Covenant of Love

with the Mother thrice Admirable,
Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt

Pilgrims' Movement

About the Material

The secretariat of the Apostolate of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother, here in the USA, has compiled this material at hand in order to introduce pilgrims, missionaries, those who receive the image of the Pilgrim Mother, and anyone interested in the covenant of love to its dynamics, blessings, and spiritual richness. It is an adaptation of the text used in years past for the covenant preparation of the Pilgrims Movement in Argentina. In addition, some texts used for the covenant preparation of the league in Puerto Rico and a few items from the texts by Sr. M. Thomasine Treese used in the USA have been added.

The text is meant as a guide for those mentoring pilgrims in their preparation for the covenant of love in Schoenstatt. While it is clearly broken down into basic topics, it is good to keep in mind supplementary material can be found in other texts already published. For further information in this regard, contact your coordinator or moderator.[1]

Besides reading the material at hand, it is important to take the thoughts and reflections into your prayer life. You might need a notebook where you can jot down your inspirations and insights.

The topics covered in this text cover practical faith in Divine Providence, the covenant of love in the Scriptures and in Schoenstatt history, the Founding Document, the life of Father Joseph Kentenich, and the concept of the capital of grace. The last theme focuses on the personal covenant prayer and Schoenstatt prayers in general. This will help you to continue nurturing and renewing the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother.

Part of the preparation should include regular or occasional visits to the Schoenstatt Shrine, contributions to the capital of grace in daily life, and a life of closeness to Mary’s heart through your prayers and spiritual efforts.

If you are a missionary of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim MTA or if you participate in this apostolate by receiving the image, you are encouraged to read the literature provided. Many details of the essence of Schoenstatt can be found in it.

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Covenant of Love Preparation for Pilgrims ©
Text translated, compiled, and adapted from Fichas de preparación para la alianza, Taller para peregrinos,
Movimiento Popular de Peregrinos, Schoenstatt, Argentina.
Mater Perfetam Habebit Curam: Fe Práctica en la Divina Providencia,
Movimiento Apostólico de Schoenstatt, Puerto Rico.
 Translation: DeepL.com, Mary Reel, Sr. M. Isabel Bracero.
   
Sr. M. Isabel Bracero, Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother, Coordinator, USA.
For the use of pilgrims, missionaries, and anyone interested in sealing the covenant of love with the MTA in her Schoenstatt Shrines. It may be reproduced with permission. Schoenstatt  Pilgrims’ Movement, 2019. ©

Opening Remarks

We cannot go wrong in making a covenant with Mary. She bore Christ in her womb and with her yes cooperated in the Incarnation of God, the Son. She accompanied him throughout his life until his death on the cross and his resurrection. She now continues to fulfill her mission from the Schoenstatt Shrine as the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt (MTA).
Why not embrace her mission to lead others to Christ? She can intercede for us the strength to deal with the daily demands of our world today. Mary calls us to collaborate in the building of the Kingdom of God here on earth. To live in covenant with her allows us to respond with our yes to this invitation. It gives us the tools to make it possible.
To live in covenant with Mary leads us to become better people and opens our hearts to special gifts and graces. Through the covenant of love we can be transformed into the best of what we are meant to be: children of God. It gives meaning to our lives.
When we make the covenant with Mary we are also invited to join a large family that shares in the aspiration of living up to their calling to the covenant. As pilgrims who visit our shrines in search of Mary’s presence and her intercessory power, we find numberless people who spiritually surround our Schoenstatt Shrines and are on fire for her mission.
Those who have sealed their covenant can testify that it has made a significant impact in their lives. The time and strength invested in the preparation will turn into blessings for us and our loved ones.

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Goals and Requirements

According to Father Joseph Kentenich, the founder of Schoenstatt, anyone who makes the covenant of love with the MTA only needs to embrace the Schoenstatt secret (cf. Conference 1951). What does that mean?

In other words, we are called to believe that

       the MTA dwells in and works from her shrine!

Therefore, we need to learn about the history of Schoenstatt. How else we will find out about the process by which the MTA took possession of the shrine?

Said differently, we ought to

     believe that God has wanted to bind the work of the MTA 

     to our free human cooperation!

Even if we were not preparing to make the covenant of love, we still need to learn how to embrace God’s plan for us and cooperate with it. Therefore, it is important to learn about our practical faith in Divine Providence. This is how we in Schoenstatt highlight and bring to practical life the idea of collaborating with God’s plan for us.

In other words, we are called to bring our gifts of love to the Blessed Mother in the shrine or send those tokens of love to the shrine. In this way, we

      prove our love for the MTA through deeds, for the

     fruitfulness of Schoenstatt’s fountain of graces.

Of utmost importance is the idea of finding simple little things to prove our love. They can range from a glance, to a small piece of paper with a note, a stone, a bean, or however we give expression to our contributions to the capital of grace. Through our work with the Pilgrim Mother we share the fire of the covenant of love with countless people, whether we speak of it or not. We simply carry that bond alive in our hearts! Let us bring it to everyone as missionaries of the covenant!

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Practical Faith in Divine Providence

Schoenstatt is life and this essential part of its message is what gives strength to our faith. It would be impossible to know the terms without talking about how they  apply to life, real life, our life, my life! Moreover, it would be impossible to understand the message of practical faith in divine providence without reflecting upon God’s work, our human action, and the breakthrough of grace in all sorts of circumstances, decisions, and even mistakes of our daily lives. In other words,  everything in life can become an experience of God’s plan. Life is a continuous learning process. Therefore, it is also where God shows to us his love, care,  protection, and direction.

(Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

302 Creation has its own goodness and perfection, but it did not fully spring forth complete from the Creator. The universe was created “In statu viae” or a “state of journeying” towards an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call divine providence the dispositions by which God guides his creation towards this perfection: God protects and governs by his providence all that he created, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other and ordering all things well” (Wisdom 8:1). For “all are open and and laid bare to his eyes” (Heb 4:13), even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.” (Vatican Cc. I: DS 300).

