He met God in a nursing home at the age of 16 where he had been training as a volunteer.’ I held dying people’s hands’, he says. At that time he was a pupil at the State School of Music in Lublin. He used to spend his afternoons playing the organ and piano, as he planned to study at one of the two leading musical schools: University of Music in Katowice and Academy of Music in Gdansk.
Mateusz Józwik comes from Wojcieszków, Poland. He started playing the piano aged of 8 and he recalls that time with a smile; once he signed the piano keys with a red felt-tip pen to remember them better. When he passed his matriculation exams, he was the first pupil in his school for seven years who could play two diplomas using two main instruments. Also, he was the first in thirty years who would pass both exams at grade A.
In July 2008 he sent me a book of ‘Fryderyk Chopin selected easy pieces’ and I didn’t understand the purpose of sending me them until I read his letter. He was about to enter the Metropolitan Higher Seminary in Warsaw.
Today, he says the question about his calling is not an easy one, and explains, ‘It’s a matter for me, and God’. I wonder how his life looks now, and he seems to be surprised by my questions. However, there is one principle difference which separates his previous life from the present one; ‘It’s discovering the way to God. I constantly check it out and ask myself if it’s really what God had prepared for me’.
As he says, now ‘there is not only ‘ora et labora’, but behind these words is hidden a proper essence of his vocation, ‘The most important thing is how you pray and how it shows in your contact with people. No one cares about your name or age; the most important thing is your earmark – a cassock. Most people cannot see the difference between a priest and a cleric and sometimes you have to refuse a request for confession’.
The music is still present in his life; now he plays mainly sacred or religious music. He is fascinated by baroque music and the music of the 20th century. ‘I love to listen to Goldberg Variations by Bach and piano concerts by Henryk Górecki. Contemporary music with its apparent difficulty and eccentricity, shows that neither humanity or the world are not such as boorish or as uncomplicated as they seem to be’.
He is happy. ‘I tasted the beauty of the world of praying, silence and spiritual concentration and I felt that I could help other people because of this intimacy; through God to human. But in real life, either you cooperate with God or not, and there is no way out’. What’s most important is that he doesn’t regret his decision. ‘You cannot look at a vocation like a career. A vocation means being on duty. And career? Is it a self-fulfilment or fulfilment of our egoism?’