„He delivers and rescues,
he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”. (Daniel 6:28)
A few days before we found out that our youngest son was conceived, I had a chirurgical intervention and I got a strong dose of anaesthetics. After that I took an antibiotic that is also prohibited during pregnancy but we were not aware that Michał was already there. So at the beginning of his life we were worried about his state of health and we were in fear for his life All the more we entrusted the situation to God. A this time we read the story of King Nebuchadnezzar who let throw three young men into the furnace. They experience a miraculous intervention of God: “But the angel of the Lord came down into the furnace to be with Azariah and his companions, and drove the fiery flame out of the furnace, 50 and made the inside of the furnace as though a moist wind were whistling through it. The fire did not touch them at all and caused them no pain or distress (Daniel 3: 49-50). I clutched to this story and asked God to send us also an angel who will save him.
Our Michał is 9 moths old now. He is healthy, very joyful and develops very well. And the first word accompanying his birth was Angel, because he was born precisely at noon, when we heard bells ringing for Angelus Dominus.
„For there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” (Daniel 3: 96)
“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 58 Bless the Lord, you heavens;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 59 Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 60 Bless the Lord, all you waters above the heavens;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 61 Bless the Lord, all you powers of the Lord;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. 62 Bless the Lord, sun and moon;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
(Daniel 3: 57-65) 63 Bless the Lord, stars of heaven;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.
He noticed her with no effort, he found her with the eyes of the heart. His heart ran out to her and recognized her in what is most important but hidden from the eyes. Even though St. Luke calls her “a poor widow”, one of many others, for Jesus she was not anonymous. She wasn’t poor, either. He delighted in her as if he’d found a pearl.
His sight is so surprising, so out of fashion. It’s a good news for us, too. Even if we tend to feel ignored, set aside, alone, maybe even disrespected and on the margin of the world-changing matters, His eyes, so abundant in peace, rest on us. And He can notice each impulse of the heart, each crumb of love – also when it seems to us we are so poor that we don’t really have much to offer.
The sermons in the Basilica can sometimes end with the call “!Viva Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe!: And the whole church shouts thunderously: “!Viva!” Right after that someone shouts “!Viva Christo Rey!” and the response is also deafening. Those who were at the St. Peter’s Square in Rome know what I mean – Latin America is not afraid to voice their feelings. I heard those shouts every time I went to the Basilica, so I understand that that’s the way things are there. Where Our Lady is so much loved, there’s also so much love to Her Son – contrary to the fears of many people that worshipping Mary may obscure the concentration on the Christ in the church.
Whenever I think about this dialogue of the two crucified people: the good thief and Jesus, I think about the incredible “today you will be with me in paradise”. TODAY. Not something like “you know well, that in your situation the best I can do is to send you to the ourgatory, where you’ll spend some time, because, you know, you haven’t been living well”… We would send so many people to the purgatory for a looong stay, and full of self-admiration because it’s clear those people merit in fact something else.
And HE said: TODAY, Of course the good thief fulfilled all the conditions to make amends with God, but…
God’s mercy, God’s perspective, Christ the King. Today in the Basilica Christ was crowned as the king of Mexico, and Gos’s presence was so palpable. Where the Mother is loved so much, there’s also great love to Her Son.
The Sadducees who doubt in the Resurrection have come to my mind who set a trap for Jesus, asking Him about following husbands of one wife.
And I see many Sadducees around me – they try to obscure the image of God with their comments, cynical remarks and ironic behaviour and they try to prove that He doesn’t exist.
But He does not abandon us, He comforts us and gives us faith. Over 2000 ago and today He replies to the Sadducees:
“The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’” (Luke 20: 34-37)
This is Good News. so full of hope, and dignity, for me, for you and for everyone.
Jesus doesn’t want us to become or to remain Sadducees, because that would mean that we’d remain on your own, tragically alone and hopeless.
„The most important thing in respect is looking. But looking at what? According to us, respect for other person consists in looking at everything they experience and in particular, paying attention to their feelings and needs. When you look at your child, you can concentrate on many things. You can look at their behaviour and assess it from your point of view: from the perspective of your needs and your criteria. But you can also try to look at the child from their own perspective, taking into account their needs and their feelings”. (Sura Hart, Victora Kindle Hodson, Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflicts Into Co-operation)
And here we are close to what Benedict XVI wrote about:
„Going beyond exterior appearances, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. (…). Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave. ” (Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est, 18)
This is above all the panel of the leaders of the conference of bishops of the US, Canada, Latin America and Brazil. Also the bishop from the Philippines and Caribbean was included but because of the tragedy he didn’t come, which is understandable.