 303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous: the solicitude of Divine Providence is concrete and immediate; It takes care of everything, from the smallest things up to the great events of the world and of history. The Sacred Scriptures powerfully affirm the absolute sovereignty of God over the course of events: “Our God is in heaven, whatever He wills, is done.” (Ps 115:3); and of Christ it is said: “If he opens, no one can close; if he closes, no one can open” (Rev 3:7); “there are many plans in the heart of man, but it is the decision of the Lord that is established.” (Pr 19:21);  

307 God grants men the power of sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of subduing the earth and having dominion over it. (cf. Gen 1:26-28). God thus gives men and women the right to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Men, often unconscious collaborators with the Divine will, can freely enter into the Divine plan not only through their actions and prayers, but also by their sufferings (cf. Col 1: 24). Then they fully become “collaborators with God” (1 Cor 3:9; 1Thess 3:2) for his Kingdom (cf. Col 4:11). 

 312  In time, we can discover that God, in his almighty providence, can draw good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you, says Joseph to his brothers, who sent me here, but God….You meant evil against me but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many should be kept alive… a numerous people” (Gn 45,8;50, 20; cf. Tb 2,12-18 Vg.). From the greatest moral evil ever committed, the rejection and death of the Son of God, caused by the sins of all men, God, by the superabundance of his grace (cf. Rom 5:20), drew the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our Redemption.  But for all that, evil never becomes good.  

The Lord saw his task in revealing the traits of divine fatherhood to those who followed and listened to him in admiration. He saw his task, at the same time, in leading us into his childlikeness, into his essence of being the Son of God. No one goes to the Father except through him (Jn 14:6). His mission is finally fulfilled when those he loves have found their way back to the Father. Therefore, he puts the name of the Father on the lips and in the hearts of his people and teaches them to pray: Our Father…

…to know that God the Father is interested in an extraordinarily personal way even in the smallest thing of each person; that he personally takes care of each one so that not even a single hair falls without his knowledge, will, and intervention. (Mt.10:30) This is the message of a divine special providence. This message of a divine special providence makes us see that God not only leads great events wisely towards a foreseen end (divine providence in general form). According to his immanent and effective laws he, simultaneously and equally, also takes care of each individual in particular (divine special providence). [1]

Read: Lk. 12: 22-31:

[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Notice the ravens: they do not sow or reap; they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than birds!” Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

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[1] Father J. Kentenich, Chile, 1952.
  • Since God has created us in this state of journeying (cf. CCC 329), what aspects of our life do we need to view under a new light?
  • Do we readily accept God’s guidance convinced that we are still journeying toward perfection?
  • What can we do in the morning and in the evening in order to be mindful of God’s signs of love and fatherly guidance during the day?

(Quotes taken from words of Father Kentenich, Chile, March 26, 1952.)

  • Practical Faith in Divine Providence is faith in the law of the open door:

The law of the open door means: I let providence guide me and lead me through events. The law of the open door can be described with the classic words: vox temporis, vox Dei (The voice of the time is the voice of God). That is why it revolves around the God of life, the God who manifests himself in life, in and through circumstances.

  • Practical Faith in Divine Providence is childlike surrender that lives according to God’s will:

It is the generous childlike surrender to divine providence that reveals to us in parts a divine plan and at the same time cooperates in its realization… Only if childlike love reaches a certain degree does it acquire a singular sensitivity to grasp God’s plans. The plans regarding Schoenstatt [past history] were hidden. I did not know what had to be done; only Divine Providence knew that.

  • Practical Faith in Divine Providence is Schoenstatt’s message and our driving force:

The driving force is a magnanimous, generous childlike surrender. According to the law of the open door and in a gradual manner [this faith] cooperates in entrusting itself to and then in fulfilling the hidden divine plan.

  • The A,B,C of practical faith in divine providence:

God is Father, God is good, Good is everything he does.

  • When circumstances suddenly change in my life, do I become restless or do I try to see God’s hand behind it?
  • How would I explain to someone else what it means to be attentive to God’s voice in daily life?
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The Covenant of Love

Time and again, God led his people by sealing a covenant of love with them. The concept of the covenant of love brings together the events of the Old and New Testaments. If the covenant is so important for God that his providential guidance makes use of it throughout history, how much more should it be for us?

Reflection Questions

  • What does the term covenant mean to us?
  • What types of covenants do we find in history? What are their characteristics?

For example, there are different types of covenants such as marriage, friendship, commercial, political, military, religious, e.g. European Union, free trade agreement, etc.

Covenant means a pact, a solemn agreement, a promise, a common law action, a treaty, or even an exchange, etc. In order to seal a covenant you need:

  • a partner, that is, two or more parts (You cannot seal a covenant by yourself.)
  • all parties to agree on something.
  • all partiesto give and receive something from each other.

We can say that God is a God of the covenant. Since the beginning of world history, when God established his relationship with humanity, he did so through a covenant.

That is how God related with Adam and Eve, with Abraham, Noah, and Moses, etc. By learning what their covenant path was like, we can discover the meaning of living in covenant with God.

Search for the following biblical passages about the covenant in Scriptures.  Read the text about the different characters chosen to fulfill God’s will, and then answer the questions that follow.

  • Samuel 1 Sam 3, 1-21
  • Moses Ex 3, 1-2 / 4, 1-16
  • Jonah Jon. 1-4
  • David 1 Sam 16, 1-13
  • Abraham Gen 12, 1-9
  • Noah Gen 4, 1-16

For each of the passages you read, answer the following questions:

–  How did God manifest his call to the particular character presented in this passage?

–  What did God ask of him?

–  How did the chosen person respond?

Based on the reading of these passages, fill out the empty spaces with the information indicated by the questions below:

What was the promise made to the particular person?

– What was the demand God placed on him?

– Add any comment or observation.

Reflection

Samuel

Moses

Jonah

David

Abraham

Noah

Promises

           

Demands

           

Comments

           

God has always established a relationship with humanity by sealing a covenant of love. To this day, God continues to invite us to live in covenant with him. He shows himself as the one who loves infinitely and who, moved by this love, seeks again and again the heart of the human person, even when we constantly distance ourselves and are unfaithful to the covenant. But God does not cease to seek us out. With merciful love God continues to offer us his friendship.

Throughout the stories told in the Old Testament we see how God drew humanity into the covenant with him. In the New Testament, this covenant comes to its climax. Again and again, he sealed a covenant with us, but over and over again we failed him and broke this covenant.

