Saturday, July 30, 2011

St. Alphonsus Liguori on Meditating on the Passion of Jesus

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori,

"He who desires", says St. Bonaventure, "to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus." And he adds that "there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ."

St. Augustine also said that a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori,
Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, Introduction,

I., How Deserving Jesus Christ is of our Love, on Account of the Love He has Shown Us in His Passion.

He (St. Francis of Assisi ) was one day found by a gentleman shedding tears, and crying out with a loud voice: being asked the cause "I weep," he answered, "over the sorrows and disgraces of my Lord: and what causes me the greatest sorrow is, that men, for whom he suffered so much, live in forgetfulness of him." And on saying this he wept the more, so that this gentleman began also himself to weep.

Diary of St. Faustina...on meditating on the Passion of Jesus

 267   Jesus told me that I please Him best by meditating on His sorrowful Passion, and by such meditation much light falls upon my soul. He who wants to learn true humility should reflect upon the Passion of Jesus. When I meditate upon the Passion of Jesus, I get a clear understanding of many things I could not comprehend before. I want to resemble You, O Jesus,-You crucified, tortured and humiliated. Jesus, imprint upon my heart and soul Your own humility. I love You, Jesus, to the point of madness, You who were crushed with suffering as described by the prophet [cf. Isaiah 53:2-9], as if he could not see the human form in You because of Your great suffering. It is in this condition, Jesus, that I love You to the point of madness. O eternal and infinite God, what has love done to You?...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jesus speaks of His Mercy to Sr. Josefa Menendez

"The world does not know the mercy of My Heart. I intend to enlighten them through you.… I want you to be the apostle of My love and mercy. "

“I would like these [those living with sin] to understand that it is not the fact of being in sin that ought to keep them from Me. They must never think that there is no remedy for them, nor that they have forfeited for ever the love that once was theirs.... No, poor souls, the God who has shed all His Blood for you has no such feelings for you!”

“Come all of you to Me and fear not, for I Love you all... I will wash you in My Blood and you shall be made whiter than snow. All of your offences will be submerged in the waters in which I myself shall wash you, nor shall anything whatsoever be able to tear from My Heart its Love for you."

"Oh, all you who are steeped in sin, and who for a time more or less long have lived as wanderers and fugitives because of your crimes ... if the offences of which you have been guilty have hardened and blinded your hearts . . . if to grant satisfaction to one or other of your passions you have sunk into evil ways ... Ah! when the motives or accomplices of your sin have forsaken you, and you realize the state of your soul, oh then, do not yield to despair! For as long as a breath of life remains a man may have recourse to mercy and ask for pardon.

Diary of St. Faustina...Jesus reads her notebook (Diary)

459 Throughout that entire meditation I saw the Lord Jesus on the altar, in a white garment, His hand holding the notebook in which I write these things. Throughout the entire meditation Jesus kept turning the pages of the notebook and remained silent; however, my heart could not bear the fire that was enkindled in my soul.

Despite the great effort of my will to take control of myself and not let others see what was going on in my soul, toward the end of the meditation I felt that I was completely beyond my own control. Then Jesus said to me, You have not written everything in the notebook about My goodness towards humankind; I desire that you omit nothing; I desire that your heart be firmly grounded in total peace.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

St. Teresa of Avila ...on the awful reality of Hell

24. At another time something else happened to me that frightened me very much. I was at a place where a certain person died who for many years had lived a wicked life, from what I knew. But he had been sick for two years, and in some things it seems he had made amends. He died without confession, but nevertheless it didn't seem to me he would be condemned. While the body was being wrapped in its shroud, I saw many devils take that body; and it seemed they were playing with it and punishing it. This terrified me, for with large hooks they were dragging it from one devil to the other. Since I saw it buried with the honor and ceremonies accorded to all, I reflected on the goodness of God, how He did not want that soul to be defamed, but wanted the fact that it was His enemy to be concealed.

