January 21, 2018

Right Now, Daring the New. With You.

Sister M. Caja Bernhard, Germany

Radical Change, Upheaval, a New Beginning

So many things are radically changing, posing questions, calling for a new beginning – right now, on the national and international political stage, and in the realm of our church.

This also holds true in our personal life: radical changes, upheavals, new beginnings, situations that were not there like that before, experiences that pose completely new questions, challenges that urge us toward new beginnings, perhaps even more than before.

God Loves New Beginnings

Our God is a God who loves new beginnings, a God who in various ways has promised to the humanity that lies so close to his heart: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you … to give you a future of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Since the creation of the world he has made one new beginning after the other. In the Old Testament he chose kings and prophets in order to draw the people to himself and lead them on his paths. At the beginning of the New Testament, “when the fullness of time had come” (Galatians 4:4), he made the all-decisive new beginning in his history with mankind. He chose a young woman, Mary, to bring the Redeemer into the world. In the course of the following centuries he again and again chose great people, saints, who would be active as a renewing force within the Church and through the church.

October 18, 1914: A New Divine Initiative

Father Kentenich, the founder of the international Schoenstatt Movement, is also an instrument for a new beginning. Through small signs God allowed him to recognize that he wanted to initiate a way of the covenant in Schoenstatt through Mary. The yes to this, which Father Kentenich dared together with a few young men, allowed something new to emerge: Schoenstatt as a place of grace, Schoenstatt as a new spiritual and pedagogical way, Schoenstatt as a movement of renewal in the Church, for the Church – and through the Church for the world.

A simple yes that stood at the beginning, resulted in tremendously much. What would have happened if Mary had said no? What if the many great men and women who helped shape the history of the Church had refused to say yes? What if Father Kentenich had not had the courage and the strength of faith to go along with God’s plans?

A New Start, Here and Now

God takes the initiative. He goes out to the people, invites them, and challenges them to discover his plan of goodness for them so that something new and great can develop. That is his style in dealing with humanity; that is his style in dealing with us. God want to make a new beginning also with us, with each one of us. He has something in mind for me. He wants to write history with me and through me, so that something will change for the better, so that his blessing will have an impact – right there where I am.

Where does God want to begin something new in this year – with me and through me? Where does he beckon to me to leave well-traveled paths in order to reach new shores? Where does his message speak to me, quietly, cautiously, unassumingly in order to show me the direction? Whom does he send to me along the way so that I look, listen, and then suddenly understand more?

So that this does not remain with beautiful words and good will – as perhaps other things have – a suggestion for concretization:

Catch your Breath

I take time for myself. I find my special place. I pray for the light of the Holy Spirit and open myself for the “conversation” with him.

Look Ahead

I ask: Good God, what do you want of me in this year? Where do you want to lead me? Where do you want me to make a new start? I listen toward the inside. I allow myself time, enough time, until I “hear” something. I make notes of the thoughts that come to me. I think about them. I decide which direction I want to go.

Set Out

I set out, allow myself to be enticed by the vision that lies before me, and dare the first step. I formulate a sentence which should motivate me toward the goal that I have placed before my eyes and I repeat this sentence again and again, especially in the morning, at the start of the day.

Stay with it

I prepare myself for opposition, whether it comes from within me because I do not like to step out of my comfort zone, or whether it comes from outside of me: The others laugh at me or try to stop me. I go my way. Even so. And I smile back.


I know I don’t have to “manage” it by myself. One is there who goes along: Mary, the woman who never leaves my side. And one is there who only waits to support me. I trust: When he, the Holy Spirit, “blows the appropriate helpful wind into the sail, it goes more quickly and securely” (J. Kentenich).

Courage – Today, Now and Here

Dare the beginning. Discover new land. Begin something that no one before me has begun. Like Mary, like Father Kentenich, like so many who have gone before me. Not just anytime, not just anywhere; no, courageously, today, here and now. Because “it all depends on us! God should not rely on us in vain” (J. Kentenich).