Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Priest according to My Heart....Jesus on Bl. Fr. Michael Sopocko

Fr. Michael Sopocko was beatified on 28th September 2008 in Bialystok, Poland. 

The Cardinal of Krakow likewise recalled: "Blessed Fr. Sopocko proclaimed the mercy of God not only through direct and complete involvement in this task, which was initiated by Sr. Faustina. He himself was a man of infinite trust in the mercy of God. This was his deepest spiritual attitude. This was his 'personal song.' This was a special characteristic of his Christian and priestly identity."

The Beatification date of Sept. 28 had a symbolic significance for the Archdiocese of Bialystok because on this day the archdiocese celebrates annually "The Day of Prayer for the Holiness of Priests."

Around the altar of the beatification, there was a colorful banner quoting the words of Jesus to St. Faustina about Fr. Sopocko: "He is a priest according to my heart" (Diary, 1256).

Holy Father's Words on Sopocko

Following his Angelus message from Castel Gandolfo, in Italy, the Holy Father turned His thoughts to the faithful gathered in Bialystok, Poland, for the beatification of Father Michael Sopocko. There he said:

In a special way I extend my greetings to the Bialystok, Poland, participants of the beatification of the Servant of God, Fr. Michael Sopocko, the confessor and spiritual guide of St. Faustina Kowalska. At his suggestion, [Sister Faustina] described her mystical experiences and apparitions of merciful Jesus in her well known Diary. And also thanks to his efforts, the image with the words 'Jesus, I trust in you,' was painted and transmitted to the world. This Servant of God became known as a zealous priest, teacher and promoter of the Divine Mercy devotion. ...

I unite myself with joy with the Archdioceses of Bialystok and Vilnius and with all the faithful throughout the world to whom this message of merciful Jesus is dear. My beloved predecessor the Servant of God, John Paul II, most certainly rejoices in this beatification in Father's house. He is the one who entrusted the world to Divine Mercy. That is why I repeat his wish: May the God who is rich in mercy bless all of you.

Diary of St. Faustina...on her Spiritual Director, Bl. Fr. Michael Sopocko

August 30. Reverend Father Sopocko left this morning. When I was steeped in a prayer of thanksgiving for the great grace that I had received from God; namely, that of seeing Father, I became united in a special way with the Lord who said to me, he is a priest after My own Heart; his efforts are pleasing to Me. You see, My daughter, that My will must be done and that which I had promised you, I shall do. Through him I spread comfort to suffering and careworn souls. Through him it pleased Me to proclaim the worship of My mercy. And through this work of mercy more souls will come close to Me than otherwise would have, even if he had kept giving absolution day and night for the rest of his life, because by so doing, he would have labored only for as long as he lived; whereas, thanks to this work of mercy, he will be laboring till the end of the world.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Diary of St. Faustina...on Whatever you do for your neighbour, you do for Jesus..

March 21, 1937. Palm Sunday. During Mass, my soul was steeped in the bitterness and suffering of Jesus. Jesus gave me to understand how much He had suffered in that triumphal procession. "Hosanna" was reverberating in Jesus' heart as an echo of "Crucify". Jesus allowed me to feel this in a special way.

The doctor did not allow me to go to the chapel to attend the Passion Service, although I had a great desire for it; however, I prayed in my own room. Suddenly I heard the bell in the next room, and I went in and rendered a service to a seriously sick person. When I returned to my room, I suddenly saw the Lord Jesus, who said, "My daughter, you gave me greater pleasure by rendering Me that service than if you had prayed for a long time." I answered, "But it was not to You, Jesus, but to that patient that I rendered this service." And the Lord answered me, "Yes, My daughter, but whatever you do for your neighbor, you do for Me."

Bl. Pope John Paul II on the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"We come here to meet the Heart of Jesus pierced for us, from which water and blood gush. It is the redeeming love, which is at the origin of salvation, of our salvation, which is at the origin of the Church. Now still, today, the living Christ loves us and presents his heart to us as the source of our redemption...