25. I was half stupefied from what I had seen. During the whole ceremony I didn't see another devil. Afterward when they put the body in the grave, there was such a multitude of them inside ready to take it that I was frantic at the sight of it, and there was need for no small amount of courage to conceal this. I reflected on what they would do to the soul when they had such dominion over the unfortunate body. May it please the Lord that what I have seen -a thing so frightful!-will be seen by all those who are in such an evil state; I think it would prove a powerful help toward their living a good life. All of this gives me greater knowledge of what I owe God and of what He freed me from. I was very frightened until I spoke about it to my confessor, wondering if it was an illusion caused by the devil to defame that soul. Although it wasn't considered to be the soul of someone with a very deep Christian spirit. Truly since the vision was not an illusion, it frightens me every time I think of it."

Taken from:  Volume 1 of The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Chapter 38, parts 24 & 25:

Diary of St. Faustina...Things that displeased Jesus

43 On one occasion I saw two sisters who were about to enter hell. A terrible agony tore my soul; I prayed to God for them, and Jesus said to me, Go to Mother Superior and tell her that those two sisters are in danger of committing a mortal sin. The next day I told this to the Superior. One of them had already repented with great fervor and the other was going through a great struggle.

44 One day Jesus said to me, I am going to leave this house... because there are things here which displease Me. And the Host came out of the tabernacle and came lo rest in my hands and I, with joy, placed it back in the tabernacle. This was repeated a second time, and I did the same thing. Despite this, it happened a third time, but the Host was transformed into the living Lord Jesus, who said to me, I will stay here no longer! At this, a powerful love for Jesus rose up in my soul. I answered, "And I, I will not let You leave this house, Jesus!" And again Jesus disappeared while the Host remained in my hands. Once again I put it back in the chalice and closed it up in the tabernacle. And Jesus stayed with us. I undertook to make three days of adoration by way of reparation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bl. Fr. Michael Sopocko: His own words on meeting St. Faustina and the Work involved with the Image of Divine Mercy

I met s. Faustina in the summer (June or July 1933) as a penitent in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy in Vilnus, Lithuania (25 Senatorska St.), in which I was, then, an ordinary confessor. She attracted my attention with an unusual subtlety of her soul and a close union with God; there was mostly no matter for absolution and she never offended God with a deadly sin. Already at the beginning she stated that she had known me for a long time from a vision, that I was to be her spiritual leader and I had to carry out some God's plans that were to be presented to me through her. I ignored her story and I put her to some test which made s. Faustina start looking for another confessor, with the permission of the Mother Superior. After some time she returned to me and she said that she was prepared to bear everything and she would never leave me again. I cannot reiterate here all the details of our conversation, which is partly included in her diary, written by her on my recommendation, since later I forbade her to discuss her confession experiences.

On getting to know s. Faustina better I concluded that the Gifts of Holy Spirit worked in her in a concealed state, but quite often they appeared more openly, partly overwhelming her soul in a lively manner, arousing surges of love, solemn heroic acts of sacrifice and self-denial. Particularly frequently, I could see the work of the Gifts of Understanding, Knowledge and Wisdom thanks to which s. Faustina clearly saw the nothingness of worldly things, and the importance of suffering and humiliations. In a simple way she got to know the attributes of God, and most of all His Infinite Mercy.

On another occasion, she, in turn, kept her gaze fixed at the beatific, joyful light for some time, out of which a figure of Christ emerged in a walking position, blessing the world with His right hand, and with His left one opening His robe in the vicinity of His heart, two rays gushed out of the opened robe - a red and a white one. S. Faustina had already had such and other sensual and mental visions for several years and she heard supernatural words, captured by the sense of hearing, imagination and the mind.

Being cautious of s. Faustina's illusion, hallucination and delusion, I turned to the Mother Superior, Irene, to inform me who s. Faustina was, what opinion she enjoyed among her Sisters and Superiors in the Congregation. I also requested that her mental and physical health be examined. Having received an opinion favorable for her in every respect, still for some time I took an expectant position. I partly did not believe, I was thinking, praying and examining,
I also asked some enlightened priests for advice on what to do, without revealing what and whom it concerned.

All it concerned carrying out alleged definite demands of Our Lord Jesus to paint the picture, which s. Faustina used to see and to establish the feast of the Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter. Finally, motivated by curiosity of what the picture would look like rather than the belief in the authenticity of s. Faustina's visions, I decided to set about painting the picture. I contacted an artist painter, Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, who lived in the same house as I did and who undertook the task to paint a picture for a certain sum of money. I contacted other Superior as well, who allowed s. Faustina to go to the painter twice a week in order to show what the picture should look like.

