ON THE ROAD WITH SAINT CHRISTOPHER
FR. IERNEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Thousands, millions of people travel by cars. Today the car is the basic means of transport, without which we cannot imagine our life. But from time to time we receive messages about how many drivers had accidents, how many casualties or even killed there are. The cause of accidents is, unfortunately, quite often alcohol drinking by a driver. Unconcern? Lack of imagination? Inability to say: 'no'?...Causes are surely various and are always connected with human weakness, that is a sin….However, if on our roads tens of people are killed for this reason every day and, in comparison with Europe, where there are more vehicles, we have more accidents caused by drinking alcohol by drivers, then we cannot belittle this matter.
This is not only a pastoral problem but also the problem of the country, which should definitely fight with it. Certainly, as for safety on roads, the country has also many other problems, among the others, the quality of roads, good road signs - and these are not issues to solve. But let's concentrate on what we can do. So - first of all under no circumstances, we can sit at the wheel after drinking even very little amount of alcohol. Driving a car is great responsibility for oneself and other users of the same road. Ignoring this fact reflects on life of not only an injured in an accident and his family, but also the whole society.
A wonderful 'insurance' of a driver - if it can be said so - is a prayer to Saint Christopher, a patron of drivers. Undoubtedly, he supports the man who is setting off and enables an easy travel to a destination. Even a specialistic pastoral ministry of drivers developed, whose aim - beside the prayer for drivers - is promotion of save travelling, memory about casualties of accidents, improving travel and constant appeals to consciences of those who travel. We cannot forget about an interesting initiative here, which is a Monument of Casualties of Road Accidents in Zabawa (diocese of Tarnów), which also fulfills the therapeutic purpose for disadvantaged families.
Saint Christopher is a very appreciated patron of drivers, so his pictures presenting him while carrying a child, who turns out to be Jesus Christ, on his back through a river are widespread all over the world. We see them also in the crest of many cities, they illustrate call of many churches, they also decorate some townhouses from these sculptures or frescoes called Christo-forums.
It is good that there are such patrons to whom we can resort to with our requests for help. But we should also remember that this is a reference to our whole moral sphere. It is not only a matter of not drinking alcohol but also responsible caring about driving a good car in order not to breach established road rules and, generally, getting prepared for travel, knowledge of a route, predicting time of a drive. A reasonable driver must consider all circumstances which make the man feel safe.
The man is defined as 'homo viator' a human being on a road. We must realize the fact that we all are pilgrims travelling to the Heavenly homeland. Our saint patrons lead us to God. But we should remember that He always wants to be with us, that 'without God, nothing is good' - as the Polish proverb says. And only the fact as much as we consider Him in our life will have an influence on the quality of our life and also our eternal life.