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Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, Thursday, April 11, 2024


1- Saint Stanislaus being ordained as bishop. 2- Saint Stanislaus resurrects Peter. 3-King Bolesław murders Saint Stanislaus. 4-Stanislaus' body is cut into pieces. Image from the Hungarian Kings' Anjou Legendarium of the 14th century.

Gospel

Jn 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all.

The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.

But the one who comes from heaven is above all.

He testifies to what he has seen and heard,

but no one accepts his testimony.

Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.

For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.

He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.

The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,

but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,

but the wrath of God remains upon him.


Reflection


Today we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Stanislaus, a Polish bishop and martyr who lived during the 11th century. As bishop, St. Stanislaus dedicated himself to serving God and tending to the spiritual needs of his flock. We so need our priests today to have this dedication and courage that St. Stanislaus portrayed in his life.


In John 3:33, it states, "Whoever does accept His testimony certifies that God is trustworthy." St. Stanislaus dedicated his life to the service of God. He also bore witness to the truth and stood against the oppressive powers in his day. The King of Poland at that time was King Bolesaw II, who was noted as both generous and immoral. Generous because the Bishop helped King Boleslaw to see that Poland needed more monasteries and Churches; therefore, King Boleslaw funded the building of these projects.


This is my favorite story or legend of St. Stanislaus. There was an instance when the Bishop had purchased land from a fellow named Peter, before the man died. Peter's sons were persuaded by the King to claim that the Bishop had not paid for it before their father died. The Bishop went to court and was going to lose the land if he did not come up with Peter as a witness. So the Bishop asked the judge for three days to come up with his witness. The judge granted the Bishop the time he needed. The Bishop prayed and fasted for the three days and went out in procession to the graveyard on that third day to dig up Peter's grave. Peter resurrected from the grave and went to court to testify on behalf of the Bishop that he did in fact pay for the land. Then Peter reprimanded his sons for having lied about the matter. The Bishop asked if Peter would like to live for a few more years or go back to the grave and he opted for the grave.


Bishop Stanislaus also tried to help King Boleslaw II tame his immoral activities. The King lacked fidelity to his wife and often treated his subjects cruelly. It got so bad that Bishop Stanislaus had to declare the King to be excommunicated from the Church. The King got so mad that he ordered his men to go and kill the Bishop. The men came back reporting they could not carry out the request, because a great light protected the Bishop. The King went and killed the Bishop while he was celebrating Mass. He ordered his men to cut St. Stanislaus’ body into pieces and leave them out for the animals to devour. However when they took them out, eagles came and guarded the body pieces until canons of the cathedral came to give him a proper burial.


In the end, St. Stanislaus' life serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring relevance of the Gospel message. Through his courageous actions and ultimate sacrifice, St. Stanislaus inspires believers to stand firm in the truth and strive to give witness to this truth in a world often plagued by injustice and corruption.


Prayer from morning lauds:

Father,

to honor you, Saint Stanislaus faced martyrdom with courage.

Keep us strong and loyal in our faith until death.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.

— Amen.


St. Stanislaus is the patron saint of Poland, soldiers in battle, and moral order.

St. Stanislaus, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You!


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