That is why, when “the fullness of time came,” he sent his Son to make us participants in a New and Eternal Covenant. At that point, God chose Mary as the way by which Christ, our Redeemer, would come to us. At the hour of the Annunciation God sealed with her, the fullest covenant: Incarnation.

Let us now apply it to our own life. Each one meditates on the following questions in silence.

Have I experienced a call from God, how and when?

-Did he ask or request something from me? What was my response to him?

 Just as God came into the lives of Moses, Abraham, the Blessed Mother and her Son Jesus, God has come into our lives and has also chosen us to seal a covenant of love with him. Through the sacrament of Baptism we are drawn into new and eternal cycle of love and mercy. Perhaps we remember little or nothing about this sacrament, but it is a gift we have received, when we became children of God.

The baptismal covenant is a real covenant. It is a mutual commitment between Christ and each one of us. How important it is to renew it, to update the personal vocation that God has given us. Every year at Easter, we are called to renew it, to recall: I am his child! We can have no greater title than being called a child of God? This is the grace proper to baptism! God makes us members of his family, the Church. Like life giving blood, his divine life begins to flow. We are children of a God who is a father, whose essence is love, and who invites us each day to live in a covenant of love with him.

In the first place it is a covenant with Mary. This is because God gave us his Mother so that she would also be our mother, too. Through her it is easier for us to live in covenant with God. In Mary, we have a model of total surrender and trust in God. Through the Blessed Mother, God brings his love closer to us. The covenant with her helps us to live our covenant with God.

Our covenant of love with the Blessed Mother is based upon the covenant that we sealed at Baptism. It is a profound renewal and also a safeguard for our baptismal covenant. Through her, we arrive faster and safer, and above all with greater depth, to the fullness of the covenant of love with God.  She is the bridge between our world and God. She wants to help us deepen our understanding of ourselves as children before God.           

The covenant of love with the Blessed Mother is the source of life and grace in Schoenstatt. Schoenstatt has not only been born out of a founding act. It came forth from moment of grace, an exchange of hearts between Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968), the father and founder of Schoenstatt along with the sodalists[1] and the Blessed Mother. This original covenant of love took place on October 18, 1914, in the Original Shrine.

As years went by the founder discovered how the fruitfulness of this covenant lies on the fact that the Blessed Mother established herself in the Schoenstatt Shrine upon the request of the founder and the sodalists and their free cooperation. Besides a moment of grace, the covenant of October 18, 1914 has given life to an international apostolic Movement.

We can define our covenant of love in Schoenstatt as an exchange of hearts, goods and interests between the Blessed Mother and her children. Upon surrendering our heart, we receive from Mary her heart in return. Her heart is full of God. It is noble, pure, free of self, with an immense love for God and capable of loving people fully. Isn’t this exchange of great benefit?

Through the covenant of love in Schoenstatt, we enter into a personal relationship with the Blessed Mother who loves us unconditionally and accompanies us throughout all the circumstances of our lives. With faithful motherly love, she reveals herself, so to say, as our educator and calls upon us to be her children. She leads us securely into the heart of God. Her mother’s heart shows us how to overcome doubts. In her faith, we discover how to respond to God’s love by always doing what gives God joy – or what gives Mary joy, if you will. She will help us to aspire ever higher to strive for a life in conformity with God’s will. She embodies the ideal image of the human person as intended by God, captured in her pure integrity of being.

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[1] sodalists refers to a Religious society

“My name and life is inscribed in the heart of God…”

Lord, you’ve always waited for me! You have insistently sought me out. I was created in your image, in your likeness. You have molded my being, because you are my Father.

I have walked long distances in my life. Some of my decisions have led me closer to you and others have led me farther away from you. Some of my relationships have helped me create a deeper bond with you and others have forced me to break that bond with you. Still, you have kept me alive for so many years. My soul continues to yearn for you and seeks out your love. Today, as if everything were beginning anew, you call me by my name and invite me to grow even closer through a covenant of love with Mary, your Mother.

How can I manage to silence my fears and doubts? Can I really come closer to you? How can I follow you if there are so many obstacles in my life? How can I promise you to be loyal and coherent with my aspirations, when life shows the opposite?

Lord and God of the covenant, it is you who seek out the least and the smallest in your Kingdom and make of them your instruments. You show them the way. You desire that I respond to you with the simplicity and the abandonment of a child. Today, I come to you with an open heart. I want to let myself be educated by you, through the Holy Spirit. Through the intercession of Mary, your Mother, I want to learn to recognize your plan for me, to listen to your voice, and to strive to remain your child in all circumstances. It is you, O Lord, who chose me. Inspite of my limitations, you continue to guide me to a covenant of love.

Lord our God, you have always remained faithful to your people. You loved me and from eternity you have directed my life’s history. From the beginning, you cared for me and will never stop loving and protecting me. Through Baptism you have given me the grace to believe, to hope, and to love, like your Son. As long as I persevere in these three virtues, you will save me from sin, failure, and death.

Father, you gave me Mary as my mother, too. By virtue of the covenant with Mary, I hope to receive the strength, guidance, and inspiration I need to embrace a new way of life. Life won’t change! With her help, I can change the way I view life!

Therefore, Blessed Mother, in the simplicity and silence of my heart, I want to entrust myself to you. Present my love to the Father in Heaven, so that he may take my life in his hands and lead me according to his wise plans. Teach me, Mother, to fulfill the Father’s will. Give me your eyes that I may look at God like you do. Give me your ears, that I may be attentive to his voice and desires. Give me your heart, that I may love your Son more and more each day. Amen.

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The Schoenstatt Founding Document​

The heart of Schoenstatt is the covenant with Mary. This was sealed by Father Kentenich and the first sodalists on October 18, 1914 in the Original Shrine, in Germany. The experience of this exchange became the source of life for the founder and the sodalists. The words Nothing Without You, Nothing Without Us summarize this experience.

On October 18, 1914, Father Kentenich saw that Mary was calling him and the young seminarians for a great task. He sensed that, in his loving plans, God wanted something to happen from Schoenstatt.  His attitude of practical faith in Divine Providence perceived it in the European war, the gift of the chapel in the valley, and the development of the sodality as a response to the educational needs of the young seminarians.

Besides reading the text below, find someone who can summarize the events surrounding October 18, 1914. Ask that person to share some insights with you.

