A reflection on the meaning of the Mass of God’s Instrument found in Heavenwards
In the spring of 1945, a few months before being released from the concentration camp of Dachau, our father and founder finalized the prayers of the Mass of God’s Instruments. These prayers reflect the concern of Father Kentenich’s heart as a father and educator. Through the different verses and short meditations, he was able to capture the meaning behind the liturgical action of the priest and of the faithful. The priest stands by the altar in persona Christi; all the faithful Christians are represented by Mary, at the foot of the altar. With and in Mary, we are God’s instruments in the work of salvation. Our part in this drama is our constant cooperation with God’s plan.
Deciding to always embrace God’s will is not easy. Therefore, through these prayers, the faithful constantly rely on the covenant of love with Mary—the perfect covenant with her—in order to ensure loyalty to the Christian way of living.
We are incorporated into the person of Christ through the sacrament of Baptism, while the sacrament of the Eucharist strengthens this bond, renews this commitment, and prepares us to live according to it. Our covenant is the means, expression, and security for a robust life of the sacraments. Mary is the example of how to carry on in daily life with a specific style, inspired by Christ’s person and mission. Just as Christ came to free the world from sin, sanctify the world, and glorify the Father, we can participate in his mission through the liturgy.
Next time you pick up Heavenwards, think of the place where these prayers were written and of the purpose they have in elevating our souls to the throne of God via the heart of Mary. The situation of the concentration camp was not conducive to deep reflections. However, Father Kentenich remained connected to the supernatural world because of his deep and personal, simple and childlike love for Mary. In our daily “Dachaus,” that is, in the extreme, difficult situations we face, we can remain connected to God, not just through technology, but also through the heart of Mary. United in Mary, on fire we go forward and upward, into the heart of God!
The Mass of God’s Instruments helps us focus our senses, thoughts, and sentiments on the reality of Christ’s sacrifice and Mary’s offering to the Heavenly Father. Every time we have the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Mass, even if it is at a distance, we are drawn into the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. We are also drawn into Mary’s participation in the history of salvation. Finally, we are drawn into each other’s history of salvation. What each one contributes in loyalty to the sacraments and to a life in coherence with our faith helps free the world from sin, sanctify the world, and glorify the Father.
You can find the text of the Mass of God’s Instrument in Heavenwards, the book of prayers written by Father Kentenich in Dachau, pages 17 – 44. Through these texts we are called to delve deep into the rich world of liturgy and into the mystery of our participation in the life of Christ and Mary.
During these days when we are not able to physically gather around the altar to participate in Holy Mass, we are invited to spiritually come as close as possible to our Lord as we carry him within the sacred sphere of our hearts. May our home shrines and heart shrines continue to be the temples where the Triune God dwells, blesses, and reigns.
We close this reflection with the words which Father Kentenich chose to close the Mass texts in Heavenwards:
We want to use all means
to draw the world
and human hearts
heavenwards to the Father.
Just as bread and wine in sacrifice
have consecrated themselves to you,
the offering shall re-echo
in all things.
All things shall resound in chorus,
“holy God” on high,
all things be consecrated,
become holy in being and action,
and with heaven
in you, the Son of God,
unveiling God’s splendor.
Through our Queen
who reigns in Schoenstatt
cast the ancient dragon
into hell’s abyss!
Let all things be your kingdom,
become like you, the Head,
and joyfully praise
the Trinity above. Amen.