Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine!
A new year has begun; 365 days, 8760 hours, lay ahead of us. Each one a gift from God! Incredible, how much time we are given at our disposal! The question is, how are we going to invest it!?
Compared to the pioneer sisters who set out 70 years ago from South Africa and Germany by boat to venture to Corpus Christi, Texas, without any precise pre-knowledge of how long this journey would take them, we nowadays can travel virtually anywhere in the world within a few hours or a day. With minimal cost, we can instantly talk with people on the other side of the world. Nearly any question or problem can be solved promptly by searching the internet, instead of poring over a dictionary. But do we have gained more time through the convenience of our gadgets? Are we more relaxed and at peace due to the security our smart phone can offer us?
Yes and No! In theory, the conveniences of our age make our lives much easier and less time consuming. For example, we don’t have to wait anymore for a letter which takes at least a few days to arrive in our mail box. Now emails and text messages flood our inbox constantly and we feel obliged to respond immediately. As a consequence, many of us feel hounded, stressed out, and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things we “have” to do!? And here we need to stop and realize that this phenomenon /symptom of ‘having to be available 24/7 is actually a consequence of being free! Because we are free to use the time given to us, can we overbook ourselves or enjoy each moment as an opportunity to be in the service of the One who gave us this gift in the first place.
Freedom, understood correctly, is an important aspect of Schoenstatt’s school of self-education. Already in the Pre-founding Document of 1912 Father Kentenich introduced this program of self-education to the sodalists: “Under the protection of Mary we want to learn to educate ourselves to become firm, free, priestly personalities.”
Freedom is also the trademark of the Apostolic Federation of Schoenstatt whose centennial we celebrate this year. We may recall, that during World War I other men who did not belong to the Schoenstatt Minor Seminary had joined the extension of Schoenstatt. In August of 1919 the leaders of this external organization met in Hoerde, a small town north of Schoenstatt. This meeting culminated in the creation of the Apostolic Federation, a community with its own structure and principles based on freedom in order to express a maximum of magnanimity in striving for Christian perfection. In Texas we have Federation Families and Federation Mothers. Maybe you could invite a federation member to your home or group to inquire more.
In a few days we will commemorate the Second Milestone of Schoenstatt’s history. While imprisoned in Koblenz, Father Kentenich struggled during the night from January 19 to the 20 in prayer. He felt the urgent need to secure the inner freedom of the Schoenstatt Family so that it would prosper even in times of extreme fear and distress as for example during the dictatorship of Hitler. By not choosing the way of exterior freedom and accepting the exterior chains of the Dachau concentration camp, he clearly indicated to us the high value of interior freedom, anchored in “the reality of the supernatural.” In view of the gift of time, we may want to ask ourselves to what degree we are free of the ‘bondage’ of the media? Do they perhaps subtly deprive us of the time we intended to spend in prayer or for the apostolate?
60 years ago, the first Shrine on Texan soil was dedicated here in Lamar. Divine Providence has led us to understand that its mission is Confidence. Please watch for our regular Confidentia Blurbs on this website! We are grateful that we are able to invite you again this year to retreats, workshops, and pilgrimages to the Confidentia Shrine. Please check the calendar posted on our webpage and feel free to register!
Looking forward to welcoming you all,
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary