Tag Archives: Poland
And when he drew nigh to Rieti, so great a press of people came out to meet him, that he would not for this cause enter into the city; but gat him to a church that lay without the city, it might be a two miles’ space. The city folk, coming to know that he was gone to the said church, ran together for to see him, in such sort that the vineyard of the church was spoiled altogether, and the grapes of it were all plucked; whereof the priest was sore grieving in his heart, and repented him that he had received Saint Francis into the church.
The thought of the priest being revealed of God unto Saint Francis, he let call him, and said: “Dear father, how many measures of wine doth this vineyard yield thee, the year it yields its best?”
Replied the priest: “Twelve measures.” Quoth Saint Francis: “I pray thee, Father, that thou bear patiently with me if I tarry here some days, seeing that I find here much repose; and let whoso will pluck of the grapes of this thy vineyard, for the love of God and me, his poor little one; and I promise thee, in the name of my Lord Jesu Christ, that it shall yield thee twenty measures every year.” And thus did Saint Francis in return for his sojourning there, because of the great fruit of souls that was manifestly gathered of the folk that resorted thither; whereof many departed drunken with love divine, and abandoned the world.
The priest trusted the promise of Saint Francis, and freely gave up the garden unto all that came to him. And it was a marvel to see how the vineyard was all spoiled and plucked, so that
scarce any bunches of grapes were found left.
The time of the vintage came ; and the priest gathered in such bunches as remained, and put
them in the vat and trod them out, and according to the promise of Saint Francis got thereout twenty measures of the best wine. By this miracle it was manifestly set forth, for men to understand, that even as the vineyard despoiled of grapes abounded in wine, through the merits of Saint Francis; even so the Christian people, that had grown barren of virtue by reason of sin, through the merits and teaching of Saint Francis oftentimes abounded in the good fruits of penitence.
People still come looking for God’s Word to be shared with them. African pilgrims at St Maurice; L’Arche at Canterbury, and World Youth Pilgrims in Poland.
“The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World” is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 9th World Meeting of Families.
Families and others from all over the world will gather in Dublin from August 21 – 26, 2018 to celebrate their lives together, to share their experiences from different parts of the world, to reflect on the different challenges they face and to grow together in faith.
As we thank God for our families and pray that this week in Dublin will bring grace to many, here is an extract from the Little Flowers of Saint Francis telling about the Chapter of the Rush Mats, when many friars gathered for a big conference, and attracted many local people who wanted to join in. These pilgrims for World Youth Day in Krakow were not dampened in spirit, rather inspired by the great company they were among.
No-one was wearing hi-viz jackets to restrict numbers in Saint Francis’s day! Here’s the extract.
They either prayed, or said the office, and bewailed their sins or those of their benefactors, or discoursed concerning the salvation of souls. In the camp were roofs of willows and rush-mats set apart in groups according to the brothers of diverse provinces; and thereby was this chapter called the Chapter of the Rush-mats; their bed was the bare ground, and for such as had it a little straw, their pillows were stones or logs of wood, For the which cause so great devotion towards them was felt by whoso heard or saw, and so great was the fame of their sanctity, that there came many counts, barons, and knights, and other gentle folk, and many country folk, and cardinals and bishops and abbots with many other clergy, for to see this holy gathering, so great and so humble, such as the world had never seen before, of so many holy men together: and chiefest of all they came to see the head and most holy father of that holy band, the which had robbed the world of such fair prey, and gathered together so devout and fair a flock to follow in the foot-steps of the true Shepherd Jesu Christ.
The chapter general being then all assembled, the holy father of all and minister general, Saint Francis, in fervour of spirit set forth the word of God: and preached unto them in a loud voice as the Holy Spirit made him to speak; and as argument of his sermon he set forth unto them these words: “My little children, great things have we promised unto God, much greater far hath God promised unto us, if we observe what we have promised unto Him; and of a surety shall we behold what hath been promised unto us.
Short-lived is the joy of the world; the pain that follows it is everlasting; little are the pains
of this life, but the glory of the other life is infinite.”
And on these words he comforted the brothers and to command hearts into obedience and reverence for Mother Church, and unto brotherly love, to God for all men, and to have patience in adversities of the world, and temperance in purity, to observe modesty and angelic charity and to have peace and concord with God with men and with their own conscience, and love and practice of most holy poverty.
Frontispiece from the Little Flowers of Saint Francis; pilgrims to World Youth Meeting in Krakow, another big gathering.
I recently read an article by a researcher at the John Rylands Library, Manchester. Fran Horner tells about her work. Do follow the link, especially if you enjoy being surprised poetically, and to follow up the short extract here.
