Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poland's President Dead: People Live and People Die, and I Don't Know Why

Polish president Lech Kaczynski and about eight dozen other people died when the airliner they were in crashed in Russia.

You've probably heard about that already.

I wrote about Poland's national tragedy yesterday, in another blog:Something more, from EWTN News:
"Pope offers condolences, prayers for Polish people after plane crash"
EWTN News/CNA (April 10, 2010)

"The Holy Father expressed his sorrow over the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and those accompanying him on a flight to Russia on Saturday morning. Pope Benedict remembered all of those who died and implored 'a special blessing to the people of Poland from God omnipotent.'

"According to CNN, President Kaczynski, his wife, top members of the Polish government, army and several Church authorities were on the plane that went down just seconds from landing at the airport of Smolensk, Russia. The aircraft apparently clipped some trees with a wing as it made its way through heavy fog. Reports vary on the number of people on the plane, but counts run from 89 to 132 people, none of whom survived.

"The delegation was headed to the small village of Katyn...." (More, below.1)
This is a terrible weekend for all the people of Poland.

Today, by the way, is Divine Mercy Sunday. I've written about that before:

A Little History

The Divine Mercy devotion comes from Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun. There's quite a history to this devotion. The short version is that it was not allowed for quite a while, because of a poor translation from Polish. Then we got a pope who had grown up speaking Polish. That's Karol Józef Wojtyła. English-speaking people are more likely to remember him as Pope John Paul II. John Paul noticed discrepancies between the previously-accepted translation and what Sr. Faustina had actually written - and the Divine Mercy Devotion was accepted.

Polish Tragedy Just Before Divine Mercy Sunday? Does That 'Mean Something' - or Not?

I don't think life is one random event after another, with no rhyme or reason.

But I don't try to read 'Great Spiritual Meaning' into everything that happens. When I stub my toe, I think it's likely that it happened because I was careless. I think it's quite unlikely that God was 'Smiting Me, a Sinner.'

I'm well aware that I'm a sinner, reliant on God's mercy. But I rather doubt that God is standing by with a rolled-up spiritual newspaper, waiting for a chance to whack me.

As for so many prominent Poles - many of them known Catholics - being killed just before Divine Mercy Sunday? This may have some 'Deep Spiritual Significance.' If so, it may also be one of those things that I simply can't understand.

Then, if a news report I read is right, one fellow missing the plane. Surely that must 'mean something.' Sure, it probably does. But I don't know what.

That's okay: God's God and I'm not. (I've read Job. I don't expect to understand everything God does.)

And I'm certainly not going to whip up something and claim that God was doing something for a reason I think is cool. That's something I definitely do not want to be explaining to Him when I go through my final judgment. I've got enough trouble as it is.

How God's will and Poland's national tragedy are related is just one more thing that I don't know. (See Being Conventionally 'Spiritual,' Accepting Uncertainty (January 20, 2010)) It's not that I'm incurious. I'd love to know all the answers. But that doesn't always happen.

So, what am I doing about this spiritual conundrum? Filing it with all the other things I don't have a final answer for, and moving along.

God willing, I'll go to Mass this morning, receive my Lord in the Eucharist, and start my family praying a novena for Pope Benedict XVI.

What Novena?

The Knights of Columbus suggest that we pray a novena for Pope Benedict XVI, from April 11 to April 19.

"Novena for Pope Benedict XVI"

kofcsupreme, YouTube (April 05, 2010)
video, 1:01

(The video's been shrunk to fit this blog's format. If it won't display properly here, please try it on YouTube.)

Related posts:
1 More of that excerpt:Something more, from EWTN News:
"Pope offers condolences, prayers for Polish people after plane crash"
EWTN News/CNA (April 10, 2010)

"...The delegation was headed to the small village of Katyn, a few kilometers from Smolensk, in a landmark visit to observe the 70th anniversary of the execution of more than 20,000 Polish officers during World War II.

"Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his telegram to the acting President of the Polish Parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, that it was with 'profound sorrow' that he learned of the deaths of those who were on their way to Katyn.

"He remembered the president, the exiled ex-president of the Republic Ryszard Kaczorowski, Army chaplain and Bishop Tadeusz Plozki, Orthodox Archbishop Miron Chodakowski and Evangelical military pastor Adam Pilsch by name.

"He entrusted all of the victims of the crash 'to the goodness of merciful God' and prayed, 'May He take them into his glory.'..."

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