we Sisters in Schoenstatt await the Feast of Corpus Christi with excitement and anticipation. Months before the feast, we reflect on the theme and prepare many things in the background. When the Feast of Corpus Christi is over on Thursday with the processions in many parishes, we will go to work full of anticipation and eagerness: on Friday morning, at 5:00 a.m., the first sisters will be into the green fields to gather flowers for the carpets in the morning coolness. It goes on like this all day long. We experience generosity and helpfulness from many sides, for example through offers to cut rose petals in private gardens or municipal facilities.
A fiery motto!
This time we are particularly interested in red flowers, because the Corpus Christi festival has the motto: “Go, ignite the world”. The carpets are designed accordingly – and on Saturday not only we sisters, but many helpers are in demand! For some families it is already a tradition to be there, some helpers come especially for this. Also the sound company has already developed a routine. All faces are shining with the sun because of the weather – from morning till evening. In between there is time for conversation and exchange, not least during dinner behind the mother house
Festive Mass in the Adoration Church
Finally it is Sunday – a sun (ny)day in the truest sense of the word! The bells are ringing festively, about ten priests and many faithful – including French, Croatian, Polish and Swiss groups as well as pilgrims from different parts of Germany – come to Schoenstatt to experience the Feast of Corpus Christi.
With Christ on the Roads of Life
This year, Father Bracht, Rector of the Original Shrine, is the main celebrant of the festive Mass, which was musically prepared by the vocal ensemble of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Father Bracht reminds us that the actual homily today is the procession – but it needs an interpretation:
Jesus, the Lord, wants to be with us, he walks through the streets, through the world. In the Blessed Sacrament we accompany him over Mount Schoenstatt – but he also wants to walk through the main streets of the big cities. The way today is a symbol of the way of our life, the way to heaven. Jesus wants to meet the people on their streets. As in the Gospel, people today are hungry, they are hungry for life. But much in which they seek fulfillment is untrue, only virtual. Jesus, on the other hand, is real, he is really with us – that is his answer to our hunger! He gives food – he is food. So that the Lord can walk on the streets, he needs bearers. We are bearers of Christ, and the flower decoration on the way should be the decoration of our hearts. We carry the Lord in a monstrance and are ourselves living monstrances, like Mary who carried Christ over the mountains to Elizabeth.
In the concerns of the world
With these thoughts in mind, about 1,200 people form a procession after the Eucharist, which is accompanied musically by the “Musikverein Niederwerth 1922”. Traditional Corpus Christi songs, new songs, prayers of praise and supplication in the intentions of the whole world are heard, while we accompany Christ in the monstrance over Mount Schoenstatt. Especially impressive are the intercessions of the children at the third altar.
The “sermon” of the flower carpets
The flower carpets speak to us in their clear symbolism:
“Give us of your fire” is the imperative at the first altar at the Schlungsheim. We can see the window that has been in the Founder’s Chapel where Father Kentenich died 50 years ago.
The symbolism of the window speaks of this:
A bright, radiant center from which movement emanates: a sign of prayerful communion and the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Seven flames break out of the circle: filled with the Holy Spirit, we are called to set out. Togetherness – and yet each with his or her very own vocation and gift.
Looking out through the window into the world: in the power of the Holy Spirit we dare to set out, we shape today and tomorrow.
The carpet in front of the Shrine of the Sisters takes up the scripture “They all remained there unanimously in prayer, together with the women and with Mary, the Mother of Jesus …” (Acts 1:14) The Schoenstatt Shrine – stylized – a place of special closeness to Mary, Pentecost room today!
Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are sent so that the blessing of Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection may penetrate the world.
To be an apostle means to have a mission, to be sent.
The basin of fire on the carpet in front of the Motherhouse encourages us: the world is on fire. Every day the media bring this to us anew. We Christians are called to light another fire in this world: the fire of love.
Also today is an apostolic time! Each one of us is called, in his own way and in the place where he stands, to set the world on fire. Everyone can change the world with the flame of his love.
The carpet in front of the Adoration Church reminds us of the burning bush in which God reveals Himself to Moses with His name: “I am the ‘I am'” (Ex 3:1 ff).
To impress this on us indelibly, he sent his Son into the world.
Jesus Christ came to bring us the message of the love of the eternal Father. He sealed it with his death on the cross. Thorns and crosses are signs of God’s burning love for us.
Jesus, our Redeemer, is present among us in the inconspicuous sign of the host, in the Holy Eucharist.
Alternative program in the afternoon
After the Te Deum at the end of the procession and the pilgrimage Mass, the feast day is far from over. Many of the pilgrims also spend the afternoon on Mount Schoenstatt, contemplating the flower carpets again and participating in the alternative program.
It is worthwhile to be here
For many pilgrims, the Corpus Christi procession on Mount Schoenstatt is a “must” every year. An elderly woman says enthusiastically: “I have applied for vacation not only for this time, but for each Corpus Christi feast until the beginning of my retirement, because I simply don’t want to miss the procession anymore!”
One participant remarked: “I have seen many Corpus Christi processions, but here it is something special.” – Another echo: “Everything is from the same mold, the prayer texts point to what is essential”.