The Rosary is a powerful weapon of protection and peace. Now, in the face of this war, it is more true than ever.
The Polish people teach us all a lesson in humanity through their behavior in the face of the avalanche of refugees arriving at their borders. Current estimates of the number of people who have entered the country since the start of the Russian invasion are well over one million at the time of this writing; the United Nations puts that number at nearly double.
The Poles have forged a chain of brotherhood that makes no distinction. Everyone helps as best they can. The situation is heartbreaking, seeing all the women, children and elderly people who have left behind their male relatives who remain in the fight and those who cannot leave due to the bombings against the proposed humanitarian corridor.
In these comings and goings of Polish buses going to the border to pick up refugees, a man named Michal was one of the many volunteers coordinating a trip. He is usually involved in projects aimed at improving education in rural Poland.
On the way, on the bus – which in this case belonged to the public administration – Michal was with a group of law enforcement officers. They were there as guards to help and protect the refugees.
Michal is married and father of 4 children. Like all the men on the bus, he was pensive, and along the way they pondered what they would encounter. No doubt many imagined themselves and their own families as refugees. At first they were talking about how they were going to organize themselves, but then there was silence.
Then Michal took the microphone and suggested, “How about praying the rosary? The rest agreed. He told the driver and, with Michal on the microphone, they prayed the mysteries together. Some of them did not know how to pray the Rosary, but others helped them.
They arrived at the border and greeted a group of people who were already waiting: babies held by their mothers, young and old women, exhausted old people. All of their faces showed the relief of having achieved a goal and the determination to keep fighting to move forward.
The guards helped them onto the bus, and Michal coordinated everything: he listened to each refugee’s story and concerns. Then they left for Warsaw.
Along the way, the children had time to talk and discover the Polish landscape that now welcomed them, and to draw with colored markers. (Upon arrival at the border, each child is greeted with a stuffed animal, a simple gift that comforts the little ones.)
Arriving in the Polish capital, the refugees got off the bus. Guards accompanied them, helping to unload baggage, strollers, and any loose baggage these unplanned travelers might have taken with them.
The guards then approached Michal and thanked him for the rosary he had encouraged them to pray. It had helped them, they told him, to undertake the task with a greater sense of good for their fellow man, the helpless, the powerless, the discouraged, those who had lost everything, and also those who were afraid.
The Rosary is a powerful weapon. Now, in the face of this war, it is more true than ever.
“The Holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you will be amazed by the result. (Saint Josemaría, The Way, 558)
The children, as always, noticed the warmth of the welcome, and a little boy gave Michal a drawing that read: “I love Poland”.
The drawing will remain on the bus, so it will be a source of inspiration. Poland, “ever faithful“, always faithful to God, says his motto.