A CRY OF A DESERT
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, The editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’
In the Year of Consecrated Life taking place in the Church, we discover various areas connected with religious orders and a hermitic religious orders can already be a real mystery for many of us. We live in unusually dynamic times when the materialized world is passing by us with a higher and higher speed. So, there seem to be a provocative question: Is it possible to stop in the XXI century and implement the hermits’ order charism? The current prior of Jasna Góra reminds in the latest edition of ‘Sunday’, when in 1991 our national sanctuary was surrounded by a crowd of one and a half million of young people from the whole world, John Paul II said from the summit of Jasna Góra: …what a desert we have made!’ Certainly, this sentence referred to the Pauline fathers and brothers, who have their home at Jasna Góra. After all, they are spiritual sons of St. Paul the First Hermit, the patriarch of the religious order marked with the deepness of a desert.
Looking at history cards of the Pauline Order, one notices how it became a community, monastery order out of a hermits’ order. The world needed monks, so they could not close up behind the cloister. Today’s man in the world full of noise, also misses a desert and people of desert, in order to experience God’s closeness. And, therefore, inhabitants of big metropolises, businessmen, clerks of enormous office buildings, artists, scientists, and also people of ordinary jobs, young and elderly people, are looking for monasteries and visit sanctuaries. It is nearly like in the first centuries of Christianity when the eremites could not remain lonely because people were looking for them and found them, even in desolated places and woodland places, hidden from the world.
We remember about the Pauline fathers especially in January. It is always time of reaching to their hermitic roots for monks. In their monasteries all over the work, for nine days there are ‘St. Paul’s days’, that is, a novena of adoration of St. Paul the First Hermit, who, in tradition, is considered as a particular patron of children and a carer of pregnant mothers or wanting to have children. This year, a prayer for families, recited every day at the Appeal Prayer at Jasna Góra in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady is significantly inscribed in this time of St. Paul, experienced in January at Jasna Góra, and which is a spiritual support for the ordinary bishops’ synod about family. Every evening, Pauline fathers let a family speak publicly and lead a prayer. A father and a mother thank God that he created them men and women. Children read out words of a prayer for grandparents, so that they could share their wisdom and faith with children. These are also very ordinary words but they must be publicly and clearly said, when the gender ideology is trying to destroy the natural order in family. We also have a good occasion that normal Polish families can be shown to the whole world, thanks to the transmission of the Jasna Góra Appeal Prayer through the Television Trwam. And all this is possible because Pauline monks did not close up from the world, but invited the world into their monastery and make efforts in order to connect everyday life with eternity and lead everybody to God through Mary. On the occasion of the patron’s feast of the Pauline Order, we thank the white fathers and brothers for their care about our souls and for taking care of the Polish home full of prayer.