We are called not only to meditate and contemplate on this mystery of Christ’s love; we are called to take part in it. It is the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, the center of our faith, the center of our worship of Christ’s merciful love manifested in his Sacred Heart, a mystery which is adored here night and day. In the Holy Eucharist--this is also the meaning of perpetual adoration--we enter the movement of love from which all interior progress and all apostolate efficacy springs."

(From Bl. Pope John Paul II’s address at the Basilica of Montmartre in 1980, where he spoke of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament Who has been perpetually adored there for more than one hundred years.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diary of St. Faustina...on the Holy Eucharist

When I had received Jesus in Holy Communion, my heart cried out with all its might, "Jesus, transform me into another host! I want to be a living host for You. You are a great and all-powerful Lord; You can grant me this favor." And the Lord answered me, You are a living host, pleasing to the Heavenly Father. But reflect: what is a host? A sacrifice. And so?

O my Jesus, I understand the meaning of "host," the meaning of sacrifice. I desire to be before Your Majesty a living host; that is, a living sacrifice that daily burns in Your honor. When my strength begins to fail, it is Holy Communion that will sustain me and give me strength (Diary, 1826).

Oh what awesome mysteries take place during Mass! One day we will know what God is doing for us in each Mass, and what sort of gift He is preparing in it for us. Only His divine love could permit that such a gift be provided for us (Diary, 914).

Bl. Pope John Paul II on the Holy Eucharist and the Gift of the Holy Spirit

The priest is quite aware that he cannot count on his own efforts to achieve the purposes of his ministry. Rather, he is called to serve as an instrument of the victorious action of Christ whose sacrifice, made present on the altars, obtains for humanity an abundance of divine gifts. However, he also knows that, in order worthily to pronounce the words of consecration in the name of Christ--"This is my Body.... This is the cup of my Blood"--he must be profoundly united to Christ and seek to reproduce Christ's countenance in himself. The more intensely he lives in Christ, the more authentically he can celebrate the Eucharist.

The Second Vatican Council recalled: "Priests act especially in the person of Christ as ministers of holy things, especially in the Sacrifice of the Mass" (PO 13) and that without a priest there can be no Eucharistic sacrifice. However, it emphasized that those who celebrate this sacrifice must fulfill their role in intimate spiritual union with Christ, with great humility, as his ministers in the service of the community. "They are asked to take example from that with which they deal, and inasmuch as they celebrate the mystery of the Lord's death they should keep their bodies free of wantonness and lusts" (PO 13). In offering the Eucharistic sacrifice, presbyters must offer themselves personally with Christ, accepting all the renunciation and sacrifice required by their priestly life--again and always, with Christ and like Christ, sacerdos et hostia.

If the priest "hears" this truth proposed to him and to all the faithful as the voice of the New Testament and Tradition, he will grasp the Council's earnest recommendation: "The daily celebration of Mass is strongly urged, since even if there cannot be present a number of the faithful, it is still an act of Christ and of the Church" (PO 13). The tendency to celebrate the Eucharist only when there was an assembly of the faithful emerged in those years. According to the Council, although everything possible should be done to gather the faithful for the celebration, it is also true that, even if the priest is alone, the Eucharistic offering which he performs in the name of Christ has the effectiveness that comes from Christ and always obtains new graces for the Church. Therefore I, too, recommend to priests and to all the Christian people that they ask the Lord for a stronger faith in this value of the Eucharist.

Above Paragraphs taken from:  The Intrinsic Link between the Eucharist and the Gift of the Holy Spirit -- John Paul II, General Audience - September 13, 1989

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

St. Teresa of Avila...Preparation to Receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist

In this quotation St. Teresa of Avila is counseling her nuns on the proper disposition of a soul to recollect itself before it is to receive the Eucharist…

“I have written at length about this, although, when writing of the Prayer of Recollection, I spoke of the great importance of our entering into solitude with God. When you hear Mass without communicating, daughters, you may communicate spiritually, which is extremely profitable, and afterwards you may practise inward recollection in exactly the same way, for this impresses upon us a deep love of the Lord. If we prepare to receive Him, He never fails to give, and He gives in many ways that we cannot understand.