 On October 18, 1914, Father Kentenich met with the young students for the first time. The small chapel, where they met, had previously been used to store garden tools.  That day became Schoenstatt’s founding day.  Let us look at the happenings that brought about this event:

In 1912, Father Kentenich was appointed spiritual director of the younger seminarians who were studying in Schoenstatt. Father Kentenich led the young men from a sound conscience formation to deep love for Mary, hoping their hearts would be set on fire for Mary and her mission. He did not stop there. He went on to found a Marian Congregation.

Little by little, through the Marian Congregation, the youth saw with greater clarity their ideals and goals. By developing a personal attachment to Mary as mother and educator, a new attitude began to come about in them. They began to discover how to embody the common ideal of the Congregation. Therefore, they chose to give to her all their love. A true community was formed between the seminarians and their spiritual father—a very close personal bond. But, most of all, a live bond was established between the students and the Blessed Mother.

Father Kentenich saw the need of the young people to have their own meeting place. They needed to feel responsible and find ways that increased unity among them. On July 8, 1914, the superior of the Pallottine Fathers placed at the disposal of the Marian Congregation, the old and until then abandoned chapel of St. Michael, which was used only to store garden tools. This chapel became the place of many religious experiences for the members of the Marian Congregation.

In July 1914, a magazine landed in the hands of the Father Kentenich. He came across an article about Bartolo Longo, an Italian lawyer. Thanks to this man’s labor of sacrifice and the maternal action of the Blessed Mother, a Marian shrine was built and dedicated in the valley of Pompeii, near Naples, Italy. This shrine has become one of the most visited pilgrimage places in Europe, showing that Mary’s action is undeniable. Father wondered if the same could not happen in Schoenstatt.[1]

In September 1914, World War I broke out. Now the Blessed Mother had to take care of the education of the young seminarians. The war became a sign from God for Father Kentenich to accelerate their striving for holiness and to increase their proofs of love for Mary.

During the period from July – October 1914, the bold thought that gave origin to the Movement was born in the silence of Father Kentenich’s heart. He observed not only concrete signs, but also what Mary had already done and accomplished in the students. The ardent desire to leave the education of the youth completely in Mary’s hands grew more intensely. He clearly saw God’s action. He meditated and prayed until he reached the conviction: It is God’s desire that this chapel be transformed into a place of grace. Thus came October 18, 1914, the Sunday when the seminarians had their first meeting in the St. Michael chapel.

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[1] Bartolo Longo was born in Pompeii, Italy, in 1841. During his years of studies, he publicly ridiculed Christianity and did all in his power to subvert Catholic influence. A good friend of his eventually showed Bartolo the gentleness of Christ. Upon his conversion, he wanted to do penance and make up for his lack of reverence toward the Church. One evening, as he walked near the ruined rat- and lizard-infested chapel at Pompeii, he had a profound mystical experience. He felt called to restore the place of worship and give to the people he knew a place where they could pray the Rosary. Bartolo Longo persuaded people of the area to help him clean out the dilapidated church. Then, one evening, he invited the people to join him to pray the rosary. In 1883, construction was completed and he proclaimed: “In this place selected for its prodigies, we wish to leave for future generations a monument to the Queen of Victories, that will be less worthy of greatness but more worthy of our faith and love.” (cf. All About Mary, University of Dayton.)
  • What have you learned?
  • What caught your attention?
  • What message is the Blessed Mother addressing to me?

In the Founding Document, Father Kentenich places on the lips of the Blessed Mother the six promises and six demands of this mutual covenant of love. They can be found in the text of the Founding Document, in the last paragraph, #11. We will reflect on them one by one.

Paragraph #11 of the Founding Document:

 11 Do not worry about the fulfillment of your desire. Ego diligentes me diligo. I love those who love me [Prv 8:17]. Prove to me first that you really love meD1, that you take your resolution seriously.

Just now you have the best opportunity to do so. Do not think that in times like these, when momentous decisions are being made, that it is something extraordinary if you increase your strivingD2 beyond that of previous generations, indeed to the highest degreeD2. According to the plan of Divine Providence, this World War with its mighty incentives is meant to be an extraordinary help for you in the work of your self-sanctification. This sanctification I demand of youD3. It is the armor that you shall put on, the sword with which you shall do battle for your desires. Diligently bring me contributions to the capital of grace.D4 By fulfilling your duties faithfullyD5 and conscientiously and by praying fervently,D6 earn many merits and place them at my disposal. Then it will please me to dwell in your midstP1 and dispense gifts and graces in abundance.P2 Then I will draw youthful hearts to myselfP3 from here, and I will educate themP4 to become useful instrumentsP5 in my handP6 (Founding Document).

 

The six promises of the Blessed Mother: (Found on the paragraph above as P1, P2, etc.)

 

1. She will establish herself in the Chapel.

2. From the shrine, she will distribute abundant gifts and graces.

3. She will attract youthful hearts to herself.

4. She will educate us!

5. She will make of us useful suitable instruments for the Kingdom of God.

6. She will keep us in her hands. She will protect us!

 

 

The six demands of the Blessed Mother: (Found on the paragraph above as D1, D2, etc.)

 

1. “Prove to me first by your deeds, that you really love me.”

2. “Not simply the great, and the greater, but the greatest height ought to be the object of our   

     increased efforts” (FD, parr, #5).

3. “This sanctification is what I demand of you.”

4.  Faithful and faithful fulfillment of our duties

5.  An intense life of prayer

6. “Frequently bring to me contributions to the capital of grace.”

(Try to do this reflection before the image of the MTA[1])

What gifts do I expect from Mary as I prepare to make my covenant of love?

What gifts do I want to give to Mary as I prepare to make my covenant of love?

 

Set Out On Pilgrimage!

Try to find some time, in the coming days, to visit the Schoenstatt Shrine nearest you.

If you do not have access to a Schoenstatt Shrine, you can find out if an image of the MTA is enthroned in a parish near you or if someone has a home shrine.

