Let’s get to know the IEC guest speaker’s struggles and listen to his interview given to Radio Kossuth! Should you intend to hear him live, come to the Hungexpo on the 10th of September! Please remember to register for both this and the other IEC programs!
Georg Schwarz grew up on the family farm with his seven siblings. As a child and a teenage boy he had troubles accepting the modest and religious lifestyle his family was leading. However, today he cannot be more grateful for all the experiences he has undergone during those years. A bumpy road full of struggles, moreover many ups and downs led him to where he is today. Learn about the history of one of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress’ guest speakers. The head of the Cenacolo Community’s German Region has been interviewed by Radio Kossuth.
We are longing for love and want to love
“We didn’t have much money, we had to give up so many things, like holiday or other fancy things, but the family bonds were extremely strong. My parents have already passed away, still I’m very grateful for everything they have given to me” – said Georg Schwarz. He recalled his pretty rough youth in the interview.
“Our human nature is full of curiosity, and the desire for something different. Even though we have received life from God, we are far from being perfect. We don’t realize that nothing else can fill our souls completely, neither money, nor fun or objects. Somehow we are simply unable to be satisfied, we are always looking for something. But this can be a power so as to find the right path. However, should one fail or get lost, this desire might take the form of an addiction. Thereby many young pathfinders end up in a severe addiction, which is extremely difficult to overcome later.” He then added that in fact, the one thing we all are longing for is to be loved and we want to love.
We want everything immediately
Georg Schwarz is of the belief that: “In the egocentric and narcissistic world of our days, people want to achieve a lot without the slightest investment and work. They say they do not want to strain themselves, rather want joy, comfort and satisfaction. They do not want to work forty years with the very same company, then to relax saying: ‘here I am, I did it, I created something’, nor they intend to spend long years with house building. They want everything immediately. Addicted people think alike, they shoot themselves with happiness, take a short snort or pills that are spreading throughout the entire body in no minute time. They desire to feel happiness, but do not want to take the way up there.”
“Just a few sips of wine and everything became easier”
Georg Schwarz is perfectly aware of what he is speaking of, since he himself once was in the trap of being an addict. It was the Cenacolo Community that helped him to start over. By now from the person in need of help he has turned to be an aid, showing people the way how to become happy and satisfied by accepting their own faults and weaknesses. He outlined: “Once, in my youth, I also had my fears and doubts, I was just unable to accept myself the way I was, not to mention the family barriers and financial limits. Sometimes I was even ashamed of my parents’ piety and kindness, since I wanted to be a cool guy. For example, my parents provided shelter for people, helped the poor, and gave them food, which I became a target of ridicule by my classmates. Surely, deep inside I knew that my parents did the right thing, but it was extremely difficult to resist the provocation and the offense. Then I discovered the power of alcohol that dissolved all the tensions, inhibitions and made me forget my problems. Just a few sips of wine and everything became easier. Needless to say I had no clue how deep I could slide then.”
On the kneels and sobbing in front of the Virgin Mother
Fifteen years had passed in addiction. Georg finished his school, became a skilled labour, but the alcohol still kept him trapped. “I well remember the feeling: I woke up one morning, there was a broken car, I myself in ruins, dirty and did not remember a single moment from the previous night, where I passed it and what I was doing. And my mom was crying, and of course she was terribly disappointed.”
Georg was taken to Medjugorje by his sister. He was drinking all along the trip. But there in Medjugorje he leaned on his knees in front of Virgin Mary and burst into tears. He knew he was in great need of help. Shortly thereafter he joined the Cenacolo Community, having been founded by Sister Agnese Rita Petrozzi, better known as: Mother Elvira.
The outbreak of aimlessness
Cenacolo is the place of the Last Supper, where once again the disciples get together full of fears and are praying. After Jesus’ death they are in despair, they are afraid of being killed, and then all of a sudden the power of the Holy Spirit arrives. These desperate, disappointed, frustrated disciples become the greatest teachers, being ready to sacrifice their own lives as well. “We do believe that we have to step from darkness to light, from the pointless life we have to reach the real meaning of life, in other words, we have to transform ourselves, leave behind our desperation and to turn into a hopeful person. This is the main goal of our Community.” – said Schwarz.
Mother Elvira intended to set up a home for addicted people, but she has never ever forced anyone to pray. The boys came in on their own and joined Mother Elvira for the prayers. As Georg explained, whenever a new member enters the community, a personal “guardian angel” is dedicated to each of them to take care of, to help and guide them, while this mentor should be an icon as well. This system is well highlighted by Sister Elvira to all the parents who are just unable to handle their children’s problems. Her best tip was: “we have three basic rules, we should be icons, we should be icons, we should be icons.”
My Lord, please start the work with me!
Mother Elvira’s favourite prayer is the guidance itself: “My sweet Lord, please make the world more beautiful, but please start the work with me!” Until everyone points fingers to the others to change themselves, the world is not going to be any better. Currently Georg is the patron of 25, for whom his own life gives hope and example. Besides the Community home in Austria, Georg is also responsible for the entire German speaking region. “I devoted my life to God, and this is what I want to do all along my life until the end, likewise to many others in the Community who became priests for example. I have chosen this mission because I love my country and the people…”
We are dependent on one another
The Community Home is also supported by donations of people living in the area, either known neighbours or strangers. “The today’s world tends to achieve independence with lots of money, but this is not really helpful from the perspective of human development. I have always remained in a situation to know that I am in need of others, since on my own I’m not able to fulfil my mission. This has been nicely proved during this pandemic, that irrespective of one’s wellbeing with a huge amount of money, or the technical devices, we are in need of each other, our fellow human beings. The greatest lie of our days is declaring that ‘this is my life, I do with it whatever I want’, since from the very moment we step out to the street in the morning we depend on each other. The road we are using has been constructed by someone, the water we are drinking has been somehow delivered to us, and someone bakes our daily bread. Here in the Community we lead a conscious life, thereby ensuring an opportunity to others to lend a helping hand.”
The art of giving
Young people regularly come to our Community to listen to the inhabitants’ testimonies. “I feel that our entire society has to learn again the art of giving. Just look at the people who are able to give and help. They are far more satisfied and are happier. The youth as well have to learn to serve, or do a mission without getting any remuneration in return, since simply there are things that cannot be measured by money.”
The devil is tricky, though visible
The Community is self-sufficient, and operates its own farm. “We, humans, can do a lot for our freedom. We should not enter the cup that urges us to buy and long for something our neighbour has, or to go for an even longer vacation, etc…. This way we are going to drive ourselves crazy. The devil is extremely tricky, makes us believe that pure objects make us happy, though if we pay attention, very soon we realize that they don’t make us happy at all.”
About the real joy of life
Happiness arrives when we overhear the voice of our heart, says Georg Schwarz. And even though we know it deep in our mind, still transforming ourselves is difficult due to the patterns we have already got stuck in through learning, education, and the media advice. “We have been nurtured and now are trapped in the false illusion that we are unable to develop our human nature without sacrifices and suffering. Everything that is suffering, struggle or illness, the society of our days wants to keep far away, ignoring or putting them aside, leaving it to be cared for by others. The real joy of living, -he added-, is nourished by devotional love, and that is the caritas.”
Georg Schwarz attends the Congress, and on the 10th of September is going to give a lecture on the life of the Cenacolo Community, titled: “From darkness to light. The Eucharist as the remedy of freedom. Former drug addicted young people, who met the Eucharist.” Register the program, attend and ask him!
Photo: IEC, cenacolo.at