Second day, second basilica, second absolutely mind blowing experience...
Today we visited the common pilgrim location of Częstochowa. It's INSANELY impressive because it's the basilica of Our Lady of Częstochowa and INSIDE is THE ORIGINAL PAINTING of the Black Madonna.
This isn't just any painting. It is said to be painted by St. Luke the Evangelist... THE SAME Luke who wrote Luke's gospel. And what's crazier is that it is ALSO said that he painted this on the back of a cedar table from the house of the Holy Family, which was MOST likely MADE BY JESUS in the first place.
It took a bit to have that sink in today...
This piece is almost two thousand years old and has also been the prize and spoils of many groups of people which have had short posession of the country. It's been damaged and redone in raids, and adorned with gold flake and metallic pieces of decoration over time until the last 600 years where it has remained in Poland/the area that is now Poland predominantly.
We were also told from the sources at the shrine that it's known as The Black Madonna because the candle soot from hundreds of years of veneration has stuck to the lighter colors and darkened the piece. She is pointing to Jesus in the image as the source of life and he redirects it to her as well in a familial importance and examples of willingness to do God's work. The scratches on her face were imposed during transport and raiding and were left as part of the work.
The rest of the images here hold much less gravity and more levity as we also had day two of catching up on jet lag.
We arrived safely in Krakow today. Hit the streets for some great food, music, and meeting other Catholics from all over the world!
Please continue praying for us, this week at World Youth Day, and send a message with any personal intentions you would like prayers for! We'll be doing a lot of that over here!