THE BLESSED MARY – THE QUEEN AND MOTHER, THE INTERMEDIARY AND GUARDIAN
ARCHBISHOP MICHALIK TOLD US ABOUT POLAND
ARCHBISHOP JÓZEF MICHALIK
Homily of archbishop Józef Michalik, preached during the Holy Mass on the feast of the Blessed Mary Virgin the Queen of Poland, with the participation of the Episcopate, Jasna Góra, 3 May 2013
The most eminent, venerable Confreres,
Dear worshippers of Mary,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
For many years, on the feast of the Blessed Mary Virgin the Queen of Poland, we are looking at the unusually meaningful scene of dying Jesus, in fact it is the most important time in the history of humankind, when New Adam – Jesus renews the whole humankind, that is, he redeems every man from the bondage of sin and satan. And just at that time, near Jesus’ cross we see His Mother and a small group of his friends. Among the apostles, there is only John.
On Christ’s cross of salvation, the Church is born. In pains of sacrificial love whose purpose is bringing fruits till the end of the world, till the resurrection of the dead. According to Christ’s will, the Church is to prolong His action in a visible way in the world. It will be persecuted, crucified and rejected like Christ himself, and it will be resurrecting like Him. Lord Jesus is looking for a way in order to pass its redemptive work to Somebody, from the cross, just before his death, with the rest of weakened strengths. He passes it to his Mother, Mary. John, ‘ a disciple whom Jesus loves’, personalizes this lively Church which is being born on the cross and here he hears Lord’s voice: ‘Here is your Mother’, and Jesus says to Mary: ‘Woman, here is your Son’.
John took Mary into his home. Since then, they had always been waiting for Pentecost and taking the Holy Spirit together with the Apostles in the Upper Room.
A Christian and Christianity cannot exist without Mary. That’s true that the only mediator for God is Jesus Christ God’s Son, but Jesus is also Mary’s Son, and without Her human contribution, there would not have been the Incarnation of the Word or our salvation.
The history of the Church is extremely interesting and colourful due to the history of people, especially there are impressive and beautiful cards in which the presence of Mary in the saints’ life and social events is inscribed. How many victories were won in the name of Mary.
Poles have always taken Blessed Mary to their homes and life. And if they can be faithful to Mary, they have great spiritual and earthly benefits.
The oldest Polish song is ‘God’s Mother’. During a prayer, the Gospel and Mary’s songs, the generations of Poles used to learn the culture of common life and the sensitivity of the spirit.
The history of the title of Blessed Mary Virgin the Queen of Poland is especially interesting. We owe it to a 80-year-old pious Jesuit priest Giulio Macinell, a mystic from Nepal, who, on 15 August 1617, experienced the revelation of Our Lady. Mary told him to proclaim and name Her the Queen of Poland. The Jesuits passed the content of the revelation to Poland, and a special swordsman of the title was Albrecht Radziwiłł from Nieśwież, a great chancellor of Lithuania and also St. Andrzej Bobola (1591-1657), a Jesuit about whom historians say that he was a great promoter of the cult of Our Lady the Queen of Poland, and even that he was the author of the vows of Jan Kazimierz in Lvov. The revelation of the Jesuit from Nepal was shocking for Poles, they did not want to believe in its authenticity. Only after the year 1635 it was possible to make it public that Mary wants to be the Queen of Poland, which she confirmed with the defence of Jasna Góra during the invasion of the Swedish army. The victory over the Swedish was Her victory. Later a new credibility was also gained by Father Kordecki and Father Andrzej Bobola, as well as king Jan Kazimierz, together with bishops and people, proclaiming Blessed Mary Virgin the Queen of Poland.
Nations become known, strong and brave thanks to courage and wisdom of leaders or kings, but kings get their effectiveness and strength from the nation, from its faithfulness without any divisions, its sacrificial love, without expectation for awards or privileges.
Rich, educated or well-mannered nations are known, which disappeared from the history of events, because at certain moment they ran out of the strength of their spirit or willingness to ethical and moral life. Disintegration and weakness came very quickly. It is a big lesson and warning for us.