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[1] MTA stands for Mother Thrice Admirable (of Schoenstatt). Fr. James Rem, Jesuit, (1546-1618) saw in the advocation “Mater admirabilis” in the Litany of Loreto as something like a summary of all of Mary’s privileges and of her whole being. He reached this conviction during a mystical experience while the students of the Colloquium Marianum (Marian congregation) were singing the Litany of Loreto. He had them repeat the advocation “Mater admirabilis” three times in the form of a “trisagion” (each time with greater emphasis). Subsequent commentators, like F. Hattler, saw in the threefold invocation a reference to Mary as Mother of God, Mother of the Redeemer, and Mother of the Redeemed. This title was adopted in 1915 by future members of the Schoenstatt Movement (founded by Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968)) and serves as name and customary advocation of the Schoenstatt Madonna. She is venerated as “Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victrix of Schoenstatt” (All About Mary, University of Dayton).

Try to find some time, in the coming days, to visit the Schoenstatt Shrine nearest you.  If you do not have access to a Schoenstatt Shrine, you can find out if an image of the MTA is enthroned in a parish near you or if someone has a home shrine.

The Founding Document

The Founding Document[1]

Program:
Acceleration of the development of our self-sanctification 

as a means of transforming our chapel into a place of pilgrimage.

 

1 First of all, I greet you again after quite some time with the beautiful salutation: Nos cum prole pia bendicat Virgo Maria [Virgin Mary, bless us with your holy Child.] It is the first time that these sodality[2] words sound in this place. May they echo and resound for all times to come.

2 It gives joy to father, mother and children to move into a home of their own, even if it is plain and poor in comparison with the magnificent quarters which they previously rented. The thought: “This house belongs to us,” more than compensates for the loss of all other advantages. We, too, may experience much family joy today. This little chapel belongs to our small sodality family which is guided by our heavenly Mother. It belongs completely to us and only to us. Without envy we leave to others the more beautiful house chapel, our previous lodging. We rejoice and will let no one take this joy from us. Besides joy, a feeling of rightful pride makes our hearts beat faster. For this sanctuary, which has stood more or less neglected, desolate and bare for as long as we can remember, has been – because of us and at our instigation – restored and given to the Mother of God. At least since it has been in the possession of the Pallotine Fathers these walls have not been more beautifully decorated than today. May we see in this joyful fact a good omen for the future development of our young sodality?

3. Surely! It would be a sublime task, worthy of the diligence and labor of the noblest, if we sodalists could succeed in instilling a burning love of Mary and an ideal striving for virtue in our college such as it has never seen.

4 Why do I express myself so hesitatingly? Have I lost confidence in you? It is true, only the remnants of our flourishing sodality are present, but new life will soon spring forth from the ruins. My voucher for that is last year’s faithful cooperation on your part, and the genuine Marian spirit which you have acquired. During vacation, many ideals may well have crumpled under the smoke and dust of everyday life; some of the principles which we adopted during the course of the year and which we thought were unshakable, may not have stood the test of practical daily life. But one thing remains – of that I’m certain: it is the conviction that to be a genuine sodalist is inseparable from striving for moral and religious greatness according to one’s state of life. And we are just as animated today by the will for victory and the attainment of our sodality ideal as we were at the end of the last school year. No, my dear sodalists, I have not lost my trust in you. I know that we, by building on what we have already attained, shall make great progress in this year just as we set out to do in the last.

5 The slow development of the grace of our vocation and the consequent higher degree of our religious apostolic spirit is not, however, the aim which I want to present to you. My challenge goes incomparably higher. Each one of us must achieve the highest conceivable degree of perfection and sanctity according to his state of life. Not simply the great and greater, but the greatest heights ought to be the object of our increased efforts. You will understand that I express such an extraordinary challenge only in the form of a humble wish.

6 But if you want to know the reason for this wish, I must tell you of a favorite and [up to now] secret idea of mine.

7 When St. Peter saw the glory of God on Tabor, he called out with delight: “It is good for us to be here. Let us build three tents here.” [Mt.17:4] These words come to my mind again and again. And I have often asked myself: Would it then not be possible that our little sodality chapel becomes for us, at the same time, the Tabor on which the glory of Mary would be revealed? Undoubtedly, we could not accomplish a greater apostolic deed nor leave our successors a more precious legacy than to urge our Lady and Queen to erect her throne here in a special way, to distribute her treasures, and to work miracles of grace. You gather what I am aiming at: I would like to make this place a place of pilgrimage, a place of grace for our house and for the whole German province, and perhaps even further afield. All those who come here to pray shall experience the glory of Mary and confess: “It is good for us to be here. Here we want to build our tents, here is our favorite place.” A bold thought, nearly too bold for the public, but not too bold for you. How often in world history have not small and insignificant beginnings been the source of great and greatest accomplishments? Why could that not also hold true in our case? Whoever knows the history of our sodality will have no trouble believing that Divine Providence has something special in store for it.

8 Even as I speak, my dear sodalists, I feel that I have struck the right note. Your hearts have caught fire. You have made my plan your own. With confidence I place it and its fulfillment into your hands and will not hesitate to enter it into our chronicle. Future generations may then pass their judgment upon us. But, will we reach our goal? As far as it depends on us – and I no longer pronounce that with uncertainty and doubt, but with complete confidence – none of us, my dear sodalists, will allow anything to be lacking. This sodality chapel will become for us the cradle of our sanctity, just as a chapel of Our Lady in Florence was for our second patron. St. Aloysius. And this sanctity will apply gentle force on our heavenly Mother and draw her down to us.

9 It was more than five centuries ago. In a bloody war, the English and the French were tearing each other to pieces. France was already at the point of being annihilated. At the same time, a simple French village girl was struggling in ardent prayer to the Blessed Mother for the deliverance of her king. Suddenly the Archangel Michael appeared to her and told her: “She whom the great God acknowledges as his Mother has commanded me to come to you and tell you to take up the sword, clothe yourself in armor, and  defend the cause of justice. You will deliver the city of Orleans from its enemies and lead the king to Reims for his coronation. A sword is hidden in the ground behind the altar in St. Catherine’s Church at Fierbois: Let it be brought forth and gird yourself with it.

