They dedicated their lives to Mary
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
There is a Latin saying 'De Maria numquam satis' - Concerning Mary, never enough!' This saying is still valid today and one of the proofs of its validity is wonderful pilgriming to Marian places, including Jasna Gora. This is a testimony of thousands of pilgrims, walking in rain and heat, witnessing that Jesus' Mother is Somebody very important and beloved to the people of the 21st century. The special Marian cult characterized many saints who loved the Blessed Mother very much; they spoke a lot about her, they reflected on her life and prayed to her. That was true of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe who used to sing a song 'I will see her soon'. He made the Mother of God his Confidant concerning his inner life and he also introduced certain Marian order in the monastery he founded, the place that quickly became the biggest monastery in the world: there were over 600 people in Niepokalanow, the name of which referred to her Immaculate name. He introduced the greeting 'Maria' and since his times brothers, especially the old ones, have greeted themselves 'Maria'. Mary is on the lips of the fathers and brothers in Niepokalanow and other Franciscan monasteries in the world where her name is shown as a model of all virtues, a call and challenge to live in her spirit. Saint Maximilian remembered that Mary led to Jesus. He deeply reflected on the mystery of the Immaculate Conception and knew that Mary, through her extraordinary chastity, was the closest person to God and God delighted in the beauty of the Woman whom he entrusted the supernatural task of giving birth to his Son. St Maximilian put into practice his deep devotion to the Mother of God. He often asked her what to do and wondered what she would have done in a given situation. We all know the figure of the Servant of God John Paul II who made Mary his Mother. He took his bishop's motto 'Totus Tuus' from the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort and he applied those words in his life. He placed them in his coat of arms as Bishop of Krakow and afterwards he followed his motto through his entire pontificate. We remember his speeches at Jasna Gora where he fervently recalled those words - till the end of his earthy life. His dedication to Mary followed the example of St Maximilian; it was a constant deepening of the Marian spirit. I want to recollect the words of dying Bishop Stefan Barela of Czestochowa who referred to the decisive words of the Holy Father John Paul II in his last interview for 'Niedziela', stressing that the Polish pastoral ministry should be Marian. When we look at the examples of other saints we can see that their deaths occurred for example on the eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - St Stanislaw Kostka and Fr Kolbe died on that day, Fr Kolbe being killed with an injection with phenol by the Germans on 14 August 1941. Pilgrims travelling to various Marian sanctuaries are motivated by Marian mottoes; they sing a lot; they are dynamic and creative groups. Pilgrimages to Jasna Gora have been organized for several centuries and have developed their own traditions. They are mainly walking pilgrimages, but people use horse-drawn carriages as well. Currently, they also choose bikes or cars. We must enter, especially in August, into the spirit of pilgrimages. Today, we have the possibility to choose the so-called spiritual pilgrimage. Many of us cannot make long pilgrimages for various reasons but we can spiritually join a pilgrimage. That can also be done through a Catholic radio, which always accompanies a pilgrimage, broadcasting its stages. People choose various ways to come to the Mother of God. The most important thing is what you have in your heart - love and intentions that unite people with living God through prayer. The Blessed Mother helps pilgrims by her prayers so that the phenomenon of some kind of osmosis happens - God's mind penetrates man's heart and mind. A praying man stands closer to God presenting him his affairs. He is filled with God's graces and takes something from God's holiness. It was the Blessed Mother who conceived and bore the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and who experienced the 'spiritual osmosis' most. The devotion to Mary that characterized saints of the Lord, including the Servant of God John Paul II, changed their spiritual lives. Because of Mary's presence the miracle of transformation happens. May this year's pilgriming become the circumstances that cause people going to Marian sanctuaries experience this miracle and become Mary's disciples whom she will lead to Jesus.