Smoleńsk epitaph – a sign of time
Fr. Ireneusz Skubiś
‘Noblesse oblige’ – nobleness obliges – the French say. Every word coming from Jasna Góra, from Częstochowa obliges us as well. Because we speak from the throne of Mother of God, so we have many matters which we thought over or obtained through prayer. Therefore, we speak from Her Holy Picture, from Her Chapel in a different way. It is a grace given to Częstochowa which is called for that reason ‘a spiritual capital of Poland’. Jasna Góra is home of Mother. Sons and daughters of the Church come here to spend their best moments. Various initiatives of social character also come from Jasna Góra, which are important for the whole national community. There are many such initiatives - and that is good because it is a sign that Poland lives, that we think and our hearts express their longing for the truth and love. We say that Jasna Góra is a pastoral ministry in a pill. When somebody wants to see what the Polish pastoral ministry lives by, he should attach his ear to Jasna Góra walls and listen how Poles’ hearts are beating in Mother’s heart. We remember that Blessed John Paul II used to say about Jasna Góra in this way.
Many of us are emotionally agitated by the terrifying picture - photos of the victims of the Smolensk tragedy- placed at the entrance to the Chapel of God’s Mother. Why did these photos appear in this place? - Because these people stood for their unusual Appeal Prayer in front of God’s Mother. And, apart from the Presidential couple, there are among them the Exile President of the Polish Republic, prominent pilots and generals of the Polish Army, many excellent and noble people. Poland is still living this tragic event and is getting to know newer and newer discoveries. But we are also surprised by some statements, especially the way of conducting the investigation and we are afraid that al least some big deficiencies and neglects stand behind this tragedy, or maybe such bad emotions that had already destroyed so much good in our national and political life.
The nation is waiting for the truth all the time and it demands the truth. A still lively and painful question is asked: How did it happen?! The question is asked not only by the families of the catastrophe victims because it is understandable but also Poles who were sincerely crying during long weeks of funerals, a fight for the cross in Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw, who demand monuments, names of streets and squares. Let’s note that many difficult matters are solved differently in neighbouring countries, among the others, in Hungary. In Poland there is an unusual languor. Would it be deliberately? So, we come to Jasna Góra and we listen. We learn that Jasna Góra does not belittle the pain of Poles or their questions to which answers are impossible to get. A special sign of deep sympathy and entrustment to Mary will be work of Smolensk epitaph – a souvenir and testimony; because in this place we read the signs of time, and this sign is the matter connected with the Smolensk catastrophe. It we talk about millennium history of our nation, we must note that they are concentrated around a dozen of historical events to which we still refer to, among the others, to the battle at Grunwald, national uprisings, the Miracle at the Vistula, Katyń – we return in our memory where the most important historical events are anchored. They include the date 10 April 2010 when the tragedy to the measure of centuries happened on a misty Saturday morning; because it was a blow at the country like the explosion of an atomic bomb. The Smolensk tragedy needs its special sign of memory, placed in the dearest place of Poles – beside the face of God’s Mother of Jasna Góra.
We stand beside the Queen of Poland during the everyday Appeal Prayer, in order to tell her: I am, I remember, I keep watch! These words coming from the Chapel of God’s Mother every evening, are heard by Poles in Poland and all over the world, who spiritually join the prayer through the modern media mass – Catholic radio stations and the Television ‘Trwam’ which somehow brings God’s Mother to Polish families.
New Archbishop Metropolitan of Częstochowa Wacław Depo will be with us from 2 February 2012. We are glad about this nomination because he is known for his exceptional entrustment to Blessed Mother and devoted to her completely. We will remember about his whole pastoral ministry in our prayer and we admire his readiness with which he stands beside Mary. We want to stand beside Mary of Jasna Góra with him and be not only witnesses of the history of our nation but we want to join God’s action in them through our trustful prayer and entrustment. Mary, lead us!