Anyone who reads the history of Eastern Europe cannot help but chance on the name of Stanislaus, the saintly but tragic bishop of Kraków, patron of Poland. He is remembered with Saints Thomas More (June 22) and Thomas Becket (December 29) for vigorous opposition to the evils of an unjust government.
Born in Szczepanow near Kraków on July 26, 1030, he was ordained a priest after being educated in the cathedral schools of Gniezno, then capital of Poland, and at Paris. He was appointed preacher and archdeacon to the bishop of Kraków, where his eloquence and example brought about real conversion in many of his penitents, both clergy and laity. He became bishop of Kraków in 1072.
During an expedition against the Grand Duchy of Kiev, Stanislaus became involved in the political situation of Poland. Known for his outspokenness, he aimed his attacks at the evils of the peasantry and the king, especially the unjust wars and immoral acts of King Boleslaus II.
The king first excused himself, then made a show of penance, then relapsed into his old ways. Stanislaus continued his open opposition in spite of charges of treason and threats of death, finally excommunicating the king. The latter, enraged, ordered soldiers to kill the bishop. When they refused, the king killed him with his own hands.
Forced to flee to Hungary, Boleslaus supposedly spent the rest of his life as a penitent in the Benedictine abbey in Osiak.
John the Baptist, Thomas Becket, Thomas More and Stanislaus are a few of the prophets who dared to denounce corruption in high places. They follow in the footsteps of Jesus himself, who pointed out the moral corruption in the religious leadership of his day. It is a risky business: "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone..." (John 8:7b).
"Men desire authority for its own sake that they may bear a rule, command and control other men, and live uncommanded and uncontrolled themselves" (St. Thomas More, A Dialogue of Comfort).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Lord as I come to you today
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.
The Word of God
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr
The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion. (Jeremiah 20:11)
"Terror, terror on every side!" That's how Jeremiah's enemies portrayed him. They accused him of needlessly stirring up fear among the people by talking about God's coming judgment. And so employing the rumor mill that was part of the court in Jerusalem, they spread gossip and slander that made life downright dangerous for the prophet. But Jeremiah didn't back down. He had entrusted his life to God, and he knew that God would be his champion and keep him safe.
God is indeed a mighty champion for all of us—not just in life-and-death situations like Jeremiah's but even in the everyday "dangers" that we face. He is with the housewife who worries about keeping her children in line, cleaning her home, and preparing meals for her family. He is with the student struggling against peer pressure. He is with the lonely widower facing a troubling diagnosis and the prison inmate trying to change his life in often brutal surroundings. Whether we are facing a real war or just a battle within our minds and hearts, God is our champion, ready to fight for us and defend us.
Sometimes, though, it's hard to ask the Lord for help. We have been so conditioned by life in this world to think we have to fight all by ourselves. We are told that religion is just a crutch and that we should be strong enough to handle whatever comes our way. Or we have been told that it's normal to live with a certain level of anxiety and worry and that only naïve fools are happy all the time. We should just grow up and get used to our problems because life is unfair, and there's nothing we can do about it.
Don't listen to these voices! You have a God in heaven who cares for you and who wants to do good for you. He is very near to you, waiting for you to call on him. A true champion, he will take up your cause and give you his grace, his wisdom, and his insights to help you through every challenge. You don't have to walk this path alone!
"I love you, Lord, my strength ... my rock, my fortress, my deliverer!" (Psalm 18:2-3)
Psalm 18:2-7; John 10:31-42
Life seems good, it doesn't hurt to miss Church, it doesn't affect you to go ahead and sin, and life, well, it seems pretty happy and normal. So it seems, until the day you need Him. But what if that day never comes? What do I mean? Well, you've lived life so atheist-like, that now, you wouldn't even know how or what to pray! Or even if you should pray at all!? Confusion sets in and only adds to the stress. And so one might say "I'll trust in God", and "whatever happens will be" (lo que sera, sera). And so, neutrality sets the tone for life. "Coexist" they say, which it has a grain of good, but mostly not. I can not co-exist with evil, and I surely can not continue living a true Christian life without affecting my environment. I see faithful elderly ladies still faithful in the church, but I do not see their children, nor their husband. How can you be faithful to God and not to family and friends where God is in them too? Ahh, but "don't you always say God 1st Mr. Adrian?". Did you not read the Scripture where it says "I declare: "Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you, Yet like any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall." And over and over God calls us His children like in 1Cor3:16 "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" Romans 8:15 "For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba,* Father!""
Precious, and no wonder Jesus never got mad at the ones who accused Him and beat Him to death, He knows that God resides in the temple, and from the temple He hears our cries as we read in today's Psalm. Why didn't God hear the cries of Jesus in His sufferings? Because there were none to be heard. It was all prayer offered for the world. That's what I heard in the book "The Dolorous Passion Of Our Lord Jesus Christ" with Anne Emmerich, a nun, a visionary. Jesus moaned sometimes when they struck Him, often when He would fall, or when the pains was so great, but in between moans He would be praying for them, the evil doers. Who were these monsters that would kick a beat up person while they are down? Often times they are people who are neutral, and are easily possessed by the devil, for if they had been fortified, their temples fortified they would not had been the slaughterers of the Son of God. Later in the book it spoke of the falls of Jesus, and of when Simon of Cyrene was forced to help Jesus carry the cross. It was "none of his business", Simon didn't want anything to do with that beat up accused man, he didn't want the risk, yet...he obeyed. Jesus never said a word, perhaps a simple glance with bloodshot eyes and struggling to breathe walked along the side of Simon, and then Jesus fell again, sending them tumbling down, and the soldiers started their onslaught of kicks and yells while Jesus was down, and Simon, having been touched on the Way by Jesus, he realized something happened in his heart, and he stood up for Jesus commanding them to stop beating up Jesus or else he would no longer carry the cross even if they killed him! They backed off. I want you to learn an important lesson here. Which one? Don't kick people while they are down? No, that goes without saying. The lesson is to obey, so that along the "Way", you will be touched by Jesus. So often a time we have to drag ourselves to Church or a ministry, but so often a time we are touched by Jesus, which gives strength to persevere. What we don't know is how much "palanca", prayers were being offered for Jesus to make it to the cross. His Mother prayed, some of the other followers prayed, and most of all, angels were continuously praying and helping Him along the suffering to death. The Lord hears the cry of the poor to be saved from the power of the wicked, we read today. Jesus called upon God, upon the cross, just like in the Psalms today. And God Heard the voice of God