In the shadows of life, God in his mercy sends a soul to light the darkness. His Glory is reflected in his saints. Some saints live an obscure life and are never heard of on earth. And some of the, God decides to let shine like the sun for the entire world to see.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Mt 5:12 (NASB)”
In the spirit of Paul Havey, A paper I wrote in Grad School.
Hello fellow Bothers and Sisters. You may know what the spiritual news of certain saints’ lives is, but in a few paragraphs, you’re going to read “The Rest of the Glory”.
A loud boom woke Father Kazimierz Figlewicz out of bed. Looking out his window he could see airplanes above and bombs dropping below. Poland was being invaded. It was September 1, 1939. He looked around the cathedral seeing it void of any people what so ever. He knew that anyone in the vicinity had fled to safety. A huge sadness came over him as he realized that he probably wasn’t going to say Mass that morning. That was until he spied Jozef. Jozef was a young university student studying drama at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Every first Friday Jozef would make his way to the church to go to confession and receive communion. The fact that the Nazis had invaded Poland did not defer Jozef from his religious devotion. True devotion to God does not stop for any reason. And nothing would stop the spiritual destiny of this young man, although the devil did try.
On November 6, 1939 the professors at his university were invited to hear a lecture by a visiting German scholar. Instead of an inspiring lecture, they got seized by the Nazis and were then brought to a concentration camp. Jozef’s studies at the university were shut down. This attempt to subdue Polish intellectual life did not end with the school, as the German’s closed down churches and other aspects of cultural life, including the theater in which Jozef loved so much. This did not stop Jozef and his fellow actors from participating in an underground acting theater group called ‘Rhapsodic Theater’. It was during this time period that Jozef composed several plays and wrote a good amount of poetry. But man cannot survive on underground acting alone. In 1940 Jozef got a job as a manual laborer at the Krakow industrial plant that was transformed into a German chemical factory. Working at this plant kept him from being taken off by the Germans into forced labor. It also helped serve him in other ways. He not only participated in a secret underground theater but also joined an secret underground seminary. He felt God tugging on his heart and let God pull him into the desire of wanting to be a priest. The underground seminary was taught by the professors who escaped deportation to the concentration camps and was headed by Father Jan Piwowarzyk, a well-known writer, journalist, and theologian. Josef was one of the first ten candidates admitted to the secret underground seminary.
Josef was destined to be a priest and nothing could prevent this from happening. On February 29, 1944, Josef got hit walking home from work by a passing German army truck. He became unconscious as his head hit the sidewalk. About nine hours later he was found by a commuter riding on a passing tramway named Jozefa Florek, which saved his life. A young German officer helped get him to the hospital where he discovered that he had suffered a brain concussion. Death missed him that day.
Josef also survived ‘Black Sunday’. August 1, 1944 the Nazis started to round up all the men they could find for fear of an uprising in the city. Around eight thousand men and young boys were snared. As the Gestapo were raiding houses on Tyniecka Street, where Josef was staying, the couple he was living with named the Kotlarczyks begged him to hide in the bushes. Instead he sat at a table and prayed. The Nazis brook into the apartment building where he was staying, but avoided going into the exact location where they were in the building, which was in the basement. God again let his glory shine with this example about how he can move mountains if one dedicates himself to Him in prayer.
Why did God not want his man killed or captured? Why did God want this man to be a priest? Because God wanted to shine his Glory through him. After he become a priest he went on to become the bishop of Poland and eventually a cardinal. A man who not only defied the Nazis but stood up the Communist government in which he lived and is attributed as one of the key figures that helped cripple Communism in general. His courage and sufferings gave him an understanding of people that would give him the edge and wisdom he needed to guide the world, as he became on of the most recognized and respected men on the planet. A man who has visited over 100 countries and knew at least nine languages. A man who lived at the same time other great saints of modern history did, who suffered under the Nazis. A man who gave public recognition to the martyrs Fr. Maximilian Kolbe and Jewish Convert, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross formally Dr. Edith Stein.
A man who, when he says,
“Be not afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ,” can be taken seriously.
For you see, Jozef in 1978 achieved the highest rank in Christendom and maintained it for the next 17 years, that of supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Jozef, Karol Jozef Wojtyla , became the beloved Pope John Paul II. Only now you know the ‘Rest of the Glory.’
“The pope cannot remain a prisoner of the Vatican. I wan to go to everybody… from the nomads of the steppes to the monks and nuns in their convents.. I want to cross the threshold of every home.” -St. Pope John Paul II speaking to reporters early in his reign.
Happy Feast Day of SPJP2