‘Be witnesses of Love’
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The front cover of the previous issue of ‘Niedziela’ of 29 November 2009 presents the poster of the Polish Caritas concerning the Christmas Aid to Children with the motto ‘Be witnesses of Love’. We are at the beginning of Advent, which is also the beginning of a new pastoral year. During this Advent ‘Niedziela’ is publishing a series of articles on the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. For a few Sundays we will share with our Readers the great treasury of theological and pastoral reflections on the theme of these specific moral attributes. During Advent we are more eager to reflect on ourselves, what is most important in our lives. The cardinal virtues constitute a certain base for the quality of human life and material for a good examination of conscience. The interesting thing in the Catholic theology is that it contains foundations and clues to solve various matters, at the same time being in accordance with the moral norms, with the spiritual life of man. Since all these things must be related.
The new liturgical year will focus on love – God’s love and man’s love. Since love is the most important thing in Christianity, is always the priority. Christ stressed that, ‘You must love the Lord’ and ‘You must love your neighbour’ (cf. Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27). These are two fundamental commandments of God. One should remember that the cross is an expression of love. It is a symbol of what people as individuals and as mankind need most. It is love. That’ why we are terrified to see that the cross is an obstacle for people. We are sad about the situation in Stalowa Wola where the cross and the site where a church was to be built are to be replaced by the plans of some developer. We are full of pain to see the situation is some Polish schools where the crucifixes have suddenly become problems or blunders although the situation is not like in Western Europe where legal proceedings were taken against the state of Italy because of the crucifix hanging in some classroom. The cross should not be the cause of any controversy since it is a sign of love. If some other religions contain rather extreme radicalism, expressed in a clear aversion or even hostility against infidels, the Christian religion is a religion of love. The cross of Christ is a sign of that. And as far as the Church in Poland is concerned it reflects on the problem of love in the times that are hard for it and the Church does not fight against anyone and does not use anything although we know that there are many enemies of Christianity, which lays certain obligations upon its followers. The enemies – usually people or whole centres having loads of money – are helped by the editorial boards of many newspapers, radio and television stations, which in a way are programmed to proclaim aversion towards the cross and the Church. Whereas the Church, looking at the cross of Christ, will always teach love and will always call to love. When we begin the new pastoral year, which follows the motto ‘Be witnesses of love’, we must know that it is the main challenge of the Church. Our teaching should always proclaim love since God is Love. The cardinal virtues must lead to love. Advent is a period to await the Saviour. Let us think about the fact that Advent as the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year, must make us concentrate on this Love. And let us rejoice that we can be its witnesses in the new year.