A child asked his mother about Advent and Christmas. The mother answered, “Oh, Advent and Christmas – that is something very boring.”
Things that happen every year or every day can lose meaning, become routine, and even get boring. We all know of such things. But does this also apply to Advent and Christmas?
We are Called to Love
It never applies where people are united with one another in love, where love becomes concrete. We are made for love. God, eternal Love, has called us into existence. We owe our lives to his love. We are called to love.
A few years ago I participated in a youth Mass. In his homily the priest spoke about what it’s like when two people love each other. And he explained: They constantly seek contact with one another. They make use of every opportunity to see each other. They never seem to run out of things to tell each other. And still, they always tell each other the same thing: “I love you. I like you. You are my one and only. There is nothing more important to me than you. I’ll do anything for you. I am yours forever …” They find ever new ways to express their love. It never gets boring for them. The homily ended with the priest showing how this exchange between two people in love also applies to our relationship with God, to our prayer.
The Child in the Crib – Proof of God’s Love
God loves us. In his unending love he allows his Son to become man for us. The Child in the crib is the greatest proof of his love for us human beings.
This is the meaning of the time of Advent and Christmas, that we discover his love anew, that his love may awaken our love in return.
“We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
Father Kentenich: Transparency of God’s Love
Many people experienced the deep love of God through Father Kentenich. All of them experienced love and esteem through him. September 15, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Father Kentenich’s death. As a preparation for this day we are celebrating a Kentenich Year.
Our experience in the Father Kentenich Secretariat is that he continues to be present among us fifty years after his death. Many people keep contact with him. For many people he has become a constant companion through whom they receive orientation. He has become their faithful helper – they are grateful to him for many things and feel connected to him. They can’t imagine their lives without him.
Recently a woman wrote, “Without Father Kentenich and Schoenstatt and all the gifts that I received through Father Kentenich – the Schoenstatt Shrine, the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother, this wonderful spiritual home – it would be totally unthinkable that I could endure all that I have to bear.”
Another letter reads, “For years I have sensed clearly again and again the help and nearness of Father Kentenich and the Blessed Mother. I trust very firmly in him and his intercession for me and all my intentions, concerns, and needs. He is my example and daily companion. In gratitude I always remain close to him and pray daily for his canonization.”
Advent in the Kentenich Year
Advent in this Kentenich Year could be an impulse to orient yourself on the Blessed Mother and also on Father Kentenich in these weeks of preparation for Christmas. That means being open for God’s love and striving for an ever deeper love for God.
In this way the words of Father Kentenich can accompany us through these days of Advent:
“This is a twofold, very great truth that we must imprint upon ourselves again and again: God loves me. He likes me. If I am convinced of this, then I am capable of anything. The Child in the crib is the most eloquent language of love. But I may not forget that he also wants to be loved by me.” (J. Kentenich, December 27, 1933)