Saturday, April 14, 2018

Krakow Pilgrimage- Day Eleven- Mogila and Christ Crucified

For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Cor 22-25)

Devotion at Mogila
Last evening I was reading through one of my books on polish churches and realized there was one of Poland's largest pilgrimage sites at the Cistercian monastery located about 10 kilometers on the east side of the city. The name of the monastery is known as Mogila, (the name of the village it is located which stems from the grave of Wanda -the legendary daughter of Count Krak). This morning I got up early, took Tram #10 to the monastery, and got there in perfect time for Mass. First a little history. The church was consecrated in 1266. Many pilgrims were attracted to Mogiła (Source) to the feet of the Miraculous Christ, among them bishops, cardinals, kings and sovereigns such as Kazimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki), Vladyslav Jagiello (Władysław Jagiełło) and St. Queen Jadwiga, but above all, the pious country folk, who came by the thousand throughout the years. The figure of the Miraculous Christ is just over 6 feet tall and is covered with polychromy. It has natural hair which, according to the legend, has been cut and grown back.

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The hips are covered by a piece of golden, embroidered material. This is the votive of the nobleman Żółtowski for being saved from the massacre made by the Turks in the battle of Cecora in 1620. Over the centuries people, being thankful for the graces and miracles, brought numerous gifts, later robbed by the Tatars, Swedes and Austrians. The ones we can see today have been brought recently by the grateful worshipers of the Mogilian Jesus. The monastery chronicles and stories tell about the exceptional graces and miracles experienced by the pilgrims.

This crucifix has the largest devotion in Poland. You can actually see where the marble is worn out in the floor around the crucifix from people crawling on their knees around it. After Mass was over I was able to spend some time praying before the spectacular image, and I would consider this similar to Czestochowa in terms of spiritual experience. There was more to this than a striking crucifix, it was as if Christ was looking at you from His half closed eyes. As my pilgrimage comes closer to its end, this is yet another theological, spiritual lesson, Christ crucified. Everything about our faith revolves around His Sacrifice for us. This is of course not to minimize His resurrection, but that we may know that there is no salvation without His Holy, Perfect, Sacrifice.

I am convinced that if I could bring this image to my mind whenever bad thoughts come up, that it would be a safeguard against acting contrary to the will of God. This is why the Church has always valued the presence of the crucifix in our churches and in our homes. Every room in our homes should have a crucifix of some kind to remind us of our obligation to love God above all things. This crucifix at Mogila inspires the heart and lifts it up to God in order to conform it to His own. I consider this another important and inspiring part of my pilgrimage journey here in Poland.

Across from the abbey, church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew 1466

Mogila Monastery

Main altar

Miraculous crucifix

Blessed Virgin with St. Kolbe
Mogila proved to be another moving experience on my pilgrimage journey. Today the Blessed Mother also treated me to one of her other miraculous images which I did not know I missed the first time visiting Skalka. Today was a beautiful day and as I was walking around the city I felt an inclination to go back to Skalka, southwest of Wawel. This is where St. Stanislaus was martyred. When I arrived Mass was going on, so I sat in the pew praying until Mass was over. This was also an opportunity to see the church with the lights on. As it turns out, the image of Our Lady is also uncovered. This allowed me to see her, where normally, it is covered by a painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When I going around the church and saw the image, I thought to myself, did I miss that last time? I certainly don't remember it, and I don't remember taking pictures of her. I hope I'm not getting Alzheimer's I thought. I stood and said some prayers and then took some pictures of the beautiful icon. I walked over to the side altar across from it and took some pictures. I turned around and took a couple more of Our Lady from across the nave. I then turned around for a minute or two looking at some paintings. Before I go I thought it would be good to maybe take one more of Our Lady. I turned around and she was gone! She was replaced by a painting of the Sacred Heart, which I saw the first time I came. You can see the picture on day three of my pilgrimage post. Below are more pictures of Skalka and Our Lady!

Skalka from the back side

Our Lady!

Isn't she lovely?

Getting another picture from the other side.

Turning around for one more. Where did she go?
I spent part of the afternoon walking around enjoying the weather and reading a book in the park. I have not posted many pictures of the city, so here are snapshots as I walked around today.

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