Day two: Blessed are the poor in spirit
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023
21st week in Ordinary Time
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3).
The second day of the novena before the beatification of the Ulma family occurs on the first Saturday of the month. Poles traditionally dedicate such a day to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As we gaze upon this heart, today we realize that the key to Mary’s happiness is her consent to her poverty, so that she can rely entirely on God and his salvific action.
This should likewise be the attitude of every Christian, as evidenced by the lives of the martyrs from Markowa. Through their freely embraced poverty, like Mary, they tangibly experienced the power of God, who sanctified and saved them.
We face much the same task, all the more so because every day we are practically confronted with materialistic atheism and a culture often stripped of reference to God. Let us therefore entrust ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and ask for Jesus’ blessing promised to those who are poor in spirit. At the beginning of Mass, let us apologize to God for all the sinful manifestations of placing our trust in material goods alone and closing our hearts to God and people.
– Let us rejoice in the presence of Christ in our midst and thank him for entering into the life of each one of us, so as to be with us as a Savior always ready to help. Let us open ourselves up to his help in a spirit of great trust, so that we may be faithful to him in the midst of the trials and tribulations we face.
– The life of the Ulma family confirms that characteristic of spiritual poverty is not just contentment with what one has, but an effort and commitment to multiply it and use it for the good of others. In our prayer, let us open ourselves to such a way of life; let us desire it, even though it seems something impossible to achieve in a world that absorbs us so much.
– The martyrs of Markowa are a great treasure for our church. Let us ask for ourselves to experience the same inner strength which they experienced to the point of martyrdom. Let us pray that their example be followed by all those who occupy important positions in our society and in the church, in our local community and homeland.
Images credit: From the archive of Mateusz Szptyma. All rights reserved.
Learn More About the Ulma Family
Under the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, Jews were indiscriminately arrested, imprisoned, and killed. Christians who helped them hide or escape placed themselves in the same peril. Josef and Wiktoria Ulma, who, guided by the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was underlined in red ink in the family Bible, sheltered a Jewish family in their village of Markowa. As a result, in 1944, Josef, Wiktoria, and their seven small children – one not yet born – were murdered by the Nazis. This biography tells the story of the heroic virtue and sacrifice that lead to their beatification.