Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Don't take Lent for granted...

An excerpt from With God in Russia by Father Ciszek:

     That Lent of 1958 was my busiest ministry as a priest and the Easter Liturgy was a glorious explosion of hundreds of voices that swept me up in a joy that I had never before experienced.  The crowd was so great and the chapel so full I could hardly lift my arms to raise the Host at the consecration.  That midnight liturgy only concluded at 3AM with all greeting each other with "Kristos voskes" (Indeed He is risen) over and over into the dawn.  I had been up for forty-eight hours straight with confessions and preparations for this liturgy but I was never so happy in all my life as a priest. "Kristos voskes" I was beginning to live my dream of serving his flock in Russia.  That was the dream begun when I first heard the call from Father General's letter back in my novitiate days at Wernersville, almost thirty years ago.
     Days later while at work in the laboratory I was summoned.  The KGB wants to see you now.  A handsome KGB officer informed me: "You are to leave Norilsk in ten days. Quit your job immediately.  You are to go to Krasnoyarsk."  There was no discussion.
     I said Mass every day until I left ten days later with a plane ticket courtesy of the KGB.

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