 

      10 The girl’s name was Joan of Arc, known to history as the “Maid of Orleans.” Pius X beatified her in May 1909. To me it is as if at this moment, here in the old chapel of St.  Michael, Our Lady were speaking to us through the mouth of the holy archangel:

 

11 Do not worry about the fulfillment of your desire. Ego diligentes me diligo. I love those who love me [Prv. 8:17]. Prove to me first that you really love me, that you take your resolution seriously. Just now you have the best opportunity to do so. Do not think that in times like these, when momentous decisions are being made, that it is something extraordinary if you increase your striving beyond that of previous generations, indeed to the highest degree. According to the plan of Divine Providence, this World War with its mighty incentives is meant to be an extraordinary help for you in the work of your self-sanctification. This sanctification I demand of you. It is the armor that you shall put on, the sword with which you shall do battle for your
desires. Diligently bring me contributions to the capital of grace. By fulfilling your duties faithfully and conscientiously and by praying fervently, earn many merits and place them at my disposal. Then it will please me to dwell in your midst and dispense gifts and graces in abundance. Then I will draw youthful hearts to myself from here, and I will educate them to become useful instruments in my hand.

 ______________________


[1] Translated by Father Jonathan Niehaus, New Vision and Life, pp 98-102.

[2] Marian sodalities were noted both for its Marian devotion and also for its involvement and dedication to apostolic activity. Marian devotion and apostolic activity were integral features of the character of the sodalities-those directed by both the Jesuits and the Marianists. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Catholic Action was a movement strongly encouraged by Pius XI and Pius XII, and, in the mind of the popes, the sodalities of Our Lady were ideal settings for Catholic Action. Yet, there was frequently a hesitancy, a fear that the Sodalities of Our Lady would lose their character if they became too involved in Catholic Action. What was also needed was a broad theological vision which presented an image of the Virgin Mary that would encourage both Marian dedication and apostolic action (All About Mary, University of Dayton).

The Founder of Schoenstatt

Father Joseph Kentenich was the instrument chosen by God to found the international Schoenstatt Movement. He was born on November 16, 1885, in Gymnich, near Cologne, Germany. He deeply loved Mary and the Church. At the age of nine his mother consecrated him to the Mother of God. At that point, he placed himself entirely under her protection until then and throughout his whole life. At a young age, he felt called to the priesthood; nothing moved him more than the desire to make God known to today’s world. He saw in Mary a model of the human person with full integrity. Through his education, he led others to recognize the gift of inner freedom and the human dignity given by God.

Father Kentenich saw in Mary the model of the relationship between human beings and God, and of service to one’s neighbor. He devoted his whole life to his great goal: to form a new person, in the image of Mary, in a new community, through the bond of the covenant of love.

As a young priest, Father Kentenich was an educator in the minor Seminary of the Pallottine Fathers, in Schoenstatt, Germany. An extraordinary trust united him with his students. They took in his education with great openness because of his love for the Blessed Mother.

Attentive to God’s designs, Father Kentenich knew how to interpret the signs of the times. Along with a small group of students, he sealed a covenant of love with Our Lady in the little Schoenstatt chapel on October 18, 1914. This was the beginning and the foundation of Schoenstatt. Today this movement of life continues to spread throughout the world.

During the period following 1914, more and more people came in contact with Father Joseph Kentenich. Over time, he founded several communities for priests, families, men, women, youth, children, and the sick. These are organized into the Secular Institutes, Federations, and League branches of the Schoenstatt Movement.

The life of Father Kentenich was marked by the cross. During World War II, he was a prisoner of the National Socialists. He spent more than three years in the concentration camp of Dachau, in Germany. From 1951 – 1965, he was separated from his work by Church authorities and was sent to Milwaukee, USA.

Obedient to the Church and faithful to his founding charism, he accepted this time of testing as a  form of personal imitation of Christ. For him everything, including the cross, was an expression of God’s merciful love. He himself became a father to many, announcing, and living this reality in a convincing way. Throughout his life and in his time of suffering, he wanted to serve the Church and in this way prove his deep love for it.

After the end of the Vatican Council II, he was received in audience by Pope Paul VI. At that time, the Pope expressed his gratitude to him and to the Schoenstatt Family. Father Kentenich continued to guide the different communities and branches of the Schoenstatt Family to be at the service of the Church.

After celebrating the Holy Mass on Sunday, September 15, 1968, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Father Kentenich died in the church of the Most Holy Trinity in Schoenstatt. His last resting place is found at the same place where he died. Father Kentenich died with the reputation of sanctity. Through his example, he tried to inspire in each member of the Schoenstatt Family what he chose to be written on his tomb: Dilexit Eclessiam; He loved the Church!

The process of his canonization was opened on February 10, 1975. Annually, thousands of people visit his tomb, located in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity on Mount Schoenstatt, Germany. There they confidently present their petitions and signs of gratitude for the graces received through his intercession. Father Kentenich is seen as the third point of contact in the covenant of love, because of his fatherly character. From the founding moment of October 18, 1914 on his position as founder has been a source of blessings for the entire Schoenstatt Family.  

In 1982, Cardinal Ratzinger, later Holy Father, Benedict XVI, said:

May Mary, the Mother of the Church, through her faithful servant, Father Joseph Kentenich, teach many people the way of love for the Church so that the strength and joy of faith may penetrate our people and our nations!

Love for Mary should lead us to imitate her as our example in life and that love for her should be reflected in our lives. The prayer of the founder of Schoenstatt written in the Dachau prison camp, during World War II, should also be our prayer to Mary:

Let us reflect your image and walk through life entirely like you:

strong and noble, simple and kind, spreading love and peace and joy.

In us go through our times and make them ready for Christ (Heavenwards)[1].

____________________

[1] Heavenwards is the book of prayers written by Father Kentenich in the concentration camp of Dachau (1942-1945).

Anyone whose prayers are answered through the intercession of Father Joseph Kentenich is encouraged to document it in a simple written form and bring it to the nearest Schoenstatt Center.

 

Prayer Answered Through Father Kentenich’s Intercession:

I prayed for…

I asked for his intercession by praying… (e.g. novena, visited a memorial dedicated to him)

My request was granted when…

I thank for his intercession by…

 

Name

Date

Address

Soon I will seal my covenant of love!

What feelings do I have? 

I long for… 

I expect…

I am joyful about…

I am afraid of…

I do not feel prepared or I feel that I have not prepared sufficient, because…

The main concern is:

How will I live my covenant of love in my practical life?

