It is important to rediscover the birth of the Son of God as the most important event of history. It is the event foretold by the prophets centuries before it happened. It is the event that is still spoken of today: which historical figure do we speak of like we speak of Jesus? Twenty centuries have passed and Jesus lives more than ever – and he is also more persecuted, very often – and more soiled by the lack of witness of many Christians. Twenty centuries have passed. And those who turn away from him, by their behavior, bear further witness to Jesus: without him, man falls prey to evil: to sin, vice, selfishness, violence and hatred. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us: this is the event that we must rediscover (Fr. Kentenich, Christ My Life, p. 90).
To say that Christ is born anew in our Schoenstatt shrines is to confirm in our lives that Christ should take form in us through the educational activity of the Blessed Mother. If the Church will bear the features of Christ in the future, Mary has to intervene with her power in forming the heart of Christian souls. Besides the grace of transformation which assists our nature in overcoming temptations and facing difficulties with a Christ-like or Marian attitude, we know that sufferings, too, take us deep into the school of Christ. Every time we experience suffering is a moment in which Christ takes form in us; we resemble him. Do not such moments have historical significance in our lives? In the same way, we reflect on the suffering that humanity continues to go through in the present time. Christ wants to be born in us anew; he wants that we are formed after his image. He continues to take hold of world history. Are we willing to let him take hold of our own personal history?
This Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord with increased longing for the consoling presence of Christ in our lives, we spiritually or physically place ourselves in the atmosphere of the shrine. Our Schoenstatt Bethlehem continues to be a small yet powerful fountain of graces for each of us in our constant striving to resemble Christ. The shrine, today more than ever, is the place where the Blessed Mother awaits us with compassion for the people of our times.
Perhaps, like the shepherds and the Magi, we, too, can hasten to the place where Christ is born to have a deep encounter with him and fill our souls with his light, that we may share it with others. When we come to the shrine, let us bring along, in our hearts, the many, many people who eagerly wait to see the features of Christ being revealed in a human person. Are we, as Schoenstatt children, willing to become those new persons in whom Christ can be born anew, through whom Christ can come to our times to free them from selfishness, at last?
If this Christmas will be one of historical significance, it does not have to primarily be due to all the conflicts and trials of the past months. The transformation of each Schoenstatt child into a living image of Christ and Mary, in the simple ordinariness of routines, chores, prayers, conversations, and encounters can make of this Christmas one of historical significance. Let Christ be born in us anew!
We read in the Gospel of Luke (1:4-11):
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”