The work took several months and finally in June/July 1934 the picture was completed.  S. Faustina complained that the picture was not as beautiful as she saw it, but the Lord Jesus comforted her and said it was enough the way it was and He added: "I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep on coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You" (see Image).

For the time being Sr. Faustina was unable to explain what the rays in the picture meant.
After a few days she said that the Lord Jesus had explained it to her in a prayer: "… rays
in the image denote blood and water. The pale ray stands for the water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the blood that 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. Happy be the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him…, 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…, I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy…, that whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with to My mercy…, Before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy, so that no one can seek excuses on the Judgment Day, the Day which is not far away".

Diary of St. Faustina...on the Power of the Devotion to Divine Mercy

675     + August 7, 1936. When I received the article] [136] about Divine Mercy with the image [on the cover], God's presence filled me in an extraordinary way. When I steeped myself in a prayer of thanksgiving, I suddenly saw the Lord Jesus in a great brightness, just as He is painted, and at His feet I saw Father Andrasz and Father Sopocko. Both were holding pens in their hands, and flashes of light and fire, like lightning, were coming from the tips of their pens and striking a great crowd of people who were hurrying I know not where. Whoever was touched by the ray of light immediately turned his back on the crowd and held out his hands to Jesus. Some returned with great joy, others with great pain and compunction. Jesus was looking at both priests with great kindness. After a while, I was left alone with Jesus, and I said, "Jesus, take me now, for Your will has already been accomplished." And Jesus answered, My will has not yet been completely accomplished in you; you will still suffer much, but I am with you; do not fear.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Sacrament of Baptism - By St. Thomas Aquinas

Having considered the Sacraments in general, it is now necessary to say something about each one in particular. First, we consider Baptism, of which it must be known that the matter of this Sacrament is natural water, and it makes no difference whether it is cold or warm. In artificial waters, however, such as rose water, one cannot baptize. The form of Baptism is: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." The minister of Baptism ordinarily is the priest, whose office it is to baptize. In case of necessity, however, not only a deacon but also any lay person, even a pagan or a heretic, can baptize as long as he observes the form specified by the Church, and intends to act according to the intention of the Church. If a person is baptized by these not in a case of necessity, he received the Sacrament and must not again be baptized; but the grace of the Sacrament is not received, because such persons are not truly deputed to baptize outside of cases of necessity, and, hence, they act contrary to the law of the Church regulating reception of the Sacraments.[14]


The effect of Baptism is to remit both original and actual sin as well as all guilt and punishment which they incur. No kind of punishment must be enjoined for past sins upon those just newly baptized. Hence, those who die immediately after Baptism are admitted to the glory of God without delay. The effect, therefore, of Baptism is the opening of the gates of paradise.


There have been certain errors concerning this Sacrament. The first was that of the Solentiani, who received a baptism not of water but of the spirit. Against them the Lord says: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."[15] The second error was that of the Donatists, who re-baptized those who had been baptized by the Catholics. Against them it is written: "One faith, one baptism."[16] They also err in holding that a man in the state of sin cannot baptize. Against them it is said: "He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, He it is that baptizeth."[17] It is thus seen that a minister who is himself evil does not invalidate either this or any of the other Sacraments, because it is Christ who, by the merits of His passion, gives to each Sacrament its efficacy; and He is good. The fourth error is that of the Pelagians who say that children must be baptized because by their regeneration they, as adopted children of God, are admitted into the kingdom, but by this regeneration they are not freed from original sin.


14. The priest is the ordinary minister of Baptism. In case of necessity, however, anyone who observes the proper form and intention can baptize validly but not licitly; and an adult who permits himself to be baptized without necessity by a layman would be acting illicitly, but the baptism is valid. For such conduct places an "obex" (obstacle or hindrance) to the reception of grace. The grace of the Sacrament is revived ("reviviscitur") with at least contrition, and probably attrition, or simply by an act of perfect contrition.

