The beloved signs of the Homeland
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Approaching the Polish Military Cemetery in Monte Cassino, we read: ‘Dear Passer-by, tell the whole Poland that we died as faithful to serving the country’. This inscription raises affection of everybody visiting over thousand of graves of Polish soldiers who died on this hill. The heroic act of the Polish arms and the aforementioned words cause an honest amazement and reflection on the place of our Homeland in the hearts of the contemporary Poles.
The history teaches that Poles fought practically for our and your freedom on many fronts of the world. It is testified by Polish cemeteries scattered not only in Europe. The history of our homeland is a struggle for freedom independence throughout many centuries, very often heroic and exceptional. First of all, the Polish land is sprinkled by the blood of those who devoted their life for its defence, often anonymous, people of different social status. It is also the history of the Catholic Church – priests, nuns and lay faithful, who were the examples for their environments, and, as a result, for the whole society. The example of the recent times is Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko who, especially in the last months of his life, lived with the consciousness that his love to the Homeland might cost his life. He chose love. Patriotism is connected with the sacrifice of life not in every case. However, love always requires a testimony. And here, again, the most beautiful example is our great compatriot – Blessed John Paul II. He showed through his whole life how to appreciate the country in which there are our roots, how to appreciate the rich national culture into which we and the Church are rooted. John Paul Ii reminded us and the world of the difficult history of Poland and Poles which was creating our characters and often led us to many sacrifices and heroism. Like the great primate of the Millennium – Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński loved ‘everything which was Poland’. And we have to be aware that our culture is full of Christianity and unrestricted faith and our great entrusting to Mary, especially in the cult of Our Lady of Częstochowa. It should be stressed that our patriotism is not looking only through the prism of our nation. The death of Poles on different fronts proves that we have never meant only ourselves but greater values, the holiest, ethic and moral ones which are inscribed in the Gospel and which are principles for the social teaching of the Church which always connect with love to God and our neighbour.
Fondness of Poland is connected with the fondness of symbols dear for our nation. The most important symbol here is the Cross and everything which is connected with it historically and culturally. The cross is our biggest treasure and if one wanted to eliminate it from the Polish land, our towns and villages, wayside shrines or cemeteries, the land would be deprived of what gives a sense and value of the highest class. So, when there appear here and there voices calling to eliminate the cross from the public scene, let’s remember that these are strangers’ voices, not only the satan’s ones, but also the voices of those who would like to reduce our society with its culture and history. Therefore, I ask everybody, who have voted in the recent elections for the option calling for the fight against the cross and the Church, to think and use their imagination and ask themselves on what land they want to live. Is everything, which has been forming them so far, really worthless and pointless? I can only assure that if the postulates forwarded by their leaders were fulfilled, Poland would not exist anymore. I believe that every Pole is a patriot and wants his country to develop as best as possible so that Polish people would live better and have their own land, history, culture, economy, education. However, the normal development needs something which is an inner bond of the nation. The most important bond of Poles, the Polish school, family, enterprise, farm has always been the faith which gave strength and moral power and in the moments of crisis – the hope for survival. I wish to all of us not to destroy what is the most important for us and to maintain our faithfulness to our tradition and history and I also wish to all of us to have Jesus Christ as our example and leader – the King of the universe, despite of much attractiveness of the contemporary kings and ‘kinglets’.