DO NOT PLAY WITH HOLINESS!
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ‘NIEDZIELA’
A winter day in the mid of the week. And, again, I returned from Jasna Góra, being very impressed by people moving around the altar in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady on knees. Among them two young men with a laptop, being focused. Is there a more expressive way of paying tribute to Our Lady than on knees. We remember very well how pope Francis got delighted by Mary, who, having returned from Jasna Góra to Vatican, said that when being in front of the Jasna Góra Image, he had received a ‘gift of Mother’s look’, being – as he said – ‘Mother of noble Polish nation’. And on the feast of Holy Mary, Mother of God, on 1 January this year, he helped us realize the fact that we are not orphans, but we have Mother. We do not have to convince anybody that we must respect Mother, that we should honour Her. And facts about the lack of respect to our Mother are particularly painful.
A lot of outrage was caused nearly a quarter of the century ago by a photomontage on one of weeklies, presenting a mask put on the image of Our Lady worshipped in the image of Częstochowa. The editor might have wanted to ‘check’ whether sensitivity of the Catholics’ consciences was so blunt that one could play with holiness and use them, for example, for promotion, advertisement or giving political messages. Objection caused by that profanation brought calmness for a few years. And then there came a sad day when Poland cried again. On 9 December 2012 we saw the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Częstochowa onto which a black had been poured. The assassination on the Holy Image did not succeed. The Image was saved. It was saved by a bullet-proof Glass.
Raising a hand on the Image of Our Lady is an attack on the symbol of our national identity – said the prior of Jasna Góra then. More – it was an assassination on the national holiness, including respecting our emblem and flag. Recently there has appeared another attempt of abusing towards the Image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, this time made by ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ newspaper, exactly by its feminist appendix ‘Wysokie Obcasy’(‘High-heeled Shoes’). The editors arranged a ranking in which they decided that ‘the most influential Polish woman’ in 2016 had been Our Lady of Częstochowa. The text was illustrated with the Icon of Jasna Góra, in which a graphic dared to make interference, by making narrowing the left eye of Our Lady. Other editors decided to have fun of the Icon. But one must not make fun of holiness, as it leads to profanation of it by a short way. One must deal with holiness carefully, as using it for one’s own purposes, hurts religious feelings deeply in millions of people who arrive at Jasna Góra every year and praying, they look at the Miraculous Image. And just here, in the spiritual capital of Poland, under the look of Mother, they open their hurt souls, and, often in a fully humble gesture, they pass through the chapel of Jasna Góra on their knees.
The Jubilee year has begun which is particularly devoted to Mary. It was noticed both by senators and MEPs of the Repulic of Poland, who, in separate acts of the Senate and Seym, made the year 2017 the Year of the 300th anniversary of Coronation of the Image of Our Lady of Częstochowa. This is also the year of the 100th anniversary of Fatima apparitions. So, we are experiencing particular time of grace. We can say after St. Paul the Apostle: ‘Where sin increased, there grace abounded’ (Rom 5:20). And if the text with the photomontage in ‘Wysokie Obcasy’ was another text checking whether the conscience of the nation got blunt so much that it is permitted to breach our national holiness, there can only be one answer: - No, it is not permitted! We will not allow others to play with holiness!