Dear Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women,

When the Church invites us to focus on the paschal mysteries of our faith: on the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord, for the next 40 days (of Lent), she is also inviting us to go with our Lord into the desert of our hearts, and there, pray with Him and learn from Him, how to stand before temptations. And, the strength to stand before temptations comes from the Holy Spirit, but also as a fruit of our genuine striving to ennoble our hearts, to become independent from the influence of the world.

Mary, with whom we have made the Covenant of Love, is the great teacher of what Father Kentenich used to call: independent thinking – something very much needed to face all temptations.

Be Love. Live Truth. Reveal Mercy.
As a reflection for Ash Wednesday, I invite you to “think” about Love, about truth and about mercy, in a totally “independent” way, so to say, and discover in Mary, in our Lord, in your own life of the Covenant of Love the beauty of who you are called to be, according to your own Personal Ideal.

The following text from Father Kentenich may inspire you to stand before the lack of love, of truth, and of mercy in our world, and face it from the standpoint of your Schoenstatt consecration.

In contrast, think about how it was with our dear Blessed Mother. (…) In general one often hears it said that a woman does not need to think for herself… Why don’t we ask the Blessed Mother? We see her thinking, deliberating, and making a decision in s supremely personal way. We need only recall the Annunciation. The angel came, brought her the message – a glorious message. What shall you become! You shall become the Queen of heaven and earth!

Dear friends, who among us, especially… would not have fallen right into it? What glory, what an offer! Of course, my heart will be satisfied – we would have said yes at once! What did Mary do? No less than an angel came and spoke to her in God’s name. But she took time to form her own opinion! She listened to the message. And what was her heart’s reaction?

First, she thought it through. Good heavens, who of us still thinks in our day and age! Who of us, man or woman, still thinks things through, weighs a question in their own heart? She thought it through. If we want to develop into a personality and learn how to think personally again, then we must learn to think things through – including religious matters! (…)

The second thing we should do is educate ourselves to think clearly. In Mary’s case, she asked the angel, “How can this be possible?” Do you notice how seriously she deliberates? (…)

To continue: Later on, when she had to face difficulties that she did not understand.. truly, Sacred Scriptures says that she thought about all these things and pondered them in her heart… The heart must first process everything. You see, this is the education of the personality! She thought it through! And how she later professed it, gave witness to what she knew to be right! We only need to study the Magnificat, which is a single mighty proclamation of great religious truths! And, when Christ hung on the cross as a criminal, she stood at his side (P. J. Kentenich, 1962).

It is thus that Pope Francis reminds us this Lent how, “Mary has become a perfect image of the Church,” ready to evangelize, and in her maternal role and character, capable of carrying Christ on to others, through generosity, faithfulness, compassing and goodness, shown in every kind of relationship (Message of P. Francis, Lent 2016). Perhaps, we need more of this “independent” pondering during the coming weeks of Lent, in order to grasp the truths of our faith, to be love for those around us, to live truth amidst the confusions that surround us, and reveal mercy when we are plunged into misery through the refusal, the contradiction, or the harshness of others or even of ourselves.

Let us ask our Covenant Queen, to shelter us in her heart, and teach us that “independent thinking” that ennobles the heart, to know when exactly when to reach out to those who need to see us Be Love; Live Truth; Reveal Mercy.

Wishing you a most blessed time of Lent, sheltered in the merciful heart of our Mother and Queen,
Sr. M. Isabel