With Mary through Advent – to our Schoenstatt Bethlehem
We want to transform our heartshrines, homeshrines into spaces where love, healing and mercy can be tangibly experienced. Father, your Shrine Heart of Love, Healing and Mercy! Then our encounter with the Child in the Crib will be truly a deep and meaningful one! This week the focus is on our mouths –how we use it -the words we utter and consider Mary’s words and responses. . .
MY Queen my Mother, I give myself entirely to you and to show my devotion to you I consecrate to you today my eyes, my ears , my mouth, my heart –my entire self without reserve, as I am your own my good Mother, guard and defend me as your property and your possession, AMEN.
At the beginning of each day we pray our Consecration prayer and read the short reflection. At the end of each day I place a sign in the crib of all attempts to live each day in the spirit of this consecration prayer (successful and unsuccessful attempts could be symbolized through bits of straw in a crib)
Sunday: The Divine Word and the human word
REFLECTION: The Divine Word was made flesh with the response of Mary’s word –her YES! “I am the handmaid of the Lord , let be done unto to me according to His WORD. Drawn down by humility and complete self –surrender the Diviine Word leapt from the eternal throne and made His home in her heart. The dignity of the spoken word lies in this mind-boggling exchange between heaven and earth. Mary’s words unleashed the miracle of all miracles –God becoming man for our sakes. We can reflect on the impact of our words- does it unleash new possibilities for someone, maybe a new beginning? New hope and courage? Tonight I shall place in the crib those spoken words that might have set someone free.
Monday: The excesses of the mouth
REFLECTION: Our mouths may speak words of love, healing and mercy or words of contempt and anger. We may eat too much, drink too much or even swear too much or simply speak too much. We know how hard it is to guard the tongue and the untold damage that it can do to others. A loose tongue needs disciplining. During advent we may want to cultivate an awareness of our careless speaking and embrace more silences in the course of the day. Let us be honest about how often we say things without thinking and the hurt that it can cause. Tonight we want to place in the crib an attempt to curb some excess, some indulgence. We want to offer this to the Christ-child.
Tuesday: Speaking out and keeping silent
REFLECTION: We all need the wisdom to know when to speak out and when to keep silent. It takes courage to speak truth to power and in many cases we omit to do so because we fear the consequences. Mary was not afraid to ask for clarification. Fr. Kentenich although obedient to the Church was not afraid to speak about the difficulties in the Church. We know all too well what happens when there is a complicit silence about corruption and the lack of transparency. Being silent when my words are needed to make things right can be a sin of omission. This evening I shall place in the crib an attempt at speaking out in the right place about an injustice or place an attempt to keep silent for the sake of the greater good.
Wednesday: Words that wound and destroy
REFLECTION: How many times have we sat with someone who shared the impact of wards that have deeply scarred them? Such words may have been carelessly said or even said in anger with the intention to hurt. A significant person in our lives may have inflicted a wounding word that one just cannot forget. “ I never really wanted to have you as a child” or “Your father [0r mother] never really loved you” or “you are illegitimate” or “you are stupid” or “you will never make anything of your life” .” You are too fat, too dark, too short, too thin, too weak or just not good enough”. Which words have wounded you? Write it down. Have you spoken any words that you really regret? Write it down. This evening I shall place in the crib those words that have wounded others or that have wounded me.
Thursday: Superficial Words
REFLECTION: If what you are going to say is really superficial then why say it? There is a difference between lighthearted words aimed at lifting up an atmosphere and superficial words that mean very little. Words that come from an authentic inner core have a special appeal, If words do not resonate with a person’s actions then it often falls on deaf ears. Thus there is a connection between the integrity of thought, word and action. People very quickly pick up just how sincere you are in what you are saying. Very often relationships break down just because people do not mean what they say. If I am to be ‘truly there’ for the other, then I should avoid speaking superficially. Tonight I shall place in the crib those words of mine that were better not said at all.
Friday: Words of blessing
REFLECTION: I am sure that Mary’s words were uplifting. Very few of her words are documented but if we examine the words of the Magnificat then it provides us with a kaleidoscope of blessings that emanate from her gratitude at the mercies shown to her, elaborating on God’s greatness and her smallness. Words thus flow from an inner attitude. If I am in the right relationship with God then my relationship with my neighbor also becomes easier. Angry, prickly, difficult people are basically dealing with some unhappiness and their words reflect this. Let us strive to remain positive despite life’s challenges and pray that our words may be a real blessing to others. Tonight I shall place in the crib one word of blessing that came out of my mouth today and offer up an ‘angry retort’ which may have spilled out in the course of the day.
Saturday: Words of love and peace
REFLECTIONÖ We love to stay in the presence of those whose words are like a healing, soothing balm for our souls. Such people seem to be messengers of love and peace and we tend to ‘hang on to their words’ . The more authentic such words are the greater capacity there is for our inner transformation. God uses such ‘secondary causes’ such instruments to convey his love and mercy. It might be worth our while to consider how many words of love, of peace, of healing, of compassion left our lips today? We may also want to reflect on a situation when someone spoke kindly to us in our moment of distress and desolation. This evening I shall place my gratitude for such words of love and peace in my own life and offer up my attempts at trying to utter a loving word today.