In the Diocese of Legnica
OUR LADY of GRACES
The Blessed Virgin cooperated with the Saviour’s work in a particular manner through obedience, faith, hope and ardent love so as to renew the supernatural life of souls. Hence, she became our Mother in the order of grace. The maternity of Mary in the economy of grace has lasted incessantly (LG VIII). The sign of this constant maternity of Mary in Silesia is the shrine in Krzeszów which houses the 17th -century miraculous image of Our Lady of Graces. The sanctuary was founded in 1242 by Anne, St Hedwig of Silesia‘s daughter-in-law (Henry the Pious’s widow), a year after the Battle of Legnica (9 April 1241). Since its foundation, it has been called the Domus Gratiae Mariae. The image was crowned on 2 June 1997 in Legnica by Pope John Paul II. The ceremonious enthronement of the crowned image took place in Krzeszów on 17 August 1997.
Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
OFFICE OF READINGS
From the homily of John Paul II in Legnica on 2 June 1997
(“L’Osservatore Romano,” special Polish issue, 30 May-10 June 1997, pp. 26-29)
With Mary we give thanks for the Eucharist – the source of social love
Mary, after the Annunciation, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. And Elizabeth, hearing Mary’s greeting, experienced a special moment of illumination. In the depths of her heart she knew that her young relative was carrying in her womb the Messiah. Greeting Mary she therefore exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Lk 1:42). Then, in response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary gives praise to God with the words of the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour ” (Lk 1:46-47).
The Church never grows tired of going back to the words of this canticle. In particular she repeats them every day at vespers, giving thanks to God for the same reason that Mary thanked him: for the fact that the Son of God was made man and came to dwell among us. And we today, at this Liturgy of the Holy Mass in Legnica, sing with Mary the Magnificat in order to express our gratitude for the unending presence of Christ in the Eucharist. … We raise this song of thanksgiving together with all the generations of believers throughout the world. And it is a particular joy for us that this universal hymn is being heard in Lower Silesia — here in Legnica. I am pleased that I have been able to come here to meet the Christian community that for five years has been part of the new Diocese of Legnica. I offer words of cordial greeting to your Shepherd, Bishop Tadeusz, to his Auxiliary Bishop, to the priests, to the consecrated persons and to all the faithful of the Diocese. I greet also the pilgrims from Germany and from the Czech Republic, and the Sorbo-Lusatians. I thank them for their presence.
Your diocese is young, but Christianity in these lands has a long and rich tradition. We all know that Legnica is an historic place, the place where a Prince of the Piast Dynasty, Henry II the Pious, son of Saint Hedwig, put up resistance to the invaders from the East — the Tartars — halting their dangerous onslaught westwards. For this reason, although the battle was for the moment lost, many historians see it as one of the most important battles in the history of Europe. It also has exceptional importance from the point of view of faith. It is difficult to identify the main motives which prevailed in Henry’s heart — the desire to defend his homeland and its tormented people, or to halt the Muslim army that was threatening Christianity. It seems that both motives were equally present in him. Henry, giving his life for the people entrusted to his rule, gave it at the same time for his faith in Christ. And that is a significant characteristic of his piety, which the generations of that time noted and preserved in the epithet attached to his name.
This historical circumstance linked to the place of our Liturgy today prompts a reflection on the mystery of the Eucharist from a particular perspective, the perspective of social life. In this regard, the Second Vatican Council rightly teaches: “No Christian community can be built up unless it has its basis and centre in the celebration of the most Holy Eucharist”; from this, therefore, “all education in the spirit of community must originate.” …
The Eucharist became the source of a close link between Christ’s disciples: it was to build up “communion”, the community of his Mystical Body, rooted in love and permeated by love. The visible sign of this love was the daily concern for every person who was in need. …
Brothers and Sisters! Today, as we celebrate the Eucharist, it becomes clear also for us that we are called to live according to this same way of life and by the same Spirit. This is the great task for our generation, for all Christians of our day: to bring the light of Christ into daily life. To bring it into the “modern areopagi”, into the vast territories of contemporary civilization and culture, of politics and economics. Faith cannot be lived only in the depths of the human soul. It must find external expression in the life of society. “If any one says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also” (1 Jn 4:20-21). This is the great task placed before us, people of faith. …
Which road shall we take into the Third Millennium? “I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil”, the Prophet says. Brothers and sisters, I beg you: “Therefore choose life”! This choice is made in the heart, in the conscience of every person, but it is not without effect also in the life of a society — of a nation. Therefore, every believer is somehow responsible for the shape taken by life in society. A Christian who lives by faith, who lives by the Eucharist, is called to build his own future and the future of his Nation — a future based on the solid foundations of the Gospel. Have no fear therefore of accepting responsibility for the social life of our homeland. This is the great task placed before man: to go with courage to the world, to lay the foundations for the future; so that it may be a time of respect for man, a time of openness to the Good News! Do it with the unanimity that is born of love of man and love of country. …
“My soul magnifies the Lord”! During the International Eucharistic Congress in Lower Silesia, with Mary let us give thanks for the Eucharist — the source of social love. May the crowning of the miraculous picture of Our Lady of Graces at Krzeszów be the expression of this unity.
The Shrine of Krzeszów was founded by Anna, the widow of Henry II the Pious, one year after the battle of Legnica. Already in the thirteenth century legions of pilgrims used to gather before the picture of Our Blessed Mother. And even then the shrine was called Domus Gratiae Mariae. Truly it was the House of the Grace generously distributed by the Mother of God, to which many pilgrims came from various countries, especially Bohemians, Germans, Sorbo-Lusatians and Poles. We are happy that today too the Mother of God has brought together numerous pilgrims from these neighbouring countries.
May this sign of the placing of the crowns on the heads of Mary and the Child Jesus be an expression of our gratitude for the divine benefits which have been so copiously received and are always received by those, devoted to Mary, who hasten to the House of Grace at Krzeszów. May it also be a sign of the invitation that we make to Mary and Jesus to reign in our hearts and in the life of our Nation: may we all become temples of God and courageous witnesses of his love for everyone.
RESPONSORY Luke 1:45-46; Psalm 66:16
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. And Mary said:
– My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Alleluia.
Hear, all who fear God. I will tell what he did for my soul.
– My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Alleluia.
by your will the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to the Giver of grace and cooperated with Him in the work of the redemption of man,
grant that she may procure graces for us and lead us to the port of eternal salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Probatum seu confirmatum, die 20 octobris 1998. Prot. 1462/98/L.