich Walter pointed at the end of the closing Holy Mass, the Schoenstatt family is continuing to understand itself more and more as Schoenstatt movement.
"Duc in altum! A new apostolic outreach is needed"
A new apostolic outreach is needed which will be lived as the everyday commitment of Christian communities and groups, wrote Pope John Paul II at the beginning of this year. The impetus of these words marked the October Week to a high degree. Not only the detonation of bombs would be noticed in these days but also the silent thread of potentially deadly anthrax germs in letters, said Father Beller, Movement Director of the German Schoenstatt Movement in his talk for the presentation of the come year's motto: Love is stronger. This would be the answer to the atmosphere of growing fear, insecurity, and fury. Not to be misunderstood as withdrawal from the world, Schoenstatt would set out to proclaim and live a message of hope. The "day of the apostolic initiatives" had encouraged to active work for and in the world. "We do not withdraw," Father Beller said, "but discover 'relatives' in the world instead of being worried. We have our friends in the world." The examples from practical apostolate had proved that change and dynamic are not only possible but already put into practice. Not only in view of human sexuality the subject of the study day but in general it is necessary to overcome a mental formalism that is creating careful distance and hinders from the new apostolic outreach so fervently longed for by the Holy Father.
Covenant of Love as Process
The Covenant of Love applied to life could be described with the new motto, Father Beller added: Her, the Blessed Mother's, love is stronger. Stronger than own lack of courage (often the result of pride and inferiority complex), lethargy or offense. The new motto could, instead, enkindle an attitude of "holy unrest", inspiring to "always do a little bit more" and thus overcome the tendency to withdraw in a subtle way of resignation. The Blessed Mother, in the Covenant of Love, is the actual mover of moved and moving apostles!
Acting Instead of Complaining
The slogan "Love is stronger" could also help to overcome a basic pattern of hopelessness: the "culture of complaining". Many persons had no other response to the situation of the world than complaining. "Obviously it is a sort of relax to talk about the faults and failures of the others and to complain about the evilness of the world, and not even think of doing anything to change this," Father Beller remarked. In this context, "Love is stronger" would instead mean just to begin to do something. This could mean more than 10 statements about successful apostolic initiatives on the come October Week. Who would feel inspired to share should simply ask for a statement next year! "Or better already in the meantime share via the Schoenstatt Meeting on schoenstatt.de", Father Heinrich Walter later commented.
"Love must become effective", this idea was picked up by Father Heinrich Walter, chairperson or the German National Presidium, main celebrant of the closing Holy Mass." The word had been written on a card placed by the new Father Kentenich statue on Mount Schoenstatt that the Girls' Youth had "conquered" the other night; candy gifts in the hands of Father Kentenich were their expression of effective love! "Love is stronger" only when love would become effective in concrete deeds, Father Walter said, this motto would have fully understood.
The Schoenstatt Girls' Youth provided songs and music for the final Holy Mass. For the offering of the gifts, they brought symbols of the wish to bring together the October Week and every day life: a notepad and ballpoint pen for all the notes taken (on paper and in mind) to not become ineffective for every day life; a net as sign or community, a rose for the longing for undivided organic love, the Founding Document as expression of the confidence in Schoenstatt's covenant of love to be an answer at times a yet to discover to the problems and challenges of the world.
At the end of the Mass, Father Walter invited to prayers for the come first ecumenical meeting of the Ecclesial Movements in Germany on December 8 in Munich.
The Social Dimension of Love
After Mass, quick lunch, coffee and cake were offered, accompanied by the brass band's music: the delegates, the people from the area who had come for the Sunday Mass in Schoenstatt, Philippine women from the Frankfurt area, Brazilian pilgrims meeting with friends in Schoenstatt, a computer expert from California who had already often visited Schoenstatt via internet, youth from Paraguay and Chile, Schoenstatt members from the various houses came together. Positive comments on the new motto and the October Week in general were overheard frequently, in a climate of joy in new apostolic outreach. "We are an Apostolic Movement," Father Ángel Strada commented. "That means, we exist for the people and therefore are an evangelizing force in the church. I am sure that the motto will bear fruit if it won't only be applied to the constricted private space, in a certain narrow-minded way, but instead where one reaches out actively to others in apostolic commitment: parish, organization, kindergarten, school, trade union We need to understand the social dimension of love."
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