"Understand that on October 18th, 1914, something great took place"
Interview with Father Tilmann Beller, Director of the German Schoenstatt Movement, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ordination.
POS. Father Tilmann Beller, Movement Director of the German Schoenstatt movement (and as such also responsible for Press Office Schoenstatt) celebrated on June 29th the 40th anniversary of his ordination. The Schoenstatt movement in Germany celebrated this anniversary with him on Sunday, July 7, 2002 with a festive religious service in the Adoration Church on Mount Schoenstatt.
In an interview on the occasion of his anniversary, Father Beller named as a "challenge of the moment" for the German Schoenstatt movement to "become free of certain less important ideas like new recruits, new territories, success, recognition through anybody. The challenge of the moment is to perceive that in our shrines heaven touches the earth. Then everything else falls into place."
He sees the work of the Press Office "as a large benefit for Schoenstatt altogether, for we know about one another."
What was the most important event for you in these forty years?
I met wonderful people, and that still happens today.
I think of an encounter with Father Johannes Tieck. I had often seen him in the community of the Schoenstatt Fathers, but I really got to know him when I gave him a ride to Austria where I was to speak at a conference of families. Father Tieck – a taciturn Westphalian until someone asked the right question! A question about families made him speak, and then he spoke a quarter of an hour without interruption. I made use of that. We held this conference for the families together - I asked the questions in this personal conversation and he, speaking without interruption, provided me with the material for my talks. He enjoyed having a young priest listen to him, and I enjoyed having such an important, such a "big" person pay attention to me.
Encounter with wonderful person is the cue: did you meet FatherKentenich personally?
My actual encounter was in the youth. Because here the thought was: We are a founder generation, the third founder generation. Father Klein told us where Schoenstatt was at – it was the time of the church testing Schoenstatt and its founder. Then a very small group of us offered our life to the Blessed Mother for him. That was my actual encounter with him. Naturally we then studied his teachings. At the university of Tübingen we really enjoyed academic freedom (one only had to pass an examination at the end). At that time, during a whole semester, I studied Father Kentenich's teachings five hours a day: The Shepherd's Mirror. That was my intellectual world. In Milwaukee, I then encountered him, and I was a bit disappointed at the beginning -- disappointed because he made so little stir… he was so simple. His secret was hidden. Now and then, like through a scratch in the wall, one could have a look into the wonderful world of his interior life. For example, when at that time he explained January 20, 1942 to me. He stood then and said: Can you understand why I acted this way? I said yes, but I had the feeling that there is a giant talking with a dwarf. I never again met a person who impressed me so well.
A question to the director of the movement: where do you see for the future the largest growth area of Schoenstatt?
In the families' movement.
And your vision of Schoenstatt 2014?
As long as you don't expect me to do something for that!! That is the task of my successor.
My vision is a perception. A perception that the Schoenstatt family has. It is the perception, that on that 18th of October 1914 something entirely great happened. One cannot "make" that. No matter how well one can talk, that must just happen. That only happens when the Spirit touches us. And when God has mercy on us.
What is the challenge of the moment for Schoenstatt?
To become free of certain less important ideas like new recruits, new territories, success, recognition through anybody, construction of a new social order where everybody listens to the Schoenstatt members who tell the world how to act… no! We must be free of such things to be free for the essential discovery: that the Blessed Mother is a wonderful woman and that God is everything and that is so important that it does not make a difference – neither to him nor to me - whether I am hermit or movement leader or whether I would produce a fiasco or would establish Schoenstatt in a new country as an object of general notice. The challenge of the moment is to perceive that in our shrines heaven touches the earth. Then everything else falls into place.
You advocated personally with high commitment for the founding of PressOffice Schoenstatt. Where do you see its meaning, and what do you expect?
A basic change of our mentality. We still carry today the burden of the exile of our founder that is long over, and we still cultivate a defensive attitude that we really don't need. On the contrary!
The PressOffice conveys what happens in our Schoenstatt world, and what is communicated is what happens here, and what is said is noticed. There are between 15,000 and 18,000 accesses per month to schoenstatt.de.
I personally think that, coming from the PressOffice, such press offices emerge in all of the German dioceses. It is my desire that we learn to express Schoenstatt in a way that others outside of Schoenstatt enjoy and like our articles.
There's another aspect that means a tremendous profit for our Schoenstatt Movement: we now know about each other. From community to community, from land to land we see a stream of information and motivation flowing, a constant stream of life. In this aspect, the freedom of the press has a crucial meaning: the international Schoenstatt does not read one central periodical of released information. No! All is really found on our Internet pages, and life processes can be transmitted and become a motivation for others.
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