by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 08/07/2011 -
In this year of the Father we celebrate the Ordination Anniversary of our Founder. I would like to share an important text with you today – a talk he gave on the Silver Anniversary of his Priestly Ordination as a sign of our celebration today.
The text is adapted from P. Wolf, In Union With the Father
1935 was the year of our founder’s twenty fifth jubilee of ordination. He had always kept a low profile and as a rule avoided being photographed. Apparently, it took many by surprise when he actually permitted his jubilee to be celebrated on a larger scale. He availed himself of this jubilee in order to make the Family aware of the deep interconnectedness they had with him and among themselves in the Movement. He gave his followers a sense of being a family and gratefully acknowledged this interconnectedness. In a lively way he shared how he, on his part, was indebted to them; that, in fact, he could vividly remember who had contributed what to Schoenstatt. In this speech given on his silver jubilee of ordination, he spoke about a mutual, inner contact in which he perceived the fruitfulness of the spiritual community that had grown around him. The founder drew attention to this family interconnectedness for yet another reason; namely, in reference to the impending difficulties expected from the Third Reich (Nazi Germany). It is worthwhile to take note of this mutual connectedness unveiled in this speech.
From: J. Kentenich, Talk on the occasion of the celebration of the silver jubilee of ordination, Schoenstatt, August 11, 1935
I may and must also address a word of thanks to the living. Above all, I am referring to all those who, for the last twenty five years or at least for the greater part of these years, have linked their lives and their destinies with mine. Let me repeat: Try to find another community today which is so much the spirit of the spirit and flesh of the flesh of the individual members as is the case with us Or am I exaggerating? Am I trying, by means of a few diplomatic strokes, to shake off and transfer to others everything that may be unpleasant? No! I am convinced that the entire work which has come into existence is just as much your work as it is mine. I do not know where I should begin. Since the entire celebration has more the character of a family affair, you will not take it amiss if I speak more in the first person than I usually do.
Please hear and examine what I say. Think of all those who bear responsibility for the Family – of the oldest and the middle generation, of the Schoenstatt Priests, the Ladies of Schoenstatt, and the Sisters of Mary. For the most part with one possible exception everyone’s destiny has been connected with mine for decades. Am I mistaken when I even state: It can be proven that their calling to Schoenstatt has always been connected with a prior personal encounter. I would be grateful to you if you examined such statements because it is very important to me that we feel just how much we have grown together interiorly, just as the Triune God has intended from all eternity. “Quod Deus iunxit, homo non separet.” (“What God has joined together, let no one put asunder.”)
Our mutual faithfulness will become all the deeper and stronger, the more clearly we see how God has mysteriously connected the destinies of people. Where and when did these encounters take place? It would surely be tactless to lift the veil from so many mysteries in this public gathering.
When I think of the first generation, of all those who work directly with me now, it is a matter of course that their child-likeness found an answer in my life and that their entire lives are linked with what I thought and wanted.
When I think back to the first generation of our Schoenstatt Priests or of our Sisters, I know that in most instances, the first meeting usually took place during a convention or a private conversation. I think I could still prove to each individual person in detail: It was at this instant when grace started to work; from this particular moment on we came into deeper contact, and at this point our mutual relationship became exceedingly fruitful. My dear Schoenstatt Family, indeed, such first contacts have later become effective in an original and deep way. The whole great Work which we view today with amazement has grown out of this united, deep, personal co-operation.
I am sure you will not take it amiss if I make an attempt to briefly describe the part you have played in this Work. I must, first of all, admit that you yourselves have exercised a tremendous influence on my personal development. The words just spoken in jest are true. One of us – someone quite “addicted to attending talks” who will never miss one – said when I mentioned that the talks may not be passed on: “Everything he knows, he learned from us anyway.”
The book in which I have read is the book of the times, the book of life, the book of your souls. If you had not unreservedly opened your souls to me, most of the spiritual achievements would never have been recognised. Such things cannot be read about in books, but can only be read from life. One of our Sisters of Mary was also right when she said a few days ago: “Because we were so dependent on you, a great deal has been awakened in you that most likely would not have been awakened otherwise.” If the first example has more to do with intellectual insight, the second refers to developing the abilities of the heart.
