from Fr. Chris
June 4th, 2023
Dear SPA Family,
During my childhood, the movie entitled “Teutonic Knights” was shown in theaters. Many scenes from this movie deeply fell into my childhood imagination. For instance, I remember the morning before the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. The sun is rising, the morning dew is rising, and the forest is filled with birdsong. The Polis-Lithuanian armies led by King Jagiełło are waking up. The knights direct their first thoughts to God, each of them worshiping Him in their own way and asking for protection for the upcoming, difficult day. Soldiers from some Lithuanian banners turn to the rising sun and worship it as God.
From the early days of history, people have looked at the wonderful world with admiration; the sun and the stars, lofty mountains vanishing in clouds, lightning zigzagging across the sky and winds sweeping everything off the earth, people watched and admired; if it is all so powerful and wonderful then how mighty the Creator of it all must be. And so, some people have discovered the God whom they’ve worshiped and entrusted to him their life, both temporal and eternal. For some it was different. Those who were infatuated with created works did not see their Creator. Consequently, they’ve bestowed divine qualities on mountains, lightning, winds, and celestial bodies. Created things obscured some people their Creator. And that’s how the sun became a god.
We can imagine that the sun is our great friend, whose smile reaches us in three radiant ways. The first smile brings the light that fills our planet with radiance. The second brings the warmth that warms the whole world. And the third radiant smile brings the energy necessary for the functioning of people and their machines. We can say that there is one friend in the sky with various faces. The smile of its every face brings us good and blessing in various ways.
The dogma of the Trinity is one of the greatest and most important mysteries of the Christian faith. We believe that there is one God, but in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It is a truth that exceeds the cognitive abilities of the mind; therefore, we often use comparisons when talking about this mystery. One is the comparison with the sun, which in the triple way brings us the blessed smile of a friend. Staying on the literary plane of this metaphor, we can say that God comes to us through a triple smile.
The smile of God the Father creates a wonderful world and us that has a spark of eternity and God’s perfection. God’s smile descends to earth as the Son and becomes one of us to redeem humanity and give it a chance to return to God. The smile of God the Holy Spirit descends to earth, remains among us, and makes us the Temple of the Most High.
Have a blessed weekend. Fr. Chris Ciastoń
May 28th, 2023
Dear SPA Family,
There is a story in the Book of Genesis about the builders of the Tower of Babel. According to the etymology, the word “babel” means “confusion.” People forgot about the punishing waters of the Flood (story of Noah) and drifted further and further away from God. In their pride, they decided to build a great city with a tower reaching the sky (heaven). When it seemed that they were getting close to the goal the so-called confusion of languages happened. Everyone spoke a different language. Disagreements and feuds arose. As a result, not only did they fail to build the city and the tower reaching the sky, but they were also scattered all over the earth. The multi-faceted message of this story also includes the fact that building a human community without divine laws may end in failure, and that without God it is impossible to conquer heaven. When I was a child, I remember how the communist system in my homeland promised to build a heaven on earth without God.
To bring closer the problem of the so-called “confusion of languages” I will use an example from the life of the Polish community of a large city in the East Coast. Various Polish organizations operated here for generations. A group of post-war emigrants decided to establish the Jedność – Unity Association. The initiative group consisted of young, ambitious, and energetic people. They agreed on the purposes, goals, and structure. Unity began to bear fruit and profit. It was also possible to obtain certain social programs from the state budget for the Polish diaspora group. At the beginning, they all spoke one language, that is, the language of consent and understanding.
With time, however, they began to speak ‘different languages.’ The common goal was blurred by multi self-interests. Some believed that they deserved the president position because they were the authors of the success of Unity and had the best idea of how the organization worked. The president began to bend the terms of the Unity charter and fill positions with his own people, who did not always have the appropriate competences. There was such a confusion of languages that no one understood anyone. The meetings were led by those who shouted the loudest. The members of Unity lost their precious energy on slandering themselves in the press and lawsuits. As the confusion of languages deepened, the collapse of Unity came. Today there are buildings put up for auction, unfinished court cases and devastating animosity in the hearts.
On the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover, the Jews celebrated thanksgiving for the harvested crops. At that time, pilgrims from all over the world were visiting Jerusalem, speaking different languages. And the Apostles, locked in the Upper Room, praying, waited for the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus. This invisible power of the descending Holy Spirit was accompanied by the sound of the wind and the flame of fire. The Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and gave them his gifts: love, wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of God, the gift of tongues.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles went out and proclaimed the risen Christ with great power, courage, and God’s wisdom. They spoke one language, and everyone understood them. It was a language of divine wisdom and love - a language understandable to all of us.
Have a blessed week. Fr. Chris