Beautiful Place - Schoenstatt
Other than being the name of the movement, spirituality, and shrine found outside of Crete, NE, Schoenstatt is also a German word meaning, beautiful place. How fitting, that this past weekend, in honor of Earth Day, we had the opportunity to “beautify“ the grounds at our Schoenstatt Center. Together with the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, a dozen of us cleared out bricks, picked weeds, removed day lilies, cleared brush, cleaned the area off the highway, restored the rock path, painted the wayside shrine in the parking lot, etc. By the end of the day, Cor Mariae was definitely looking like a “schoenstatt!”
Together with my dad I was able to help clear away two large sections of brush that had become over grown not far from the front of the shrine. As we neared the end of the first section I couldn’t help but recall the image of the “Mariengarten,” or Garden of Mary.
In the letter which Father Kentenich sent to Sr. Mariengard from the Koblenz prison, in response to her letter to the Christ Child he said,
My dear little Mariengard, I will fulfil your wish when your heart and the heart of the whole Family has become a flourishing Mariengarten.
It was such a joy to make the areas surrounding our Cor Mariae (Heart of Maray) shrine so beautiful, but can the same be said about the shrine of my heart? Do I find it a joy to beautify my heart? Is my heart being pruned and ready to become a flourishing Garden of Mary? Or is it only my surroundings that are becoming a beautiful place?
The closer that my dad and I got to finishing, the more beautiful the area became. It was not easy work and both my dad and I have marks to prove it. (Don’t worry nothing serious!) Yet, by the time we reached the end, the area looked totally new, fitting for a place of pilgrimage. As I sit here, I have to be honest with myself, lately I have struggled to put that kind of time and effort into cultivating the garden of my heart. Sure it isn‘t running rampant with weeds and trash, but there are definitely some brush piles which have gotten out of hand in certain corners. This Easter season, I encourage you to set aside some extra time to discover what brush piles and weeds are in your heart. Together, as we undergo spring cleaning and yard work, let us also make our hearts more of a “schoenstatt.” That when the Holy Spirit comes to find us at Pentecost, he has wide open spaces to do his work.