Today Poland cannot afford a competition with other nations in material wealth. We cannot allow for being involved in the arms race, but what is worrying, is our participation in unfair wars and popularized race for the lifestyle without God, without ethics, without moral rules of our particular brothers and sisters, and also our country which is not courageous enough to enact laws according to God’s law, nature and the welfare of the nation. What is worrying, is the brutalization and elimination of God from the public life. It is a direction to nowhere, and what’s more, it is a way to self-destruction.
We are standing in front of Our Lady the Queen of Poland. We are trying to figure out what this reign of Mary in Poland looks like today, what our nation of Mary look like and how we should evaluate Poland which was entrusted to Mary by king Jan Kazimierz. And, after all, the royal vows were confirmed by the whole episcopate, and were made by the whole baptized Catholic nation in all parishes and communities.
It was an important act, not only formality or only an outer sign of religiousness. It concerned and it still concerns an authentic and obliging act of faith. The faith which trusts God and refers to the intercession of God’s Mother, because this is the order of salvation in Christ. The faith which feels the presence of God among us, because God has a right to be present and respected in our whole reality.
God often gave us many evidences through Mary, that ‘he had taken the whole nation under His care’ , like we sing in a song, that also in outer dangers he helped us survive wars and slaveries. After all, it was also in the recent years, when bondages of the slavery of atheistic ideologies have collapsed, without any bloodshed. And isn’t the election of John Paul II and his pastoral ministry to the Church in Poland, God’s hand stretched over the world and our homeland? And wasn’t Benedict XVI a prophet of new times, who unmasked both public and concealed dangers of the dictatorship of the moral relativism?
The whole Church is grateful to the Holy Spirit for the election of pope Francis. The whole world was interested to accept this election, but we must look for not only originality and sensation in his behavior, so as not to bring down the Pope to the superficiality of ‘cream cakes’. This Pope has lots to say, says about the role of a prayer, about the dignity of human work and warns that today the culture of work is disappearing and the culture of laziness is spreading, he gives an example of modesty and calls for help for the poor, the suffering and constantly neglected. It is not the Church in the world which gathers wealth and it is not the Church which is hurting the poor – but it is the Church which has been helping them for centuries and calls for help.
Indeed, there are 20 per cent of people all over the world who have 80 per cent of wealth of the whole world and it is not the Church which exploits natural sources of Africa, Asia, Russia or both Americas. It is the systems based on anti-gospel of egoism, arms and violence, which frighten one another and outdo one another in dangers, whereas ordinary people are suffering from deficiency and even famine.
What an absurd is to subsidize the fallow fields for not cultivating the land in our countries, whereas unemployment is rising and people in Africa or Asia die from famine.
But today all anti-ecclesiastical media persuade us that the main issue of teaching of Pope Francis is the wealth of the Church; they obviously want to fight against the Pope and the Church in this way.
The Church in Poland is rich in tradition, trustfulness to Our Lady and faith which must be constantly deepened and enlivened. The Church in Poland is rich in people who kneel in front of God, who attend confession and expiate for their sins, compensate for the evil which is in ourselves and all over the world.
The wealth of the Church are associations and Catholic movements, like the association The Community of the Peace Queen and the work of this association – The Altar for Kazakhstan. The wealth of the Church are laymen, who gather signatures in the defense of the conceived life or who promote parliamentary initiatives for the sake of the Polish family.
The wealth of the Church are the ill and suffering in loneliness, who connect their sacrifices with the cross of our Lord; it is them who make preaching of the Gospel by popes, bishops and priests fruitful. It is thanks to them, that the widow’s penny given as a sacrifice in the church brings hundredfold fruits.
The Church in Poland is rich in the initiatives of saint priests and laymen, united with their bishops and, therefore, it is possible to do so much in the outer form. Indeed, it was possible to build hundreds of churches and chapels in every diocese, thanks to the engagement and devotion of people. And in every parish, and even in every Catholic family, there is a lively eagerness to help poor, ill people or those who are involved in the weaknesses of spiritual poverty or a sin.