Ms Horner has this to say about a particular mode of telling the truth:
It has been interesting learning about what categories of information are essential for the catalogue, for example: publisher, year published, volume and editor are all extremely important; whether I liked or disliked the poems… not so important. I have also discovered things about the appropriate type of language and structure I must use within the catalogue: the language must be succinct and consistent to ensure its reliability and usefulness as a finding aid. In the future, researchers may be using my catalogue!
Note the duty not to misinform her readers; readers she will almost surely never meet!
Let us never be slapdash with regard to truth: we may feel we are telling the truth, but are our words -and actions – as Ms Horner says, reliable witnesses in other people’s ears and eyes?
The Reader, Zakopane, Poland.
Back to Ignatius for a final word:
Thank you Will. I don’t doubt it. Writing this post, I was reminded of all the hidden, inglorious heroes there are. The kingdom of God certainly hasn’t been conquered or even cornered. No, absolutely, “slow burn” is the opposite of lukewarm.
An LED seems to me like a more natural analogy for the false, lifeless light and heat of the world, since it has literally no fire (unless it is broken), but I take your point. The fire is amongst us still.
I think you’re right. Feeding the fire is at least the place to begin.
The funny thing I find is, whenever I face discouragement like this, I quickly get very encouraged. When the world feels coldest, the gospel feels most powerful, and the world suddenly full of the gospel.
I think I need to revisit my memories of Krakow actually. It sort of jump-started a really awesome period in my life.
Well, if Francis counted as a youth (which he definitely did), I’m sure you do too.
Many thanks to Ignatius for his contribution to Agnellus’ Mirror, and to Christina also.
Do visit https://asalittlechild.wordpress.com/ and maybe share a word or ‘Comment’ with him.
PS Until I can claim to be an elder with a degree of modest wisdom, at least I have learnt, Festina Lente! Which being translated means, Make haste slowly, or ‘Slow burn!’
Door of Mercy, Krakow
My reply touched on Ignatius’s account of his pilgrimage to the World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Krakow. We were in the vicinity; we saw Pope Francis’s helicopter and met many pilgrims as we walked through the mountains around Zakopane, a couple of hours from Krakow. But as a greybeard, I felt disqualified for WYD!
Good Evening Ignatius!
I don’t want to disagree with all you say, but there’s a need to be gentle when we observe people. Not everyone is cold inside, however they seem. There is fire and fire. Various friends, myself included, burnt out in younger days, not listening when our bodies and minds needed to rest. People could no longer depend on us, but our places were filled by others, and sometimes checks and balances were introduced to make sure burnout would not happen to them.
Parenting, too, really needs a slow burn, the ability to get up at 3.00 a.m. – yet again – to change a nappy, and such mundane jobs continue for years, for some parents without respite. And children may find themselves reciprocating when parents are frail, again, perhaps for years on end. Slow burn where burn out would not be helpful. But slow burn is not always visible. It’s not the same thing as lukewarm.
Fire gives heat and light: if someone makes you feel warmth or enlightens you – even to the glow of one little LED bulb, there is some fire there, surely. Look how the candles shine from within the Cathedral in the picture above.
Maybe the best way to bring fire to the earth is to feed the fire that is already there. An email to a friend or grandparent tells them they are loved, even without using the word. And who or what lights your fire? What light shines on your path? What of the highs of your visit to Krakow for World Youth Day? Where does that experience point you? I hope it is more than a misty memory. I guess as a greybeard I’m too ancient to count as youth, though I did manage the mountain paths around Zakopane – at a slower pace than you youngsters!
Do not be tempted to despair, but try to get alongside people and what enlightens or warms them.
Not that I am inspired by every homily that enters my ears!
These days, I guess most of us think of an indulgence as something we can enjoy but do not really need. Like a slice of cake with your cup of tea. That’s a simnel cake, a sort of English Easter version of the German stollen. A daffodil for the risen Lord and eleven dots for the more-or-less-faithful Apostles.
We know that there were no recriminations from Him in those weeks after Easter. They were forgiven. Full stop.
So how the situation arose where people were selling indulgences, and many more people buying them, is hard to comprehend, except that if you were led to believe that paying down a week’s wages would secure your place in Heaven, well, What price would you pay?
That was an Indulgence in mediaeval times. Follow the link to an interesting article about an Indulgence on show in Manchester. And What price would you pay?
As our contributor Tom points out, you would readily pay a week’s wages for eternal salvation.
Here then is a connection to yesterday’s post, both about wartime, but this is a story of the aftermath of the Second World War.
The same day as I read this article I was in the Archive in Westminster diocese and found a 1947 exchange of letters between Miss Winifred Callaghan, head teacher of English Martyrs’ School in York and Cardinal Griffin in Westminster.
Most Reverend Father,
Kindly accept the enclosed £1 as a small donation to your ‘Children of Europe’ fund, from the children and some of the staff of the above school.
