EVERYDAY AT 9 P.M.
FR. JERZY TOMZIŃSKI OSPPE
A sermon of Fr. Jerzy Tomziński, the prior of Jasna Góra at that time, from 60 years ago, announcing everyday evening prayer of Poles at Jasna Góra, preached on 8 December 1953 during Vespers which were presided over by bishop Zdzisław Goliński. On that day at 9 p.m. the first Appeal prayer took place at Jasna Góra
Excellency, Father General, The Reverend Cathedral Chapter, Venerable Brothers Priests, Dear believers of Mary!
It was the year 1848. A wave of revolution was passing over Europe. It shook the minds. It roused instincts, hit at the walls of the Eternal City. Rome was experiencing difficult moments, looking for a refuge in Gaeta. Freemasonry was triumphing. In France Gallicanism made the Church a blind tool in the hands of the state, and heresy of Jansenism was poisoning religious life at the very bases. In the Austrian empire the activity of the Church was being more and more restricted, by closing it in the sacristy and at the rectory. In Germany everything was being done to distract the Catholics away from the unity with Rome. There was not a country in Europe where the Church was not being persecuted. The pseudo-science declared a war against religion, calling it an enemy of progress and enlightened humankind. Rationalism, freethinking and materialism were running Europe. ‘Atheists – Pius IX wrote – filled up the cup of our bitterness’. So, when one day the pope- exile sat on a terrace at the shore of stormy sea, he looked in sad reflection at the lively picture of hurricane hurling Peter’s boat, whose he was a controller himself. Next to the pope was cardinal Lambruschini, a distinguished veteran of the Church, sharing his voluntary exile with him. ‘Holy Father’ – he interrupted the bleak silence –Your Holiness will not cure the world in a different way than by proclaiming the dogma about the Immaculate Conception. This Dogma will enliven the sense of the Catholic truths, will lead humankind out of astray of naturalism, in which it is wandering…’ a flash passed on Pope’s face, tears appeared in his eyes, he fell into much deeper reflection. The cardinals’ words were faithful echo of requests and pleas of the whole Catholic world
Five years passed… A crowd of forty thousand people filled up the basilica of St. Peter. Mitres and bishops’ crosiers are shining, a colourful mosaic of liturgical robes is glittering, cardinals’ cloaks are shining. The servant of servants, Pius IX stood on the venerable Holy See, a great and saint pope. Fanfares sounded, powerful singing of ‘Tu es Petrus’ sounded. The second Peter stood on the throne in order to speak not to thousands but to millions, he wants to pass a message to the far parts of the world that the revealed truth and deposit of holy faith of the dogma about the Immaculate Conception. ‘To the worship of the Holy and Inseparable Trinity – words of infallible truth appear – to glory and enrichment of God’s Mother the Virgin, for raising faith and multiplying Christian religion, we state with seriousness of Our Lord Jesus Christ, blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and with our seriousness that the teaching which maintains that the Blessed Mary the Virgin, in the first moment of her conception with special grace and a privilege of the Almighty God and in respect to merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of humankind, was saved from the stain of the original sin – that this teaching is revealed by God and, therefore, all believers should believe in her strongly and permanently.
The last words sounded. The pope’s voice suddenly broke down from emotions, and hot tears rolled down from his eyes. Deep silence of the Basilica sounded with shouts of thousands of voices. Bells of the Eternal City sent the message to the whole world, that the dogma about the Immaculate Conception had been announced. It was how the memorable day of 8 December 1854 passed.
Today it has been nearly 100 years and today we have this great anniversary. Pope Pius XII, proclaimed graciously Mary’s Jubilee Year with the encyclical ‘Fulgens Corona’ – radiant Crown of 8 December 1953. In the history of the Church it is an unusual event when the Holy Father encourages people so much to love Our Lady, give such graces and privileges for Mary’s Year. It is its significance. Today it is not a guess or a suggestion but the fact that God gave the fates of the world into Mary’s hands. In Her motherly hands Divine Mercifulness is. In this Immaculate Heart – help for the whole humankind. And not anybody else, but Mary did God entrust the victory over satan. And only she can ask for forgiveness and graces, peace and blessing for us. And only she – the Immaculate will save humankind from shackles of materialism, sin and wickedness. And, finally, she can bring Order and God’s Kingdom on the Earth. She announced so in Fatima, and so does the Holy Father say to us, as well as so do events. And, therefore, Pius XII proclaims the Mary’s Year not under the influence of a sweet inspiration but Divine inspiration and a thought-out truth.