Yesterday evening, one of the older generation reminded me that I already must have had a warm heart when they were fighting in the war. I quietly managed to acquire all sorts of clothing for them, something to protect the head, a warm vest, etc. It is true, my heart was stirred to greater and greater warmth for the youth at that time. This trait has continued to develop in me because of the people God has entrusted to me and the demands they have made on me.
If you want to know the secret of such an almost phenomenal fruitfulness, I will tell you that the reason lies in a deep, spiritual interconnectedness. Someone has just asked: “Where does this richness of heart and mind come from?” I may tell you that a person who loves, a person who transfers this love into the heart of God, will thereby participate to some degree in the endless riches of God’s love. If there is anything which keeps us from impoverishment, it is love the gift of the warmth of our hearts.
All of you who have made demands on me – sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly – may tell yourselves that without you I personally would not be what I am today. You may not underestimate this point. Again, if you want to know the source of the riches
of my mind and heart – now you know it. I hope and pray that God will give all future generations the same opportunities to serve souls quietly in the background which he has given me. The greatest riches are given in return to the person who tries to expend every ounce of strength in the service of souls. And yet, this is still insufficient. All that I have been allowed to read in your souls always indicated the direction for the particular partial goals we were striving for. Some day, an objective and critical historian might take up the task to prove that throughout these past twenty five years, it has always been my main interest to see to it that we consciously pursued our final, great goals. Nevertheless, remaining faithful to these particular partial goals which we had to achieve, discerning these aims and striving to actualise them in an enlightened manner, this, my dear Schoenstatt Family, is absolutely unthinkable without you. And this is where the deeper union of our willing and acting, of our living and loving begins. These things are still so alive in me that in most instances I can tell you: This or that is part of the soul life of so and so. That is the mysterious source of our deep community spirit. As you know, usually I had no time for social interests. Nevertheless, our loyalty has never wavered, simply because the deep, spiritual connectedness rests on such a solid foundation.
To be a community means that the hearts of the members beat as one. If we may say that the Family is marked by a deep community spirit among the members, we must largely attribute it to the fact that most have given their very best to the Family. May I ask each one of you to admit honestly and humbly what you, with your own life’s blood, contributed to the life of the Family. If you do not know, I shall gladly tell you privately. Should you wish to thank me for anything, let it only be for this: That I have attempted to take up what was developing in you, that I have attempted to pave the way for you, and once it took on life in the community to some extent, I endeavoured to pass it on in the form of a motto. I could tell you who the main force behind our Mission Movement was at that time. As the master builder, I worked with individual people, and when I knew that something sound was developing, I withdrew completely, because I expected it to grow.
I could also tell you who was primarily responsible for the foundation of the Outer Organisation. Keep in mind, it can be proven that it was your work in an outstanding way, it was your co-operation, it was mainly the result of your efforts that the whole “war organisation,” the Congregatio militaris was carried over to peacetime conditions. This is a classic example: I deliberately did not go to the gathering in Hoerde because I was absolutely sure of the outcome. Everything had been prepared because every single soul had slowly grown into the whole great Work.
My dear Schoenstatt Family, wouldn’t you agree that I am correct in joyfully and gratefully redirecting toward you the hymns of thanks you have addressed to me? By doing so, I have described in general terms what moves me personally. I could also sing a hymn of praise to those who were not directly included in what has just been said. I am thinking of all, including the young generation, who has safeguarded the Family by increasing the capital of grace. From the beginning, it has always been my ideal to do nothing in the whole Family without my co-workers and I know that this thought has permeated all my actions. Even those with whom I do not have direct contact act according to the law: “Nothing without us.”
Eternity will one day reveal how the smallest and most hidden souls of our Family have contributed treasure after treasure. Without their heroic lives of sacrifice and prayer, the Family and its spirit, as we see it today, would be unthinkable. Indeed, nothing without you. I don’t know what else I should still point out in particular.