To be a woman – me, here and now!
Waukesha, WI January 30-31, 2015
As a new day dawns, we come to greet you, Blessed Mother, here in the shrine. In these last few hours you have already allowed us to encounter you, to be taken in by you. This morning our hearts are open, ready to be led by you into the world of our deepest essence: that of being a woman. When we look into your eyes we discover the beauty of a true woman, a great woman who stands before us in all her dignity and beauty. You not only give us a home, a shelter and your motherly love; you also draw us into your pure heart, so we may be formed after your image. What is this image? What does it mean to live the ideal of woman?
We listen to words from Fr. Kentenich:
“The ideal of a girl and a woman is great, promising, blessed.
And what is the true ideal of woman like? What is the God-willed image of woman which brings about blessings? How does God see us? The essence of woman as God has implanted it into our heart, is enfleshed in the Blessed Mother in a most classical way. She taught us the ideal of the woman: “Ecce ancilla Domini” – to open ourselves for all the great and glorious values, for God and the Divine; to serve the Divine, and to divinize everything around us. The ideal of woman consists ultimately in giving of self. Until the end of our lives we have to give, give and give. (…) What do we give? Our heart, our intellect, our will, our body and its strength. We surrender everything to the divine. How realistic this sounds! Expressed in other terms: Motherliness. Surrender, surrender, surrender until the end of our lives and in an unrestrained way, all is given to God. Abandon yourself to God and the Divine!
What does true genuine womanhood consist in? In selfless service! Whom do we serve? The passion of man? No, no, we always serve God and the Divine in the ‘you’, the Divine in our surroundings, wherever it shows itself, be it in the world, in the woman, in the child or wherever. What is true womanhood? It is the attitude of a true handmaid; it manifests itself in endless infinite reverence. We want to have reverence for all beings, for the God-willed order in life. We want to become the guardians of the ideal of true womanhood, of the holy flame which is threatened to be extinguished today: in public life, in literature, in practical life(…). Womanhood that expresses itself in the desire for pleasure and greediness, in the desire to possess, sharply contrasts the ideal which the Blessed Mother embodies, the ideal of eternal womanly values.
How grateful will the Blessed Mother be when we are open for the values which she represents. The Triune God will look upon us with great benevolence. Women hold two thirds of the fate of the country in their hands. Our mission is tremendously great. You see the great tasks. There may not exist anything little and small. Saint Therese maintained: Climbing a mole hill does not awaken any strength, but climbing a high mountain awakens all energy within us. Our ideal shall be as high as a mountain; it is the ideal of the eternal value of woman. (…)
We must preserve purely the ideal of a girl and protect it like a holy fire.
When we are in doubt, we shall not ask ourselves: “What does the man say?” or “What do fashion magazines tell me?” Whom do we want to ask when we have to make a decision: Should I say yes or no, should I decide this way or that? God knows that we do not have the strength to always think in last principles and therefore he gave us the ideal of a woman embodied in the Blessed Mother. When we orientate ourselves on her, we can more easily embrace the original idea of woman.
The Blessed Mother is not only the embodiment of this original idea, but she also educates us accordingly. From the shrine she wants to be active as the great educator. When we have to educate and may educate, to whom shall we go? Naturally, to the Blessed Mother. She knows much better than us the importance of the girl and woman for the culture of today and of the coming centuries. Therefore, we may be certain that she will unfold her educational activity in us and in those whom we love in a special way. (…)
Woman has to radiate the countenance of Christ and the Blessed Mother to the world. How much spirit and soul shines forth from a girl’s eyes to the world? We pray in Heavenwards:
‘There is a place so rich and pure, a reflection of God’s beauty.’
This is what an animated girl’s eyes should look like. How empty are the faces of our girls and women today. How much restlessness determines their actions! The eyes flicker, the glance wanders around, unsteady. The eyes reflect the entire restlessness of our time today. And how many masks do we see in them? How much trimming and decoration, colors, and make-up exist? How many masks! Tear away the masks! What should be the greatest beauty in us? It is the inner divine riches, filling the heart. We want to become true, genuine girls and keep the great ideal always before our eyes. But for this we need strength. We have to rid ourselves of the confusing concepts and values, and let the true values break through again. Who shall imprint upon us the countenance of the Blessed Mother? And who shall give us the genuine soul, the true heart? The Blessed Mother, she is the great educator! She represents in a perfect way the original ideal of a girl and is at the same time the great former of souls. She has transforming power. Therefore we go to her. The Blessed Mother must form and educate us and our girls.
From the shrine the Blessed Mother wants to unfold her activity; there she wants to transform my character and the entire world. And we firmly believe that the Blessed Mother will unfold her educative power from this small spot on this earth. (…) There we are protected and safe. There we are preserved from all harm and seek to unite with others; there in the heart of the Blessed Mother we find more and more a home. (…)” (Fr. Kentenich to the Youth on August 5, 1950 – from “Es Geht dich an III”)