Diary of St. Faustina.....on the importance of asking Jesus for graces through the Image and Baptism

Diary 916 -  This day is so special for me; even though I encountered so many sufferings, my soul is overflowing with great joy. In a private room next to mine, there was a Jewish woman who was seriously ill. I went to see her three days ago and was deeply pained at the thought that she would soon die without having her soul cleansed by the grace of Baptism. I had an understanding with her nurse, a [religious] Sister, that when her last moment would be approaching, she would baptize her. There was this difficulty however, that there were always some Jewish people with her. However, I felt inspired to pray before the image which Jesus had instructed me to have painted. I have a leaflet with the Image of the Divine Mercy on the cover. And I said to the Lord, "Jesus, You yourself told me that You would grant many graces through this image. I ask You, then, for the grace of Holy Baptism for this Jewish lady. It makes no difference who will baptize her, as long as she is baptized.

After these words, I felt strangely at peace, and I was quite sure that, despite the difficulties, the waters of Holy Baptism would be poured upon her soul. That night, when she was very low, I got out of bed three times to see her, watching for the right moment to give her this grace. The next morning, she seemed to feel a little better. In the afternoon her last moment began to approach. The Sister who was her nurse said that Baptism would be difficult because they were with her. The moment came when the sick woman began to lose consciousness, and as a result, in order to save her, they began to run about; some [went] to fetch the doctor, while others went off in other directions to find help.

And so the patient was left alone, and Sister baptized her, and before they had all rushed back, her soul was beautiful, adorned with God's grace. Her final agony began immediately, but it did not last long. It was as if she fell asleep. All of a sudden, I saw her soul ascending to heaven in wondrous beauty. Oh, how beautiful is a soul with sanctifying grace! Joy flooded my heart that before this image I had received so great a grace for this soul. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Early Days of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus

Father Sopocko came back to Vilnius on August 19, 1944. In November, Faustina Osinska together with her friends, asked him to accept their vows. In connection with this on November 9, 1944,
he started to give to the first six a retreat. This retreat was to be an immediate preparation
for the ceremony of the vows, which were planned for November 16.
"After the retreat, at the appointed day, on early and dark morning, for the curfew was still obligatory, from different parts of the city, six girls came from the Zarzecze suburb, to the chapel of Carmelite Sisters’. There in a "catacomb" atmosphere after Holy Mass at five o’clock they took their simple private vows of loyal service to the Most Merciful Savior and His Merciful Mother. It is impossible to describe with words the joyful atmosphere that prevailed among the "newly vowed" of Christ. A simple meal was prepared at the convent gate by hospitable Sister Carmelites. How happy they were in spite of different kinds of lacking, they were so rich in spite of poverty showing itself from everywhere, they were brave and full of trust in spite of the dangers lying in wait from everywhere" (Michael Sopocko, memoirs).
After the war was finished in 1945, Lithuania, was joined to USSR. Mass migration of the population of Vilnius and its region to Poland took place. Archibichop Jalbrzykowski was forced to leave Vilnius, with all the Curia and the Seminary. During this time also three sisters went to Poland. Because of their departure, on November 16, 1945 the vows were renewed only by three sisters, which remained. Faustina and Benigna longed for religious habits, for the convent, for a meager place with simplicity where in common life they would glorify the Merciful God. Vilnius at those times did not give any hope for it. To realize their desire, they decided to go to Poland.
Before they left, on August 24, 1946, they paid their last visit to Fr. Michael Sopocko.
"Our travel leaving Vilnius was quiet. One passage of our life is finished, we are going to start a new life to fulfill the will of the One who has chosen us..."
(Diary of sr. Benigna).
On November 16, 1946, "all six" once more gathered together this time in Poznan to renew their vows. Fr. Siwek, a Jesuit, said Holy Mass. The Sisters wanted to realize the idea of Divine Mercy
in different ways. Few of them wanted to found a religious congregation, others a lay institute and still others wanted to be in the congregation but they felt responsible for their families. In this way the "first six" were divided into three shades, of which Sr. Faustina spoke.

