Through the Dark Times

Santiago Fortiamor

Not far from St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Australia is the museum of Holocaust and Steiner Education Center. It reminds us of the horrors of World War 2 and the persecution of Jewish people. While the images of concentration camp and human suffering brings horror and anguish, let us not forget that the same era produced many martyrs, blessed and saints.

To mention some – the 108 World War 2 martyrs, Blessed Joseph Kowalski, Blessed Rupert Mayer, SJ (which some of you might be familiar with his prayer made into song) and many more. Such irony in human history did not happen only in World War 1 and World War 2 alone. It happened many times in the history of mankind, this article won’t be enough if we discuss it now.

Let me just tell you about Poland. From 1900 up to almost half of the 20th century, Poland was literally obliterated by World War 1, World War 2 and the 1918 flu pandemic. Too many people died in Poland during that period than what we can imagine today. However, also, in the background during that period, the Devotion to the Divine Mercy was revealed to Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun. Up to now this devotion brings countless healings and conversions. Its feast will be commemorated on the Sunday after Easter. 

Another extraordinary fruit of that trying times is St Maximilian Kolbe, a martyr of charity. I said a martyr of love not faith because he did not actually die to defend the faith like most martyrs but instead he gave up his life in exchange of another prisoner in a concentration camp. How many of us can do that?

Lastly I would like to mention Pope John Paul II, a Polish army and priest that became known throughout the world for his untiring effort to spread Catholicism in recent times. The most traveled Pope in history he was known, a true example of a servant of the servants of God.

In the end what I would like to say is…many years from now how shall we remember this time in our lives? Will it be another memory of global misery or will this be an era that will “Polish” some of us? After all, true gems shine in times of darkness. 

May the love of God always be with us.

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