It is as if we were to approach a fire: it might be a very large one, but, if we remained a long way from it and covered our hands, we should get little warmth from it, although we should be warmer than if we were in a place where there was no fire at all. But when we try to approach the Lord there is this difference: if the soul is properly disposed, and comes with the intention of driving out the cold, and stays for some time where it is, it will retain its warmth for several hours, and if any little spark flies out, it will set it on fire.”

Diary of St. Faustina ....on Lukewarm souls..

"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy..

Corporal Works of Mercy are those that tend to bodily needs. In (Matthew 25:31-46, in the The Judgment of Nations six specific Works of Mercy are enumerated, although not this precise list — as the reason for the salvation of the saved, and the omission of them as the reason for damnation. The last work of mercy, burying the dead, comes from the Book of Tobit.

To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty.
To shelter the homeless.
To clothe the naked.
To visit and ransom the captive, (prisoners).
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
Not everyone is considered capable or obligated to perform the first three spiritual works of mercy if they do not have proper tact, knowledge or training to do so. The last four are considered to be the obligation of all people without condition.

Instruct the uninformed
Counsel the doubtful;
Admonish sinners;
Bear wrongs patiently;
Forgive offenses willingly;
Comfort the afflicted;
Pray for the living, sick and the dead.

Diary of St. Faustina...on the Power of the Image and The Importance of Works of Mercy

I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary 48)

I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature" :Jesus, I trust in You." (Diary 327)

The two rays denote Blood and Water. the pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him. (Diary 299)

Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush, lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace. (Diary 313)

By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works. (Diary 742)

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Smile From Bl. Pope John Paul II

Prayer was vital to Bl. Pope John Paul II because he saw that closeness to Christ as the source of any good he could accomplish.

One night, the nuns that cared for him could not find the Pope. After searching the house, they rushed panicking into the chapel, where they found him on his knees in prayer.

Noticing their worry, the Pope asked, “Sisters, is anything the matter?”

“We were worried for Your Holiness,” they replied. The soon-to-be-blessed John Paul II smiled, “I too, was worried for my holiness.” He answered.

Diary of St. Faustina....on The Importance of Prayer in all circumstances

"By prayer a soul arms itself for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer" (Diary 146).

"...a soul should be faithful to prayer despite torments, dryness and temptations; because oftentimes the realization of God’s great plans depends mainly on such prayer. If we do not persevere in such prayer, we frustrate what the Lord wanted to do through us or within us. Let every soul remember these words: And being in anguish, He prayed longer" (Diary 872).

"Patience, prayer and silence - these are what give strength to the soul. There are moments when one should be silent, and when it would be inappropriate to talk with creatures; these are the moments when one is dissatisfied with oneself (...). At such times, I live solely by faith..." (Diary 944).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Silence and Intimate Prayer ....Bl.Pope John Paul II

For a stalk to grow or a flower to open there must be time that cannot be forced; nine months must go by for the birth of a human child; to write a book or compose music often years must be dedicated to patient research ...To find the mystery there must be patience, interior purification, silence, waiting....

The most generous choices, especially the persevering, are the fruit of profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence.

It is pleasant to spend time with Him, to lie close to His breast like the Beloved Disciple and to feel the infinite love present in His can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament?

-  Bl. Pope John Paul II

Diary of St. Faustina...on the value of Silence......

Entry 1008: March 1, 1937. The Lord gave me to know how displeased He is with a talkative soul. I find no rest in such a soul. The constant din tires Me, and in the midst of it the soul cannot discern My voice.

Entry 552: The Holy Spirit does not speak to a soul that is distracted and garrulous. He speaks by His quiet inspirations to a soul that is recollected, to a soul that knows how to keep silence.

Entry 118: In order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one's soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence but an interior silence; that is to say, recollected in God.

Entry 477: Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we should speak. A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence. The silent soul is capable of attaining close union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God works in a silent soul without hindrance.