The covenant of love is not a goal. You don’t graduate, so to say, when you make the covenant. You do not finish the material and move on. This is a way of life. This is not the end of a road, but the beginning of a path that, if you learn how to walk on it, you can reach holiness.  The covenant path is the path of every Christian. It is the path of St. John at the foot of the cross: “and he took Mary into his home” (cf. Jn. 19:26).

And so, now we want to reflect on how we take this covenant into our practical life.  The fruits of this covenant will depend to a great extent on our collaboration. At times, the founder of Schoenstatt used the expression: Nothing without you, nothing without us! It consists in this type of collaboration.

Therefore, what are the elements or the means that will help make of the covenant of love something that transforms our daily lives? These elements include: our daily contributions to the capital of grace, our daily proofs of love, and our daily gifts to Mary!

 

The Concept of
the Capital of Grace

Schoenstatt is a work that came forth from a divine initiative and from a special human collaboration. There was no apparition of the Blessed Mother, but there was a covenant of love with her.

As stated in the Founding Document, the prayers and sacrifices of the young seminarians were meant to exert gentle force on the Blessed Mother. This is similar to a child that tugs on his mother’s hand begging for a special favor.

The concept of capital of grace is closely related to the “parable of the talents” (Mt 25:14-30 or Lk 19:12-27). In this parable, our Lord compares grace with a capital of talents. Talents were a measure of money, a coin. This parable clearly exposes the importance of our cooperation with grace, which multiplies and becomes fruitful.

The expression capital of grace has become a common expression in Schoenstatt. We speak of contributions in order to emphasize the fact that there must be an active and personal cooperation on our part. This has been summarized in the phrase: Nothing without you, nothing without us. This reality not only determined the origin of Schoenstatt, but also its later development. Because every kingdom is preserved with the same forces that brought it about (St. Salustia +251, Martyr).

Father Kentenich, referring to the contributions to the capital of grace, clearly stated: “We owe the existence of our family to the contributions to the capital of grace of the Mother Thrice Admirable. For this reason we must firmly preserve if for all times. With contributions to the capital of grace, the family and its fruitfulness increases or dies out.”            

Behind our contributions to the capital of grace we find our love for Mary. They are the practical proofs of our love for her. Here are some examples:

  • Do the ordinary, extraordinarily well
  • Have a good attitude toward others
  • Start out a positive conversation
  • Serve others without waiting for them to ask.
  • Answer in an uplifting way the telephone, the door…
  • Share with others my goods, my time
  • Offer my work to God during the day.
  • Do good deeds and practice works of mercy
  • Patiently endure pain and suffering
  • Take time for prayer during the day

The term capital of grace did not originate in Schoenstatt. We already find it in the way of thinking of Alfonso Maria de Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists, also in Scheeben, a great German theologian, and others. Father Kentenich took up this term in 1915 and filled it with original content and meaning.

We all know that the word capital stands for a wealth or reservoir of riches used to produce more assets. It is a treasury that guarantees greater earnings by keeping it flowing: by depositing and withdrawing. This is precisely what the expression capital of grace refers to, but in the sense of graces and blessings. We bring our gifts of love and the Blessed Mother intercedes God’s graces and blessings for us. This to and fro movement of prayers and sacrifices between us and the Blessed Mother gives meaning to our joys and sorrows. We offer contributions to the capital of grace for our intentions, for those who visit the shrine, and for many others who can benefit from them.

The concept of the capital of grace is based on the teaching of good works. In the second letter of St. James (14:17) we read:  

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

We express our willingness to collaborate with God’s plan through our prayers and sacrifices in everyday life. The term, contributions to the capital of grace, does not mean that the capital of grace is increased by our actions. Rather, through prayer, sacrifice, joys, and all that we do out of love of God and the Blessed Mother, we open ourselves to grace and can help others to do the same. Through the capital of grace we can make everything fruitful, even the most incomprehensible or insignificant things of our daily lives.

It is a simple and effective means to focus the strength of our whole personality with all of its capacities, on the work of salvation. Every person, regardless of origin, age, or position, healthy or ill, can be effective for the salvation of the world through the capital of grace. Everyone can contribute to the good of others through the capital of grace.

 

  • What have I understood by the term capital of grace?
  • How will I bring this into my daily life?

Place a small jar next to a photo of the Schoenstatt Shrine.

The jar is a symbol of the capital of grace. Usually, those who visit the Schoenstatt Shrines find small pieces of paper where they can write their offerings to the MTA. You can do the same at home.

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What do I offer to the MTA that is difficult for me?
  • What do I petition for?

I fill my little jar with…

My Intention



 

Small Acts

Many years ago, Father Kentenich lived close to a garage. When those using the cars opened and closed the doors, there was much noise. A visitor asked him if it bothered him. 
Father Kentenich answered: “You can also give that as a gift! No matter how small an act may be, if it’s done for the love of God, it’s great.”


Effect of good works

“The good deeds of strangers are like unperceivable streams of water that make the earth green.” (Thomas Carlyle)

 

Fruit of love

The covenant of love would have no value if we didn’t contribute our efforts, if we only pronounced it with our lips, and if it did not come from the depths of our hearts… There is no love without sacrifice. Love lives by sacrifice, just as the flame consumes the candle wax. Sacrifice increases love, and sacrifice is the fruit of love. (Father J. Kentenich)

 

Recycling

 The capital of grace is like a system of recycling. It’s about all the hardships of my life and the times which I continue to fall in spite of my good intentions. I can place these trying moments into the hands of the Blessed Mother. I can recycle these experiences.  Then, I can start all over again. “Her shrine is the best recycling plant I know.” (Testimony of a young professional)

Today, I thank for…

Today, I bring you (mention the most difficult things of the day and the most beautiful experiences of your day)…

Today, I pray for and ask for…

The Covenant Prayer

How did the Blessed Virgin present herself to the students in 1914? How does she present herself to me today? First, she presented herself as mother, then as queen, and finally as Victress.

And how do we present ourselves before her?  We present ourselves before our Mother, Queen, and Victress with deep respect, with profound trust, and most of all, with humble, childlike love.

What is my attitude before our Mother and Queen? It is an attitude of profound respect. Respect before her greatness, respect before her power, and respect because the Blessed Mother, is the one who has been triumphant—the great Victress in all the battles of the Kingdom of God! (Paraphrased from F. J. Kentenich. Cf. For Us.  Conferences for mothers in Schoenstatt, Germany, 1966. New Schoenstatt, Argentina, 1991.) 