Diary of St. Faustina...on the New Congregation

1154  [June] 27.  Today, I saw the convent of the new Congregation. It was a large and spacious building. I went from room to room, observing everything. I saw that God's Providence had provided for all that was necessary. The persons living in this convent were still wearing lay clothes, but a thoroughly religious spirit reigned there, and I was organizing everything just as the Lord wanted. All of a sudden, I heard a rebuke from one of our sisters, "Sister, how can you carry out such works?" I answered that it was not I, but the Lord working through me, and that I had the authorization for everything. During Mass, I received light and profound understanding concerning this whole work, and not a shadow of a doubt remained in my soul. 

1155  The Lord gave me knowledge of His will under three aspects, so to speak, but it all comes down to one. [198]

The first is that souls separated from the world will burn as an offering before God's throne and beg for mercy for the whole world... and by their entreaties they will obtain blessings for priests, and through their prayers prepare the world for the final coming of Jesus. 

1156  The second is prayer joined to the act of mercy. In particular, they will defend the souls of children against the spirit of evil. Prayer and merciful deeds are all that will be required of these souls, and even the poorest persons can be admitted to their number. And in this egoistic world they will try to rouse up love, the mercy of Jesus. 

1157  The third is prayer and deeds of mercy, without any obligation of taking vows. But by doing this, these persons will have a share in all the merits and privileges of the whole [congregation]. Everyone in the world can belong to this group. 

1158  A member of this group ought to perform at least one act of mercy a day; at least one, but there can be many more, for such deeds can easily be carried out by anyone, even the very poorest. For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray-that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy. And when the Last Day comes, we shall be judged from this, and on this basis we shall receive the eternal verdict. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI ....Never Despair of Gods Mercy

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of just part of the address Benedict XVI gave at Wednesday's general audience, dedicated to present the figures of Judas Iscariot and Matthias. 

We must try, day after day, to be in full communion with him. Let us recall that even Peter wanted to oppose him and what awaited him in Jerusalem, but he received a very strong rebuke: "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men" (Mark 8:32-33). 

After his fall, Peter repented and found forgiveness and grace. Judas also repented, but his repentance degenerated into despair and in this way it became self-destruction. It is an invitation for us to always remember what St. Benedict says at the end of Chapter 5 -- fundamental -- of his Rule: "Never despair of God's mercy." In fact, "God is greater than our hearts," as St. John says (1 John 3:20). 

Let us remember two things. The first: Jesus respects our freedom. The second: Jesus waits for us to have the disposition to repent and to be converted; he is rich in mercy and forgiveness. In fact, when we think of the negative role Judas played, we must frame it in the higher way with which God disposed the events. 

His betrayal led to the death of Jesus who transformed this tremendous torment into a space of salvific love and in self-giving to the Father (cf. Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2.25). The verb "betray" is the Greek version which means "to give up." At times its subject is also God himself in person: Out of love, he "gave up" Jesus for us all (cf. Romans 8:32). In his mysterious plan of salvation, God assumes Judas' unjustifiable gesture as the motive for the total giving up of the Son for the redemption of the world. 

On concluding, we wish to recall also he who, after Easter, was chosen to replace the traitor. In the Church of Jerusalem, two were put forward to the community and then lots were cast for their names: "Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias" (Acts 1:23). 

Precisely the latter was chosen, and in this way "he was enrolled with the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:26). We do not know anything more about him, with the exception that he was a witness of Jesus' public life (cf. Acts 1: 21-22), being faithful to him to the end. To the greatness of his fidelity was added later the divine call to take Judas' place, as though compensating his betrayal. 

We draw a final lesson from here: Although there is no lack of unworthy and traitorous Christians in the Church, it is up to us to counterbalance the evil they do with our limpid testimony of Jesus Christ our lord and savior. 

The Full address can be obtained at

Diary of St. Faustina...on how satan hates the Divine Mercy

1405   -  November 30, 1937. When I was going upstairs this evening, a strange dislike for everything having to do with God suddenly came over me. At that, I heard Satan who said to me, "Think no more about this work. God is not as merciful as you say He is. Do not pray for sinners, because they will be damned all the same, and by this work of mercy you expose your own self to damnation. Talk no more about this mercy of God with your confessor and especially not with Father Sopocko and Father Andrasz.” 

At this point, the voice took the appearance of my Guardian Angel, and at that moment I replied, "I know who you are: the father of lies [cf. Jn. 8:44]." I made the sign of the cross, and the angel vanished with great racket and fury.