Erica Carlson, Young Professional Women, MN

Last weekend I was able to participate in the National Leaders’ Convention at the International Shrine in Waukesha. This convention takes place annually, and Schoenstatt leaders from all over the country attend. It is a time for Schoenstatt members to come together and share the initiatives and streams that are alive in their different regions. One of the highlights of the weekend is the formulation of a new motto that will guide the Schoenstatt Family in the United States for the next 12 months. After sharing ideas and joining together in fervent prayer and discussion, the following motto was chosen: United in Mary—On fire, we go forward!

The image of Pentecost comes to mind: The Apostles were gathered around the Blessed Mother, who united them all in her heart. She was their point of reference, their anchor and security. It was thus united in her, that the Holy Spirit was able to fill them with his fire, giving them the grace and strength to go forward and dare to do what they had formerly been afraid or unable to do. In this same spirit, the Schoenstatt Family wants to focus on our need for unity in Mary this year, so she can transform us into holy apostles who are on fire for our great mission in the Church and world.

Tim Olsen, Couples League, IL

As we reflected on the new motto: United in Mary—on fire we go forward!, it struck us how well it parallels the three graces from the shrine: the graces of being at home, inner transformation, and of apostolic zeal.  To be in unity in Mary is at the heart of having a home with her (a place where we find peace, forgiveness, mercy and love).  From there the fire which needs to lite us a flame should certainly involve inner transformation, as she turns us more fully to the Father.   And finally, that fire should drive us forward with apostolic zeal.  It’s the process which is at the heart of Schoenstatt through the graces of the shrine—an excellent guide to our Schoenstatt work, in the coming year!

The emphasis on unity gives us a particular aspect of home to focus on.  Often in our work, we can get caught up in the pursuit of inner transformation and going forth with zeal, but it is really the grace of being at home which starts it all.  If we do not feel at home, then we will not be fully open to inner transformation.  And if we aren’t open to inner transformation, we will have no zeal to go forward with.  But, knowing how to build that home, can be tricky to conceive in our minds.  Building unity is certainly a key aspect of that home and gives us a more specific target in this year.  And if we can successfully build unity in our families, in our groups and in our communities, then, we can passionately go forward.

Mother and Queen, grant us the grace to be voices of forgiveness, mercy and peace-making to a church in need.  Use the smallness of our contributions, to heal the divisions that plague us and go forth, bearing Christ to the world.