Perhaps you have already thought about some of the words you want to include in your covenant prayer. Before you start writing, ponder on the question that Father Kentenich asks us: How do I see the Blessed Mother and how does she see me?

It is very important to look into our heart and contemplate the flame that God has kindled in us through Baptism. This light of Christ was enkindled in me in an hour of grace. When I make my covenant of love, I will experience another moment of grace. You can then ask yourself: What will really happen when I renew my baptismal covenant, when I make my covenant of love with the Blessed Mother?

On the day of our covenant, we hope that our hearts will be set afire with a longing to love Mary in a way that will never be extinguished by the perils of daily life. On account of this concern, we should think of:

1. The formulation of your covenant prayer

2. The final preparation of your soul for the covenant of love

3. The preparation of the candle and symbols used to represent the sealing the covenant of love

 

Our covenant prayer eventually becomes a type of personal Founding Document. The love expressed in the covenant prayer turns our hearts into shrines. Through this prayer we place our life and our heart into the hands of the Blessed Mother. She, in turn, entrusts all we hand over to her into the hands of the Triune God. The format to follow is simple.

 

Greeting: I greet her; I address her as the one with whom I will seal a covenant of love.

What titles do you want to use to address her?  

 

State the moment: It is good to mention the importance of the day or the date, if it is a special feast day, solemnity, anniversary, or the like.

Is the date significant for you, for your family, for your group? (e.g. May 31 is usually the feast of the Visitation, but it is also third milestone in Schoenstatt’s history.)

 

Incorporation into October 18, 1914: Our personal consecration is an act by which we assimilate the promises and demands of October 18, 1914.                            This is our opportunity to unite with the original group of students and with the founder.

What attitude or phrase from the Founding Document touches you the most and why? How do you see yourself united with the founding generation?

 

– By offering our contributions to the capital of grace: this is our direct participation in the mission that the Blessed Mother fulfills from her Shrine, we exchange our love with the MTA.

If you like to make a special commitment to highlight an aspect of your spiritual life you may do so. Such a personal resolution can become a significant starting point for God’s grace to be active for the rest of your life, by virtue of the covenant of love with Mary.

 

Petitions: If the Blessed Mother would bend down to you and place her ear close to you, what would you whisper into her ear? At such a solemn moment when heaven touches earth, we cannot fail to voice our needs in a childlike petition.

Ask the Blessed Mother to extend her hand to help with the most pressing needs!

 

– Any token of love and affection: a person or group may include something in the formulation of the prayer. Some choose to sing a song, recite a poem, bring up a flower, present a symbol, etc. This is totally optional!

 

The Covenant Candle:

Because we will renew our Baptism, we light a candle. This candle also represents the reality in which we live, the history we bring, and the many possibilities God has to continue transforming us through the covenant of love with Mary. The symbols on the candle become a most eloquent expression of the covenant prayer. They represent the light of Christ that was lit in our heart and that we have preserved through the years.

On a simple wax pillar, you may give expression to what you want to offer to the Blessed Mother in this solemn hour of covenant and consecration. Using small symbols, determined by the individual or the group, you can express the love for our children, some outstanding events in your history, or even one or the other aspiration of your heart. Among other symbols, you can use flowers, crosses, pictures of the Blessed Mother, of Father Kentenich, and so on.

 

 

The Covenant Medal:

As a sign that our heart belongs to the Blessed Mother, we receive a medal from the hands of a priest during the covenant ceremony. This medal becomes a reminder of the protecting mantle of the Blessed Mother and of our unconditional surrender to her, even when difficulties may come our way.

The medal is provided by the moderator or the leader. Upon receiving the medal,          you may sign the covenant book of the particular diocese or shrine.

 

 

The Covenant Attire:

In liturgy the attire is always important. Notice how the priest vests with different colors for different feasts. Because it is a liturgical action and a moment of grace (a sacramental, not a sacrament), we want to show our reverence by the way we dress for this occasion.

Just as clothing played an important role at our Baptism and marriage ceremony, when sealing the covenant of love, it is meaningful to pay attention to this detail. A couple may choose to renew their marriage covenant when making the covenant of love in Schoenstatt. If this is not possible, the attitude with which you approach the altar can also show through our attire.  

 

 

The Covenant Rite:

In each sacrament we find a specific formulation through which the Church admits the minister to witness or mediate God’s grace. The covenant of love in Schoenstatt, as a sacramental and a renewal of the baptismal covenant that becomes effective through a rite with a distinct formulation. This rite allows the priest (a member of the Schoenstatt Family) to accept your consecration to Mary in the name of the Church, of the founder of Schoenstatt, and on behalf of the Schoenstatt Family.

           You will seal this covenant in a private character. Through it, you won’t be inserted into any specific branch or community of Schoenstatt. Through                   the rite of the Pilgrims Movement, you will become part of the large Schoenstatt Family as a pilgrim. If you would like to join a particular branch, you             should contact the diocesan leader or the moderator of the branch

The Covenant Renewal:  

Only by renewing our covenant, can we remain faithful to our commitment. On the 18th of each month, numberless people around the world gather in Schoenstatt Shrines, in parishes, and in home shrines to renew their covenant. We can also choose different occasions for this renewal. At home, in the silence and privacy of our prayer corner, we can also rekindle the flame of our love for the Blessed Mother. Here are some simple steps to renew the covenant.

– Light the covenant candle: By lighting the covenant candle we are also renewing the ardor of our love for the Blessed Mother and our commitment to bring our gifts of love to her.

– Bring our contributions to the capital of grace: We fulfill our part of the covenant by offering to the MTA our love in the form of our contributions to the capital of grace. Our joys, sorrows, frustrations, and our love become our participation in the mystery of this covenant.

– Pray My Queen, My Mother: The prayer of consecration to the Blessed Mother is usually the simplest way of renewing the covenant of love with the MTA. By spiritually placing ourselves in the shrine, before the image of the Blessed Mother, we focus our attention on the love we have received from God through the MTA since the last renewal. Praying or singing My Queen, My Mother is an effective way of renewing our surrender.

I firmly trust that no one will be lost who lives the covenant in loyalty!

Father J. Kentenich