As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I have a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming.
St. Faustina Kowalska, Diary, 1732 – Divine Mercy in My Soul
Nothing could be truer based on all we saw, felt and learned while in Poland. Everywhere we went the churches were filled with people praying or in Mass. The grave sites in Poland are a marvel to see. All spit, polish and decorated with flowers and even some burning candles. The Poles honour God, their families, the Church and their ancestors. It is a lesson for all of us.
We celebrated 15 Masses in 14 days on our pilgrimage. Some of these were in the most hallowed of places e.g. in the Chapel of our Lady of Czestochowa. Pope John Paul II on this shrine:
“Czestochowa is a special place for all Poles. Here stands the national shrine called Jasna Gora – the Bright Mountain. This name refers to the light that dispels darkness. The source of this light is the presence of our Lady in her miraculous image. Faith of Our Lady’s protection gave us the strength to outlast and triumph over a terrible Swedish invasion, the Nazis and the Communists. Poland has not perished nor will it perish because Poland believes, Poland prays, Poland has the Bright Mountain.
Communist Party authorities knew what Jasna Gora meant to the Poles. Cardinal Primate Wyszynski and the Polish episcopate initiated a national pilgrimage with the Black Madonna to visit every parish and community in Poland. The Communist authorities tried to stop it by “arresting” the icon. The pilgrimage continued with the empty frame for the next 25 years! The frame with no picture was a silent sign of the lack of religious freedom. This strengthened the resolve of the Polish people to pray fervently for its restoration. All Polish Catholics make the pilgrimage to Czestochowa.”
John Paul II, Rise, Let us be on our our Way, 2004
We saw it, we breathed it, we knew it. Their example has strengthened our resolve not to take our Faith Nor our Church for granted. We will try to be better Christians, better Catholics, better people. Poland is the Spark.