A Marian Spirituality
We strive for holiness in a Marian way which means that Marian devotion has a central place in our way of life, in our praying, working and living together. We foster a deep, childlike relationship to Mary as our Mother, our Queen, and our Victress. As Father Kentenich says, “Love assimilates”. Love makes us similar to the one we love, so we also try to be like Mary. Following her example, we strive to embody her fine, noble, womanly features in everything we do and say.
Schoenstatt’s spirituality has three main elements which give life and direction to our Marian striving for holiness: covenant piety; instrumentality; everyday sanctity!
Schoenstatt’s covenant of love is the foundation for our relationship with Mary, indeed the source of life of the entire Schoenstatt Movement. When we enter into the covenant of love with Our Lady, it is not just a one-time act, but something we renew daily which gives us strength and grace for the challenges and adventures of everyday life. Father Kentenich often referred to the covenant of love as an “exchange of hearts” with the Blessed Mother. We place our childlike hearts, the symbol of our entire personality, completely at her disposal, striving generously for holiness and a sincere readiness to fulfil her slightest wish. She in turn places her motherly heart, a heart full of grace, completely at our disposal, and, at the same time, forms and moulds our hearts into the likeness of her own. Our covenant of love with Mary is, as our founder taught, the means, protection, and expression of our covenant relationship with the Blessed Trinity.
Schoenstatt’s instrument-spirituality is founded on basic Catholic teaching that God has always used secondary causes to carry out his works in salvation history and continues to do so today. When God wants to perform his works in the world and in souls he often does not act directly but sends human instruments to carry out the task on his behalf. For example, in the Old Testament, when he wanted to speak to his people, he sent prophets to speak in his name. At the hour of the Annunciation, God sent an angel to Our Lady as his messenger. Instrumentality in Schoenstatt’s way of thinking is a natural consequence of the covenant of love with Our Lady. Placing our hearts completely at her disposal means allowing ourselves to be used as instruments for her Schoenstatt mission. For us to be good tools in her hands, we must remain pliable and open, always letting her use us according to God’s plan. Only then can she reach the hearts of others and lead them to the heavenly Father.
Holiness is not something reserved for a select few, nor is it something abstract and disconnected with life. Rather, the Church teaches that each one of us is called to be a saint according to our personal God-given mission. In Schoenstatt we reach out for this holiness through what we call “everyday sanctity.” This does not mean that we are called to be lukewarm and mundane. On the contrary, we are called to the greatest heroism, the heroism of doing the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well, always out of deep, sincere love. Because everyday sanctity consists of harmony in our relationship with God, with others, with our daily duties and with ourselves, it embraces all aspects of daily life including prayer, social interaction, work, study and relaxation. In her oneness with God’s will, Mary is our model and teacher of everyday sanctity.
A Father-centred, “Patrocentric” Spirituality
In our relationship with Mary, she leads us to her Son and deepens our love for him. Because Christ and Mary are united as children of the Father in an outstanding way, they lead us to the Father.
Practical Faith in Divine Providence
In addition to the covenant of love, one of Schoenstatt’s most important messages for the world of today is practical faith in Divine Providence. This means that God the Father has a plan of love, wisdom, and omnipotence and that everything that takes place in our lives is part of this plan. We strive to believe and let ourselves experience this truth very deeply. Like children we go where the Father leads us, alert and ready to respond to his wish at every moment, after the example of Our Lady.
Father Kentenich - Our Spiritual Father
Father Kentenich had the pronounced mission to be a spiritual father for countless people, to embody the features of God the Father in his love, his mercy, his educative wisdom, and his faithfulness. Our deep, childlike relationship to our founder also secures our love for the heavenly Father.
Because we centre on Mary as our Mother and God as our Father, the goal of our striving is childlikeness. We follow Christ’s words: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).