Preparing a Gift - Longing for the Light
Covenant Day in Schoenstatt in marked by Christmas atmosphere
ORIGINAL SCHOENSTATT,mkf. A few days before Christmas, the Schoenstatt family all over the world united in the renewal of the Covenant of Love. The Covenant day in December was marked by the longing for Christ to be born again in a world marked by the aftermath of the terror attacks, violence and insecurity in many parts of the world. On each 18th, the Schoenstatt family, following an advice and the example of Father Kentenich, consciously renews the international solidarity of all who live in the Covenant.
A fine layer of snow had powdered Schoenstatt this morning, adding to the Christmas feel that always marks the Covenant Day in September. The Christmas trees are already placed in the Adoration Church, and shepherds are approaching the still locked stable that bears the manger. You were remembered here in Schoenstatt on this Covenant Day that united the family all over the world in the longing that Christ may be born again in our hearts and in our Shrines and bring to us and through us love, joy, and peace. Specially in this year, with Christmas in the shadow of the terror attacks of September 11, the war in Afghanistan, the never ending bloodshed in the land where Jesus was born, the recent desperate protests answered by the state of siege Argentina , and the permanent threatening of human life everywhere – unites the international Family more than ever in the longing for peace and the confidence in Mary, the Mother and Queen.
Longing for the Light – to Share it with Others
It was only a small flock that gathered in the Adoration Church for the Covenant Celebration at 7:30PM.Icy streets and being busy with Christmas preparations obviously hindered many to come. Still about 60 persons were unites with all those all over the world who on this day had come to the Shrines and wayside shrines to renew the Covenant of Love and to represent the whole international family by the tomb of Father Kentenich. The Schoenstatt Fathers' students provided songs and music. Animated and with vitality, with violin and flute, keyboard, guitars and drum, they made it a real feast.
Father Beller spoke about two main focuses of Christmas preparation:
Preparing a gift means, for Schoenstatt members, to bring their life's contribution to the Capital of Grace. In view of Christmas and the child in the crib, this gift should be the gift of pride, the readiness to descend from the throne of one's own mightiness and accept to be small, to have limitations, to be "little shepherds" who kneel by the crib.
Accepting one's own limitations, according to Fr Kentenich, is the central point of spiritual life. The gift of pride means, he explained, to free oneself from being focused on oneself to being focused on the others and on the ever-loving God of endless mercy. Expressions of pride that has not yet become a gift are, he said, being discouraged, frustrated, giving up.
The longing for the light – for the LIGHT, Christ – is a longing for the light to shine also for the others. On this Covenant day we want to ask the Blessed Mother to long with us for the light – for all.
A Personal Gift for the Child in the Crib
In a time of silence, all gave their contributions to the Capital of Grace- their gratitude for their successes, the sorrows, fears and questions, the broken pieces: as a personal gift for the child in the crib. United with all who on this day renewed their covenant of love in a Shrine, by a wayside shrine or on their home shrine, with all who carry or receive the Pilgrim Mother (several pictures stood in the Founder Chapel), all renewed their Covenant of Love.
The students intoned "Protect us with your mantle" with dynamic sound as all processed out of the church to the Covenant fire. Girls from Chile and Germany carried the jars to the fire and threw the slips of paper with the contributions to the capital of grace into the fire, while the students sang one song after the other.
One highlight of the day followed: after the celebration, the volunteers who help in Press Office Schoenstatt had their Christmas party – seven girls and professional women from Paraguay, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia had a lot of joy on this evening, enjoying the number of "common songs"!
As Schoenstatt prepares and longs for the re-opening of the Original Shrine on December 23, ready to represent the whole international family here and to take the prayer intentions to the Original Shrine and Founder Chapel, all Schoenstatt members feel urged to ask for the Light of the Holy Night to shine in all dark of the earth, so that all may find a way home to the Eternal Father's kingdom of love that this child came to proclaim.
All are invited to express and share their Christmas wishes and their solidarity with the international family, specially with those living in the regions of crisis, via "Schoenstatt Meeting" in www.schoenstatt.de:
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