Its purpose is to make us stronger in faith, without which – as the Holy Father says – laws become useless and the public authority loses its significance. Hence there is a commotion in the public and private life, hence fundaments of some countries are collapsing. Hence, finally, there is a widely spread collapse of customs. Mary’s Year is supposed to lead the world to repairing of customs among the youth, Catholic families and whole societies. And, finally, it is supposed to be a year of great prayer. The Holy Father orders us to beg Our Lady for bread fur hungry people, for justice for the persecuted, for homeland for exiles and refugees, for hospitality for the homeless, for deserved freedom for those who were sent to prisons or concentration camps in an unjust way. For those, who are blind in soul and in body – for joy of the shining light, and for those all who are divided by mutual hatred, jealousy and disagreement – so that they would gain brotherly love and unity of hearts through a prayer. So that the holy Church all over the world would enjoy its deserved freedom and law. These are the main indications of the Holy Father.
And what will our program for Mary’s Year be like? We sucked the worship of Mary from our mothers’ breasts. Love to the Immaculate brightened our youthful days. Our faith is marked with the fact that Mary is ‘Virgin Mother of God, born without any original sin’ in the whole history. Love to God’s Mother through the mouth of Pius XII raised us over all nations of the world. We stood the nearest Mary. And, therefore, today we are standing to Mary’s command. We will be the first ones to fulfil wishes of the Immaculate. And they are very simple.
We will live in the holy grace. We must tell ourselves clearly that a sin is not fun, is not metaphysics. A sin is reality, as well as a lie, crime, adultery and robbery are reality. Every sin shouts against the Immaculate. She was to be God’s Mother, so she had to be without any sin. We must belong to Christ. Like Her – we must be bearers of Christ, so we must live in the holy grace. Otherwise, we are not Her children, we are not Her worshippers, but Her enemies. We must deepen this life and develop it through receiving the Holy Communion, especially on Mary’s feasts and on the first Saturdays.
We will deepen love and Divine Service to the Immaculate. Let Rosary be in the first place among other Divine Services. Let holy grains of Rosary calm our nerves, comfort us in our worries and sadness, let them teach us how to live in a good and holy way. Let Rosary be a prayer of Catholic families and all souls of Mary.
We will spread apostolate of chaste thought of word and deed. We all – I repeat – must stand to the Great appeal of Mary, to the general offensive for chastity. Because it is bad, as it is tragic, because it is – Brothers and Sisters – hopeless. Young people, you must love and fight for chastity of Your thought and Your heart. You must be a hero and a martyr in maintaining the angelic virtue of chastity. Dear parents, Catholic parents, you must not breach VI and IX commandment. You must not demoralize your children with a wicked word or an act. You must not infect your offspring with sins of Venus and Bacchus.
We all will stand at Jasna Góra for the appeal prayer. What is it? It is nothing difficult! Every day at 9 p.m., let’s move to Jasna Góra, to the Miraculous Chapel in our thoughts and prayer. These are families which at this time stop their talks, work, stand in silence or say Rosary with a father at the head. These are whole hosts of academic youth who do it. When priest primate cardinal Wyszyński was told about it, he expressed his friendly attitude towards it, and a few months later, when he had thought over this matter, he said: ‘Every day at 9 p.m. I move to Jasna Góra in my thoughts, I pray and bless the whole Nation’.
We all, over 30 million of Poles all over the world, we all, wherever we are – at work, in the street, in the cinema or having fun – we all, united with one thought, one Polish heart, stand at Our Lady and Queen, at our Mother the Comforter, in order to ask and beg for Poland, for the Nation.
I finish, Mother and Queen! Today we vow chastity of thought, word and deed to you. Life in chastity and without any sin. Immaculate Mary, we vow faithfulness and love to you, as well as assiduity and inflexibility in decisions and intentions.
May Your Mary’s and Jubilee Year make our dreams come true, as well as nostalgia, predictions, incantations and prayers for great Poland of Mary!