Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we commemorate the memorial and feast of a great Saint, that is Saint Stanislas or Stanislaus of Poland, who proudly defied the King of Poland and chastised him for his improper behaviour in his governance. He earned martyrdom for his bravery and uprightness, and despite offers from the King for him to stand down his accusation and opposition, St. Stanislas remained firm in his morale standing and ideals, fearing neither death nor persecution.
Indeed, in Christ, the Son of God, had been given all the authorities in heaven and on earth, by God the Father, who entrusted to Him the authority as King of all the universe. In this, then, as we have observed in many situations, we see the conflict, that is ever present in obedience and authority, for in God we have our great and only true King, but in this world too, we see an earthly ruler either appointed to rule over us, or elected as a leader, and therefore in them too, lay a kind of authority vested in them and their office.
Who to obey then? The earthly ruler or the heavenly ruler? Our worldly king or the king of heaven, who is also our Saviour and our God? It is indeed difficult, especially because it is very often that the world does not conform to that of heaven, and the ideals of the teachings of God were often abandoned for the earthly pursuits of temporal fame, glory, and wealth, which many kings coveted and desired to possess.
King Boleslaw the Bold, who had slain Saint Stanislas, did exactly that, gathering authority and power to himself, and although he ruled rather well, but he often abused his powers at the expense of his subjects entrusted to him. That was why Saint Stanislas, one of the founders and pillars of the Church in Poland, which then had just recently converted to Christianity, stood up against the excesses of his king and his liege, disobeying the earthly ruler, so that he would not disobey the teachings of the Lord.
It is not that we should disobey our rulers in this world, appointed or elected to lead over us. But we must not take for granted whatever decisions and policies they had decided to select and impose over us all, but we must, in consultation with these rulers, ensure that they keep the teachings of God and maintain the justice that is of the Lord, in their rule, that they would not abuse the power and authority entrusted to them.
Christ, our King, was a humble and unassuming man, and indeed, exactly the opposite of the characteristics that a king would have according to the common people. He did not flaunt His authority and His power, but yet, when He exercised His authority in His teachings, it is undeniable that everyone could feel the great presence of His authority. Yet, many still refused to listen to Christ and follow His teachings, preferring the other ‘king’, that is the worldly king, the evil one, who deceived this world, and controlled the powers of this world, and used them against the works of Christ.
When we refused Christ and rejected His teachings and commandments, essentially we profess that our king is not the True King, who is Christ, but rather, the worldly king, that is the devil. When our rulers and those in the position of authority abused their power or neglected their duties, they too, profess that they follow the evil one, as kings modeled after this evil, instead of Christ, whom we should emulate indeed.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take this time to reflect, whether we had reflected Christ in our life through our actions, that especially when we are given responsibilities, power, or authority, whether we had exercised them with prudence and justice, as our king, Jesus Christ would, or whether we had abused the authority entrusted to all of us, preferring to follow the evil one instead, and causing pain to others through our actions.
Let us strive then, to be more like St. Stanislas, that we will not be afraid to stand up against injustice and abuse of power by the authorities, and that we will be brave to defend our faith in God as well. May God bless us with strength and courage, to continue the good works which had began in the apostles and continued down to us today. Saint Stanislas, pray for all of us, that we may truly be inspired by your life and your actions. Amen.