A Family that Lives from 18th to 18th
By Sister María Victoria Villalón
In each Schoenstatt Shrine there is a jar with the words: “Nothing without you, MTA, nothing without us.” Throughout the month, this jar is filled with the contributions of all those who visit the shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt (or send them through the website) and express their childlike love for the Mother of the Church by offering contributions to the capital of grace. This includes, in the words of our founder, “What I bear and endure, what I say and what I dare, what I think and what I cherish, all the merits that I gain, what I direct and what I conquer, all my joys and all my sorrows, what I am and what I have,” that “I give to you as a gift of love.”
Every 18th of the month, the day on which we celebrate and renew our covenant of love as an international Schoenstatt Family, all these gifts of love are offered once more in the shrine in a simple but solemn celebration transmitted virtually. As part of this monthly act, the contributions to the capital of grace rise up to heaven in a bonfire that expresses our longing to stay oriented towards heaven and to discover the love of God that accompanies us in our daily life and to trust that Mary takes perfect care of us. After renewing our covenant of love, we receive inspiration from Fr. Pushpa, Director of the Movement, to live the covenant until the 18th of the next month.
We are an international family, so our covenant renewals at the International Shrine of the Father Kingdom – envisioned by our founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, as the National Shrine for the Schoenstatt Family in the USA – are bilingual. It is a joy for us that even during this time of pandemic, we may come together each month, spiritually united in the shrine, to strengthen our bond with our Mother Thrice Admirable, with our founder, and with each other.
At the end of each covenant celebration, we implore our Mother for the pilgrimage graces that she gladly grants in her shrine to all those who visit her physically or spiritually. The grace of finding a home in our shrine gives us the certainty of being loved by God the Father and renews us in the mission of welcoming the world with its needs and challenges. The grace of spiritual transformation impels us more and more each day to allow ourselves to be educated by Mary and to transform our lives and our environments according to the example of her Son, Jesus. The grace of apostolic fruitfulness enkindles us to reach out to our homes, neighborhoods, cities, schools, universities, and workplaces as instruments of God in the hands of Mary.
You are welcome to join us each month on the 18th from 7:30-8:00pm CT through the following link!