I will need some more time to put these matters in order but I can see already how important his meetings was and even though it concerned America, many things can be related to our situation.
What was did the speakers stress most? That evangelisation is not only our thing but it is also the great concern of God for all the children to come back to Him.
There is no evangelisation that does not stream from an individual encounter with God so at the first place there is prayer and the personal relationship with Jesus. The church and all of us are missionaries – this is not a post or a title but the identity of each of us. When we encounter the living Jesus, we want to share this experience with everyone.
The Holy Spirit, promised to us, will lead in us in every situation. This requires openness and internal freedom. We must also constantly reflect on things and react to changing reality. The social structure of many countries is changing from rural to urban societies. What was good before is no longer sufficient. For example, in Toronto 50% inhabitants were not born in Canada. This shows that we are in a very happy situation, although in our country we can also see the trend from rural to urban.
A parish is a community of communities, we repeat it often and we must come back to it again and again. Each of us needs a smaller community that gives a sense of closeness and understanding. But our mission is not to serve our community or even our parish but… the world. We need to conquer the world for Jesus. We discussed the need to change our mentality to become missionaries. We need to change our parishes in mission territories. For example: bring every year two new married couples to our meetings – what would happen in 5 years’ time?
Every day we started and ended with a prayer. I was happy that there was ample time for prayer, so it was not theoretical speaking of the need to pray but putting in practice what was said.
It is an extraordinary place. Every time I come here I am deeply impressed. It is so much alike our Jasna Gora but is also very unique. Maybe this is because it is so diversified and full of Indians coming from various tribes and wearing their tribal clothes.
There are 12 million pilgrims coming here every year, three times as many as to Czestochowa. People come here all the time. When a baby is born, it is brought here to be presented to Our Lady and flowers are brought to her in big heaps.
Candles and water is brought to be consecrated and people come to dance before Our Lady.
Today I didn’t take lunch (partly because I was not entitled to a common lunch and I didn’t want to lose… time on individual lunch) and I went to visit Our Lady. I didn’t quite succeed because here when a priest is around, people approach him to ask for a blessing for a child or wife or mother. When I sat in a bench, one family came for a blessing and then a whole queue was formed, so I had to leave – not because I didn’t want to bless but because The Holy Mass began.
But I wish all priests could have such experiences – a queue of people asking to be prayed for and blessed. I had do refuse when asked for confession in Spanish. It is so sad but I need some more time, this is what I say to myself but so far I have had too little time to do it and there are people around who speak English. I keep promising myself that this will change and will probably change soon because Bishop Carlos is planning for me a new place to stay in a parish where no-one speaks English.
And coming back to the Congress: it’s been very interesting and today we’re having a presentation of all group work. I keep learning new things. The most interesting thing today was a comment of one of the participants: Jesus said: GO! and we say COME! Perhaps we should go back to the roots? maybe that’s why Pope Francis says we must be on the way and if we’re not on the way, it is not good.
In the evening we had a beautiful celebration for Our Lady when a rose offered by Pope Francis was presented. Just like Our Lady asked Juan Diego to offer her roses, She is offered roses today. It’s difficult to hold back tears.
Greetings on the way to the last day of the Congress
Mary of Guadalupe spoke to a poor Indian from from the Aztec tribe but although she talked to him, she asked him to repeat everything to his bishop. During the congress many speakers stressed this fact. There is no new evangelisation without the lay people but it must happen in unity with the bishops. Mary watches over this everywhere. The church is hierarchical but is not limited to hierarchy only . Today a lot of attention was paid to the forming of laity and it is lay people who talked about it and ask cardinals and bishops for it. They would like permanent forming and leading to be accessible. What for? So that their evangelist mission is not based on emotions but on knowledge and truth.
Our Programmes are based on the truth for which continuous work is needed and therefore we give you homework. How are you doing? No breaks, no “freezes”? Because, you know, they will not just do themselves on their own. But once done, they will bring a crop a hundred times what was sown.
One day I asked our children to prepare the table for dinner. I expected them to do it the way I normally did it with them. For me it has some importance how the table is made, which napkins are used and whether everything is well placed.
The moment they started I knew they didn’t do it “my way”. I managed not to criticise them but in fact I was a bit intrigued – instead of putting dinner plates first and then soup plates and arranging the cutlery, they put together the complete set for a concrete person in the kitchen, They chose everyone’s favourite plates and cutlery and emerged with a full set and put it on the table.
As a final result we didn’t have the festive tableware but each of us could feel special as each cover said” It’s for you!”.
I felt how great a gift it is to have nearby someone loved and how important it is to say this to my nearest and dearest every day. This experience has become a motivation for me.