Queen of Poland, hold us in your care!
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The Feast of Mary, Queen of Poland, belongs to the very important holidays in our homeland. We know that during the communist times the celebrations were focused the International Workers’ Day (1 May). The celebration of 3rd May was clearly neglected and marginalized. It happened that the Polish flags, exposed on 1 May, were to be taken down quickly so that there would be no signs of celebration. Fortunately, the feast of 3rd May survived in Poles’ awareness and today it is one of their beloved holidays. It is a Marian celebration and at the same time a patriotic one – we venerate the Mother of God as the Queen of Poland. For us, Poles, it is the most beautiful symbiosis in the world, reminding us of the turbulent history of Poland. Of course, we had the wonderful historical epochs of the Piast dynasty and the Jagiellonian dynasty and we often refer to them when we want to speak about the greatness of our nation. However, there were also difficult times when our spiritual strength began to sway. The times of demoralization, lack of love for our country, led to our slavery, to the partitions and consequently, our beautiful country was destroyed. Today we proudly look at our long (over one hundred) struggle to restore Poland and make her an independent and free country in Europe. Poles always realised that their homeland must be free again, that there was no other way out – that was the most sacred, most wonderful intention of the past generations. The important thing was that we were Catholics and that our Church and her shepherds played a very important role in that determination. The community between the Church and the Polish community caused that there were some possibilities to reach people and show them our culture and tradition, which was always patriotic and religious. We have the desire to revive our work for the homeland and to deepen our knowledge of Poland’s history. The Marian cult has been very important to patriotism. Our Lady of Jasna Gora has always been the Queen of our nation in the Poles’ hearts. She has not been an abstract queen but a real and effective one to whom the community of Poles, afflicted by the tsar, has approached and from whom Poles have received comfort and concrete help. We could not have survived those terrible times, including our uprisings against Russia, if it were not our reference to the Mother of God, to the Church. The uprisings could not have been initiated if it were not for the Polish priests who stood by the people and made them aware what homeland meant; who were examples that it was worth giving your life for the homeland. We cannot forget what Jasna Gora meant for Poland and Poles, especially during the Swedish invasion when they destroyed our country and culture and stole our works of art – we do not even realize how many valuable pieces of art can be found in the Swedish museums. We should also remember the period of Romanticism when the Polish culture experienced an immense development; when our wonderful writers, poets, musicians and painters showed the world the potential in the nations living in the enslaved country. And their inspiration was deep faith and reference to the Blessed Virgin. It was the Divine Providence that World War I brought about the defeat of our enemies and Poland’s liberation. Then we had an extraordinary inter-war period of twenty years, years of joy in seeing our regained independence, years full of unique creative achievements. The nation that had been enslaved for 123 years regained its significance in Europe with extreme dynamism. The nation blossomed. Many a time you are tempted to compare that period with the last twenty years after 1989. But perhaps our generation does not come out well... However, today we face great global, economic and cultural problems. Of course, we would like to see Poland strong, beautiful, and rich; we would like people to live in good conditions. This is not the time and place to make some deep analyses. But one thing is certain: we want to dedicate our homeland and all her affairs to the Mother of God, Queen of Poland since she knows best what our nation needs. Today we are struggling with new problems. On the one hand, these are poverty and unemployment and on the other hand, this is getting rich at all costs, which has become our priority. I do not only mean big companies but those who so often leave their families and children in so carelessly. This is a slackening of morals that causes, according to the statistics, that every fifth child in Poland is born in partner relationships. We want to implore Mary to multiply our love for homeland. We want to ask her who made the right, though very difficult, choice in her life to convince us to follow the priority values by her own example of motherly warmth and love, so that we choose national interests over smaller or bigger personal ones, so that we feel responsible for all that Poland is. We should also consider the last will of John Paul II and the work of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. May Mary always remain our special Queen of Poland and all Poles, as she was the Queen during the lifetimes of those great Poles.