We would have made it more but many local calls kept us collecting. But on Friday we had a quick whip round with ‘your’ box, as we call it, and £1 resulted.
We ask your blessing and a prayer for us all please. May God bless you dear Father, from the children and teachers.
And not an indulgence in sight.
How blest the children of York, to have had such a head teacher! The generosity of many people, rich and poor, can be traced in the correspondence. They were supporting Germans, as well as Poles, Hungarians, Yugoslavians, Estonians: people exiled from their homes across Europe, Germans stranded in the New Poland, many people who could not go home to what were now Communist countries.
Forgiveness freely given towards former enemies, and plain Christian charity.
And not an indulgence in sight.
It is always good to hear from Sister Johanna at Minster Abbey. Today she introduces her Advent reflections on Zechariah (or Zachary) by explaining how they came to her. She was reading the Gospel story of how John the Baptist came to be born to Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth when a very human and likeable figure emerged.
Lectio divina is a rather fancy Latin term that may not be known to every reader of these posts. It means ‘sacred reading’, or ‘holy reading’ and refers to the practice of slowly and prayerfully reading the bible. For a Benedictine nun or monk, lectio is a daily exercise, lasting anywhere from one to two hours, and it is a wonderful experience. But lectio is not merely a pious exercise for monks and nuns. If you take your spiritual life seriously and wish to grow closer to God, try to set aside a period of time each day for this beautiful practice. Busy people may not have time for a full hour or two, but even a daily habit of fifteen minutes can be full of grace.
If you have never tried it, lectio may seem strange at first. Reading the bible is not like reading any other book. You are not trying to ‘find out what happens next’, or quickly reach the end. You are reading a bit like a child eats an ice-cream cone: you try to make it last, and to savour each line like the child savours each lick.
Soon, the reader finds that lectio divina yields a harvest of rich meditations. This in turn leads to deeper prayer, as the Holy Spirit gives the reader new insights, which can be deeply personal ones that shed light on the way God is working in the reader’s life. I have found that writing down my lectio meditations helps them along. As I write, more insights come. The following posts are based on the meditations I have had when using the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke for my lectio.
Reading can be a window looking beyond ourselves. Zakopane. Poland.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe showed great fortitude in standing against Nazism and in giving his life for another.
The notion of fortitude takes a bit of explaining. Like prudence, it seems an old-fashioned word, not used very much in ordinary conversation. When, in fact, was the last time you heard someone use the term? Perhaps the answer is Never. And yet, fortitude is an important concept, and if you possess it as a virtue, you have something very valuable indeed. Why? Because fortitude is about having strength on the level of our deepest self. You might say that fortitude is about being the person you really want to be.
Paradoxically, however, fortitude presupposes human weakness, presupposes that we are liable to be wounded. A stone cannot have fortitude because it has no mind or soul or feelings (as we would understand them). Nor can an angel have fortitude, because an angel is immortal. Fortitude belongs to thinking and feelings beings that are mortal, that can be hurt, and even killed – and that’s us. We can be wounded on so many levels, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Fortitude is that virtue by which we are able to be brave in the face of threats to our emotional, spiritual or physical well-being. Josef Pieper spells it out: ‘...[E]very violation of our inner peace; everything that happens to us or is done with us against our will; everything in any way negative, everything painful and harmful, everything frightening and oppressive’, this is what fortitude is for. And he goes on, ‘The ultimate injury, the deepest injury, is death.’
For further study:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church ,Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1994
The Four Cardinal Virtues, Joseph Pieper, University of Notre Dame Press
It’s Saturday, it’s summertime in Europe, it’s a good day for a picnic.
A very good day for a picnic. On this day in 1989 there occurred a mass picnic on the border between the then communist Hungary and democratic Austria. It became known as the Pan-European picnic because the two neighbours agreed to open their borders, allowing citizens of Western and Communist nations to cross borders and mingle without let or hindrance.
Many East Germans took advantage of the open border to leave for West Germany as the border between Hungary and Austria remained open.
Within a few months the Iron Curtain, as it was known, no longer cut Germany in half; many other nations also fulfilled their citizens desire to leave the communist bloc.
It wasn’t all because of the picnic, but that helped maintain momentum for change, thanks to politicians in Austria, Germany and Hungary, and to many brave, ordinary people.
It won’t take a great deal of bravery to hold a picnic for your family today, or just to share fish and chips or a pizza by the sea. But spare a thought and prayer for those brave souls who died trying to cross borders to the West; for the brave souls whose actions made a freer Europe possible, and for those brave souls who still try to cross borders as refugees or migrants.
And as you enjoy your picnic, thank God for the freedom to do so.
Preserved stretch of the Berlin Wall, MMB
World Youth Day Pilgrims about to enjoy a picnic in the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane, Poland. MMB