Saturday, August 31, 2013

Devotion for today: Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us.

John 2:5: His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”

I would like to return to my trip to Poland for today, because this week we celebrated  the feast of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, also known as the Black Madonna or Our Lady of Czestochowa.  She is also known as Our Lady of Poland, and her feast day is August 26th. Here is an excerpt from a commentary on the pilgrimage I wrote for the members of the group who traveled through Poland with me.

The next stop was Czestochowa, the home of Our Lady of Jasna Gora (the Black Madonna). She is called Our Lady of Jasna Gora because the Pauline monks from Hungary who built the monastery on the high hill named it after their Mother House at Buda, St. Lawrence in Claro Monte Budensi, Hungary. We were given a tour of this magnificent shrine and had the thrill of viewing the image during Eucharistic Adoration! Many, many miracles are attributed to this icon, which is clothed in precious metals and jewels and housed in a glass enclosure to insure perfect temperature control. The Black Madonna is attributed with saving the town of Czestochowa against many attacks and invasions, as recently as the occupation of the monastery and church by the Nazis, and is the source of great graces and many miracles. Tradition holds that she was painted by St. Luke on the table top from the house of the Holy Family, and art critics say it was originally a Byzantine icon from between the 6th and 9th centuries. Some of us were able to attend the 6 am unveiling of the Image ceremony the next morning. This is a beautiful tradition where the image, which is hidden behind a silver screen, is unveiled for the day to the blast of trumpets and the sound of drums. The screen rises slowly while the people sing hymns. It was truly a glimpse of heaven. The presence of Mary throughout our entire pilgrimage can only leave us with the reminder that no matter what we do for God, no matter where we travel to be near to Him, His mother Mary will always be with us. She is the light that will lead us to her Son, just as her hand points to Him in this sacred image.
“On June 4, 1979, the first Polish Pope, John Paul II, visited Jasna Gora and began his pilgrimage with these words, “Mary’s will is being fulfilled. Here I am… I have come ….” During his three-day visit, the Pope encountered three and a half million faithful. John Paul II declared the faith of the Universal Church, of his homeland, of all mankind and of himself in the Virgin and proclaimed, “Mother, I am yours and all that I have is yours”. He made an offering of a golden rose and set it on the altar of the Mother of God.” (This paragraph is from the book Jasna Gora Czestochowa, Wydawnictwo Zakonu Paulinow, 1998)

 Almighty and merciful God! You gave us a wondrous help and defense in the most holy Virgin Mary and You honored Her sacred image of Jasna Gora with remarkable veneration of the faithful. Grant in Your mercy that, under her protection, we may struggle confidently throughout our lives and at the moment of death be victorious over our enemy. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.,8.html. For more info:

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