We all know how expensive are the means of evangelization today, and we have not been able to afford an efficient Catholic radio and the Catholic television for many years, but here, it turned out that the wealth of the Church in Poland are people, who are ordinary, often despised by potentates of anti-ecclesiastical ideologies, and thanks to these people today in Poland there are diocesan and religious radios, there is the Television Trwam and so many good works. Let'’ use the achievements in a wise and courageous way, let’s read Catholic weeklies: ‘Sunday’, Sunday’s Guest’, ‘Our Road’ and others and let’s read a Catholic book. We should not buy newspapers which are hostile to faith and the Church, because, in this way, we support their ideology.
The wealth of the Church and every country is the nation and we must care about its welfare. We must care about the nation and its welfare, not about our own interests. The interest of a political party, group is changeable, fugitive and usually turns out to be fragile, if it is not based on good moral rules. The nation needs wise leaders ready for any devotion, but real leaders of the nation devote themselves and undertake efforts to serve to the whole nation.
Today, unfortunately, patriotism – love to Homeland, ready to devotion, is disappearing, as well as the sense of dignity of every Pole, the humanity if slowly dying in a man. Today there are many worrying events in Poland, many scandals, bribery, a lot of lies in our everyday life, as well as in the public life. Today it would be easy to set demands for others, especially people of the public life, because it is easy to notice mistakes, inadequacies or dishonesty of others, but how difficult it is to admit it in ourselves.
When ‘Solidarity’ was appearing and another change of the system was getting mature, God’s servant cardinal Stefan Wyszyński reminded at the end of his life that: ‘We do not need to look back at others, or these or those, maybe at politicians and demand from them to become changed. Everybody must start with himself…And then when we all are getting reborn, also politicians will have to become changed, whether they will want it or not. For, it does not concern only the change of a social institution, not only the exchange of people, but it concerns, first of all, the renewal of a man. It concerns a man who would be new and appearing of new tribe of people…’ (Gniezno, 2 February 1981).
Creative perspectives of a situation development and a moral renewal of the nation are in us. In every father of a family, who hardly devotes his time to his children, in every woman, who resigns from her commitments, in order to radiate with generosity, love in everyday work and willingness to devote more to another child or a grandchild, in every bishop and priest who prayed for the Church and Homeland too little. We must remember that the biggest danger for faith is frigidity of believers, divisions among us. Those pseudo-reformers of the Church among monks and priests are very dangerous, as well as among secular publicists or activists, who want to reform the Church and bishops, but not themselves. Our special distrust is aimed especially against them, and it is them who must become a priority of our prayer and care today.
The Church has still got a great divine potential in itself. The potential which is undefeatable. But people of the Church must go into the depth of the truth and go out with this truth to the world courageously.
We should not pretend not to see that for the time being ‘more and more aggressive secularism is openly aiming at pushing out believers from the public sphere, but it is not known whether this pressure will not increase towards the persecutions going further….A requirement of the contemporary times – and what is more important , is that today God’s will is a higher radicalism and missionary work of the Catholics, it is new evangelization, that is, deeper cognition and care about the life with the Gospel and its preaching. The renewal and strength of the Church does not come from acceptance of liberalism or conservatism because none of them helps nor strengthens faith. The Church always reaches much deeper. It refers to the program of becoming a disciple of Christ’ (see Fr. T. Jaklewicz ‘The more evangelical church’, Sunday’s guest’, 21 April 2013).
Our strength is in the unity with Christ, in the fact that we notice him in a hungry man, or a poor man, in an ill man so somebody in prison, in the fact that we will forgive those who have hurt us and that we will pray for the conversion of our persecutors.
Today we have come to have this another lesson, together with Mary, to the cross of Christ, so as to hear from His mouth: ‘Here is your Mother’ and to take her to our homes and go safely with Her throughout our whole life.
Today we remember about all our Compatriots in Poland and abroad and we are calling with them anew: Mary, the Queen of Poland and our Mother, I am with You, remember and I am in vigil.