Year of the Shrine – Pilgrim Graces

by Fr. Andrew Pastore on 29/11/2011 -

A buzz word for me for the previous year has been – “expectant faith” – do we really believe in the promise made to us – the promise of scripture – the promise of the graces given through the Shrine. Sit back and think for a little while – do you “expect” these graces when you visit the Shrine?

God Bless

Fr. Andrew

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,
I give to you as a gift of love.
Use it so that the holy stream of graces
flowing richly from the shrine
may fill the souls of those
who have given their hearts to Schoenstatt
and gently lead there
all those whom you wish to choose in kindness.
Accept everything that our efforts may be fruitful
which we dedicate to the Trinity.

Joseph Kentenich, 29 March 1945 (Heavenwards)

Encouraged by the history of the foundation at the Valley of Pompeii, the expectations of the Founder and the young Sodality were directed towards the development of a place of pilgrimage and grace at Schoenstatt. From the beginning their aim was not the healing of illnesses or physical ailments. Their expectations were directed far more to the Blessed Mother’s educational work in their midst. The Founder summarised in three directions what he had observed in the chapel’s field of influence. He noticed that many in the Sodality felt at home and sheltered in the little chapel. He observed that quite a number whom he had got to know well through spiritual direction underwent an amazing transformation and spiritual growth. Finally, it was impossible to miss that a vibrant missionary spirit had been awakened in the young Sodalists, and later also in the developing Apostolic Federation. Their apostolate also bore rich fruit. From these observations Fr Kentenich formulated what he called Schoenstatt’s original graces of pilgrimage as finding a spiritual home, and experiencing spiritual transformation and apostolic fruitfulness.

Three Original Pilgrimage Graces

I am thinking of the original, threefold pilgrimage grace which, according to our simple faith, is distributed here in Schoenstatt: the grace of spiritual transformation, of being spiritually at home, and an apostolic spirit.

If these are the graces of pilgrimage, which we can expect to receive here; if through our consecration we are drawn in a mysterious way into this work, it means that we have the preeminent and exceptional right, firstly, to more profound and comprehensive spiritual transformation.

I am thinking of my needs. Do chaotic passions make me unhappy from time to time? Are there morbid natural qualities in me that prevent me from coming out on top? I am given a new right to the grace of transformation. From whom can I expect to be given this grace of spiritual transformation? The Blessed Mother.

There is a second right: Even when our passions are silent, there is a wound we all have to bear as a result of original sin; there is this inertia towards the supernatural, this lack of responsiveness to the Divine, and the strong susceptibility for all that is merely natural, of this world, and the enjoyments of the world. So what can we expect? Simply a special right to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. She has to help us to increasingly overcome this lack of responsiveness to the supernatural, and to preserve our ideal. …

A second grace is that of being spiritually at home, the pilgrimage grace of being spiritually sheltered. Here in Schoenstatt we have found a high degree of being sheltered at this place, as well as in the heart of the Blessed Mother and the thinking of the Family. Indeed we are sheltered in ultimate fundamental structures. A spiritual current is beginning in the Family that gives expression to the strong need not just to love, but to have clear knowledge. We need clear knowledge. There is a strong longing for ultimate ideas and reasoning. I think that even those in the Family at large, who have already consecrated themselves in the past years, are beginning to long to be spiritually at home from this point-of-view. Of course, the ultimate reality, the main point, is to love without knowing it. However, the emphasis on emotions has also to be governed by ideas.

Being at home in the Family is, finally, also being at home with the people in the Family, the people who make up the Family.

The third pilgrimage grace is the apostolic spirit, and this to a heightened degree. It is not just an apostolic spirit in general terms; we may and must also go out as apostles of the MTA.

From: Joseph Kentenich, Liturgical Everyday Sanctity (1938)


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