The Priests from Polish Province of the Congregation of the Mission, following St. Vincent de Paul and living the Mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist and in those who are poor, share with us their personal reflection. We are happy that these reflections blend with those that our Superior General, Fr.Tomaž Mavrič, CM, shared with the Vincentian family for Advent. Grateful for these testimonies, let us treat them as a help for Advent and Christmas prayerful thoughts on the Mystery of Incarnation.
I had uncertain image of God before entering Seminary. This image was nice and positive, but – I would say – blurred. Then, throughout the years of studying, this image was becoming clearer and more pronounced. God was being described by biblical pictures and theological definitions: Beautiful, The Triune, Magnificent! When I celebrated my first Mass, on the souvenir image I put an inscription: “I say to the LORD, you are my Lord, you are my only good” (Ps. 16). After Ordination, when I started keeping the Sacred Host in my hands every day, I realized the truth that God had become Man and died on the Cross for my Salvation! And He left Himself in the piece of Bread, and He will stay with us even to the end of age! Then, the connection between Jesus present in Eucharist and present in a poor person became obvious to me. And this is at the center of our Vincentian spirituality. That is why, after 25 years of my Priesthood, I wrote on the back side of my jubilee image: “Lord, I am grateful for 25 years of seeing the world through the Sacred Host and standing at your Altar…” The Sacred Host changes everything. I – the priest Marcin – cannot imagine a single day without seeing the world through IT!
Fr. Marcin Stasiowski, C.M.
« Love is creative even to infinity » (SV XI, 146)
St. Vincent de Paul, at the bed of his ill confrere, tells him about visible signs of God’s love to His people. When he comes to reflect on the Eucharist, fascinated by this great mystery of our faith, he says this significant phrase: « Love is creative even to infinity ». The Eucharist: the great gift of Jesus and the most precious treasure we have on earth. Who could have imagined it before? The “Vincentian” knows how to surprise his neighbor with kindness, with finding the solution for his/her problem, with just being there to bring some joy.
The smile of a sick person who did not expect a visit; the joy of a child who was already getting used to thinking that he wouldn’t go to school this year; the enthusiasm of the members of a neighborhood who discovered, that the local church community may bring a solution to many of their trials; the good mood of a lonely person to whom somebody texted greetings… and many other reactions prove love may be creative even to infinity. We can experience this thanks to the Son of God who became Man and dwells among us; thanks to St. Vincent de Paul who left us an example of love for God and for the neighbor; thanks to so many men and women who, by responding the needs of others, prove with their deeds that love is creative even to infinity.
Fr. Stanisław Deszcz, C.M.
From the very beginning of my conscious life, I have been taken by the mystery of God who became Man. When I think back on my childhood and on the first emotions connected with the Holy Crib, I remember being fascinated by the simplicity of shepherds: how it is possible, that the Angels revealed the Mystery of Incarnation to them first? I entered the world of adults with this very question; I was looking for an answer during my studies, ministry, theological lectures, talks… I have been here and there… But one day, at the end of 1995, I sat at a Christmas Eve table with the poor from a small Belarussian village. They were neither the persons listed by the local Caritas, nor those from the Parish announcements; from somebody’s choice… They came with what they had: a piece of bread, some cheese, a cake, but – first of all – with sincere gratitude and love. They felt at home under a Vincentian roof. Each of them found his own place at the table and shared with traditional bread me with the tears in their eyes, being happy to consider me as his/her son. I had never felt a son of so many mothers and fathers before, as I felt that holy evening in Belarussia. That Christmas Eve is still present within me, since the Trinity gives me not only His Son but also the one who is poor and speaks about God-Love with very simple language.
Fr. Andrzej Ziółkowski, C.M.