By Jonathan Ruano
This past summer I was fortunate to have participated in Tertio Millennio Seminar. This three week program held in beautiful Kraków, Poland, brought me half way around the world but it also brought me closer my faith.
We visited many places throughout the duration of the seminar but my experience at Częstochowa stands out among the rest. This Polish city is the home of the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa,
The icon itself is beautiful and full of theological meaning.
The whole visit exuded devotion. I was able to witness what great reverence, love, respect, faith, and devotion the Polish people felt for their Madonna. The shrine which holds the icon is constantly full of people, many visitors and pilgrims for sure, but also many daily mass goers. I remember how difficult it was to get through the crowd, the only small opening was right before arriving in front of the icon at which point everyone kneels.
As I walked on my knees for the next few minutes I began to think of how many people had done this same walk through the years, how many great saints, including Pope John Paul II, have had a devotion to Mary, how many centuries the Church has been venerating her.
This reflection led me to believe that I am missing out.
Today on this special day of the Church, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Gospel tells us that a woman from the crowd calls out to Jesus and says, "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” This gospel is another clue to my ever evolving faith journey. The woman in the crowd understands the importance Mary and her role in the Church,
I want to further understand Mary and her role in my life.
Before the seminar ended I bought a small rosary, on one side of the rosary is the image of Pope John Paul II and on the other side, his beloved Lady of Częstochowa. I have never been too big on a daily rosary but am not oblivious to how its devotion has brought many closer to Mary.
And so, on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, It is my hope to start with a decade a day, with the certainty that Mary, as always, leads me closer to her Son.
Lord, I can no longer miss out. And I invite all of you to join me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan is a campus minister at Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC. On his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and friends and if it's around a meal even better. He is a huge sports fan, soccer being his favorite. His faith is the cornerstone of his life and tries to live by the philosophy "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam", for the greater glory of God.