Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa - click to visit Sanctuary website

The Polish people often call the Blessed Virgin « Mother of my heart » (serdeczna Matke), but this tender love never becomes an indiscreet familiarity. The Mother of Hearts never ceases for a moment to enjoy in the people’s consciousness the unutterable prerogatives of her divine motherhood. She is “our mother” only because she is first of all the “Mother of God” (Matka Boska).

For a long period of time, in some provinces, this respect kept people from naming their daughters after Mary. By antonomasia they would be named Maria-Anna. While negotiating the marriage of Marie of Gonzague with the Polish King Ladislas IV, the French ambassador, Count of Brégyn, wrote in July 1645: “The royal fiancée will have to change her name during the celebrations of the coronation, because the Polish do not admit any other Queen Mary beside the One whose protecting vision sometimes protects their army from on high beyond the clouds.”

Later, Maria-Josephina of Saxony just refused the title of Queen of Poland in the rite of coronation, saying that “this title belongs only to Mary, the Queen of Heaven.” The attribution of that royalty must have been quite exclusive to force royal princesses and their spokespersons to think twice about claiming it! Indeed, from times immemorial, the Polish people recognize only one “Queen of Poland,” Mary, and they jealously ensure that no one usurps this title. 
The sense of Mary’s royalty was so anchored in the Polish soul that the occupying forces felt offended by it. In the Russian zone it was severely forbidden to invoke her under this title. Angry Prussians recorded some impressive answers coming from very young children in their files of complaints against schools “for refusing to learn the catechism and pray in German.”

“Do you think that Poland will rise again?” an inspector asked the children of Wrzesnia.
“Yes, we believe it.”
“And who will be the king?” he continued, smelling a conspiracy.
“We don’t know who the king will be, but we already have a queen.”
“Who is she?”
“Our Lady.” (In the text: « the Mother of God. »)

Pressured by schism, heresy and Islam, for centuries Poland had to defend her territory in order to defend her faith. Any Tartar or Turkish invasion transformed the churches into mosques and planted the crescent instead of the cross. Any Christian victory brought back Christ to the ravaged regions.

Thus Our Lady had a direct interest in the affairs of her Son, and the people who had elected her Queen didn’t fail to remind her of it. Polish literature is replete with naive and exquisite allusions to the military exploits of the Warrior Virgin.

It is a common theme in popular poetry: “You have arranged your army for battle. You have destroyed the forces of Islam. You have crushed the presumptuous Turks. You have sheltered us under your mantle. Defend your kingdom O mighty Virgin. Do not forget that you are our Queen...”

(Marie Winoska, The Marian Cult in Poland, In Maria – Studies about the Virgin Mary –Volume 4)

The pictures represent the altar with Black Madonna painting in the Chapel at Jasna Gora Basilica and the photo of Pauline Monastery at Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, 100km north of Cracow. Third picture shows the main altar in the Basilica.

credit: after A Moment with Mary