The concept of a “sacred corner” in the home is not new; it has existed in German society since feudal times and has been a part of Schoenstatt families from the 1930s. A corner of a room, with a crucifix and perhaps a kneeler, an icon of Our Lady, pictures of a favorite saint, maybe other religious articles important to the family, would be the center of a family’s devotions. There they would go to pray in times of joy and sorrow. But the concept of the Schoenstatt Home Shrine was not solidified until Father explained it in his talk of November 18. And just as the touch-tone phone was built upon the dial phone, but transformed it into something leading toward the future, so too did Father’s concept of the Home Shrine transform the Prayer Corner.
Father says (and I edit somewhat here), “The Jubilee Year (1963) is therefore directed at revitalizing the basic forces of our Family. Where do we find these basic forces? We know the answer – it is in the Founding Document. …We know that the Blessed Mother, by virtue of the Covenant of Love she made in 1914, has made us six promises and six demands.”
The six promises are:
- “It will please me to dwell in your midst and dispense gifts and graces in abundance"
- “I will draw youthful hearts to myself…”
- “…And I will educate them…”
- “…to become useful instruments…”
- “…in my hand…”
- For the threefold mission of Schoenstatt: the new man in the new community, the saving of the salvic mission of the Western World, and the establishment and expansion of the World apostolic Confederation.
The six demands are:
- “Prove to me first…that you take your covenant of love seriously”
- By serious striving for self-sanctification
- By increasing our striving to the highest degree
- “By faithful fulfillment of your duties”
- “And an ardent life of prayer”
- Placing your merits at the disposal of the Capital of Grace
Father continued, “It is important that we realize that the same promises and demands apply to each Daughter Shrine as well. Tonight I think I should extend that with a thought which has won a place in our family here, but has not yet been reflexively deliberated to its last consequence. What central thought am I talking about?
“First, let me list three things in succession:
- We have the Original Shrine.
- We have Daughter Shrines and among the Daughter Shrines, Central Shrines. …
- Now comes a third expression, which is perhaps unfamiliar to you in this form. It is the Home Shrine.
…Everything which holds true for the Original Shrine and for the Daughter Shrines also holds true for the Home Shrines.”
….”This is where the focus of our life should be, not in the street. The family is here, not in the car, not in the street, but here!
Father then continued his talk, and at its conclusion, was asked if he meant what he said about the Home Shrine being the third class of shrine, equivalent to the others.
Father answered, “Yes”.
“But, if that’s the case, Father, the shrine can be endlessly multiplied?”
“Yes, that is true. And beyond that, the shrine cannot be destroyed. Collectivism can close or destroy all the churches, close or destroy all our shrines. But the Home Shrines, -- no one can destroy them!”
So, what is necessary to have a proper Schoenstatt Home Shrine? Stay tuned for our next installment!