Posted in DIVINE MERCY, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 15 February – Saint Claude de la Colombiere and Blessed Michael Sopoćko share a few things in common

Thought for the Day – 15 February – the Memorial of St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) Apostle of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

Saint Claude de la Colombiere

and Blessed Michael Sopoćko

share a few things in commonbl sopocka and st claude 15 feb 2019.jpg

We celebrate the feast day of Blessed Michael Sopoko today, 15 February, which makes for a perfect opportunity to discuss one of the more curious details in the life of St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938), known today as the Lord’s “secretary” of Divine Mercy.

So what’s so curious?

Amazing parallels can be drawn between St Faustina’s confessor, Blessed Sopoćko and the confessor of another saint — and “secretary” — St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart in the 1670s.

In other words, the similarities between the holy priests Blessed Michael Sopoćko (1888-1975) and St Claude de la Colombiere, SJ (1641-1682), both of whom died today and, therefore, we celebrate their entry into life today.

Blessed Sopoćko , ordained to the priesthood over 100 years ago, served as confessor and spiritual director to St Faustina Kowalska, who received revelations of the Divine Mercy in the 1930s.   Saint Claude served as confessor and spiritual director of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart in the 1670s.

So here is where the parallels begin. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, like St Faustina, had doubts at first about her revelations.   For both young women, it was their confessors who played a large role in alleviating their doubts and encouraging them to embrace the special role the Lord seemed to be placing upon them.

But the parallels get even better.   Since St Margaret Mary Alacoque led a cloistered life — quiet and humble — it was her confessor who carried the burden of spreading the Sacred Heart message and devotion to the outside world.   This was the same situation with Fr Sopocko, who led the efforts to introduce the public to Faustina’s powerful private revelations and who arranged for the Lord’s requests of Faustina to be accomplished.   That includes hiring a painter to paint the image of the Merciful Saviour, now among Christianity’s most recognised images.

Here’s another interesting fact:

Saint Claude Colombiere died today, 15 February, the same day Blessed Sopoćko died. And 15 February, also happens to be St Faustina’s name day — the day of her patron saint, St Faustus.

Of course, when considering how the devotions to Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart so strongly compliment each other, these details are far more than “curious.”   Certainly, they are Divine Providence at work, right?st claude and bl michal 15 feb 2019.jpg

Dr Robert Stackpole, STD, director of the St John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, a lay apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, notes, “Much like the traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart, our Lord gave to St. Faustina new forms in which His Merciful Heart was to be honoured and new vessels for a fresh outpouring of His grace. Namely, the Image of Divine Mercy; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and, of course, a new feast for the universal Church — the Feast of Divine Mercy, intended for the Sunday after Easter.”

None of these parallels have escaped the attention of Fr Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, a world-renown expert on the life of St Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy.

He notes that it took 300 years for Fr Claude Colombiere to be canonised.
“And here, Fr Sopoćko died in 1975 and he’s already beatified [in 2008],” Fr Seraphim says.

So what does his rapid rise to the honours of the altar, mean for us?

“That God is in a hurry to get His message out,” says Fr Seraphim.BlSopockoStFaustina

Adapted from the Library Archive of The Divine Mercy – (Felix Carroll Feb 13, 2014)

Read Dr Stackpole’s series that explores the relationship between The Sacred Heart and The Divine Mercy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

St Claude de la Colombiere, Pray for Us!st-claude-pray-for-us-15-feb-2017.jpg

Blessed Michal Sopoćko, Pray for Us!bl michal sopocka pray for us no 2 15 feb 2019.jpg

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Posted in DIVINE MERCY, FRUITS of the SPIRIT, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The HOLY SPIRIT

Quote/s of the Day – 15 February – St Claude & Blessed Michal

Quote/s of the Day – 15 February – the Memorial of St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) Apostle of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

“Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others.
Other people will glorify You, by making visible the power of Your grace,
by their fidelity and constancy to You.
For my part I will glorify You,
by making known how good You are to sinners,
that Your mercy is boundless
and that no sinner, no matter how great his offences,
should have reason to despair of pardon.
If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer,
let me not offend You even more,
by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon me.”for-my-part-i-will-glorify-you-st-claude-de-la-colombiere-15-feb-2018.jpg

“God is more honoured by a single Mass
than He could be by all the actions of angels
and men together, however fervent and heroic they might be.
Yet, how FEW hear Mass with the intention of giving God
this sublime honour!
How FEW think with joy on the glory a Mass gives to God.
How FEW rejoice to possess the means of honouring Him
as He deserves! . . .
If we only knew the treasure we hold in our hands!”god-is-more-honoured-by-a-single-mass-st-claude-15-feb-2017

“When the Holy Spirit is in a soul,
He communicates Himself
in one way or another.
We can say,
that He makes virtue contagious
and turns a simple faithful
into an apostle!”

St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682)when the holy spirit is in a soul - st claude de la colombiere - 15 feb 2019

“Prayer is necessary to receive the help of God,
as grain is needed to harvest … a humble and trustful prayer,
for what is necessary for salvation,
is never lost.
It is heard at least by the fact,
that it begs for the grace,
to abide in prayer.”prayer is necessary - bl michal sopocka 15 feb 2019

“The decisive factor in obtaining God’s Mercy is trust.
Trust is the expectation of someone’s help.
It does not constitute a separate virtue
but is an essential condition of the virtue of hope
and an integral part of the virtues of fortitude and generosity.
Because trust springs from faith,
it strengthens hope and love
and is, moreover, linked up, in one way or another,
with the moral virtues.
It may, therefore, be called the basis on which,
the theological virtues unite with the moral.
The moral virtues, originally natural,
become supernatural,
if we practice them with trust in God’s help.”

Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975)the moral virtues - bl michal sopocka 15 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, Our MORNING Offering, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on MERCY, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 15 February – Help Me, O Lord that I may be Merciful

Our Morning Offering – 15 February – The Memorial of Blessed Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

Help Me, O Lord that I may be Merciful
St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

“Help me, O Lord, …
that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I will never be suspicious
or judge by appearances
but always look for what is beautiful
in my neighbours’ souls
and be of help to them…
That my ears may be merciful,
so that I will be attentive to my neighbours’ needs
and not indifferent to their pains and complaints.…
That my tongue may be merciful,
so that I will never speak badly of others
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.…
That my hands may be merciful and full of good deeds.…
That my feet may be merciful,
so that I will hasten to help my neighbour,
despite my own fatigue and weariness.…
That my heart may be merciful,
so that I myself will share
in all the sufferings of my neighbour.”

(Extract from Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska, 163)
This prayer was used by Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy 2015 to be universally prayed by the Church.help me o lord that I may be merciful st faustina - 15 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 15 February – Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Priest, Apostle of Divine Mercy

Saint of the Day – 15 February – Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Priest, Apostle of Divine Mercy, Professor of Pastoral Theology at Vilnius University, Founder of Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus, Chaplain during WWII.   He is best known as the Spiritual Director of Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938).   Patronage – Białystok.sopocko.jpg

Michał Sopoćko was born on 1 November 1888 in Nowosady (Juszewszczyzna), then under Imperial Russia.   The Czarist authority persecuted the Catholic Church as well as both the Polish and Lithuanian people within in its territories.   In the Sopoćko family, of noble lineage, the Polish and Catholic traditions were conserved and developed.   The young Michal matured in this religious and patriotic atmosphere.   Motivated by a desire for unconditional service to God, the Church and humanity, he entered the Major Seminary in Vilnius.   On 15 June 1914, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Franciszek Karewicz.Sopoćko.jpg

For four years (1914-1918) he worked as a parochial vicar in Taboryszki, where he opened two mission churches at Miedniki and at Onżadòw, as well as various schools.

As informed by someone that the German authorities may arrest him, he left the parish and went to Warsaw.   There he became a military chaplain for the Polish army.   While dedicated to his ministry as chaplain, he enrolled as a student in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Warsaw and from which he obtained a doctoral degree.   At the same time, he graduated from the National Pedagogical Institute.   In 1924, he became a co-ordinator of the regional military chaplaincies, based in Vilnius.

In 1927, Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski entrusted to him the responsibility of being Spiritual Director for the Major Seminary.   During this same period he taught for the faculty of Theology at Stefan Batory University, also in Vilnius.   He eventually requested the Archbishop to release him from both the military pastoral care and from the seminary duties.   His desire was to dedicate himself entirely to theological pursuits.   In 1934, he received the title of ‘docent’ in pastoral theology.   While teaching, he never forgot the importance of pastoral service.   He was rector of St Michael Church and also served as confessor for Religious Sisters.

One of the most significant events of Fr Sopoćko’s life occurred in 1933, when he became the Spiritual Director of Sr (now Saint) Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of Sisters of Mary Mother of Mercy.  He continued to assist the Saint after his transfer to Łagiewniki and where she died on 5 October 1938.   As her confessor, he undertook a thorough evaluation of Sr Faustina’s mystical experiences concerning devotion to the Divine Mercy.   Following his advice, she wrote of these in her “Diary.”   To this day this remains a spiritual classic.BlSopockoStFaustina

The Divine Mercy devotion became a life-giving inspiration for Fr Sopoćko.   Due to his assistance and under the direction of Sister Faustina, the artist Eugeniusz Kazimirowski painted the first portrait of Jesus as the Divine Mercy. PRC-116-Blessed-Sopocko1-fr

Fr Sopoćko wrote extensively on the subject of the Divine Mercy and, in 1938, he established a committee charged with building the Divine Mercy Church in Vilnius. However, this attempt had to be halted due to the onset of World War II.   But despite the war and German occupation, Fr Sopoćko persisted in his efforts to promote the devotion to the Divine Mercy. sopockodivinemercy1

Filled with zeal, he constantly helped those who were oppressed and threatened with extermination, for example, numerous Jewish people.  Fortunately, he managed to avoid arrest and imprisonment.   In 1942, along with his fellow seminary professors and students, he was forced to go into hiding near Vilnius.   He remained concealed for two years.   Yet it was during that very time when Fr Sopoćko played a major role in establishing a new Religious Congregation.   According to the revelations of Sr Faustina, this Congregation was to promote love for the Divine Mercy.   After the War, he wrote the Congregation’s constitution.  And he became actively engaged in the growth and development of what we know as the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Mercy.bl michal sopocko art.jpg

In 1947, Archbishop Jałbrzykowski, for two years at Białystok with his diocesan Curia, sought that Fr Sopoćko come to the same city.   He accepted a position as professor in the Archdiocesan Major Seminary.   There he taught pedagogy, catechetics, homiletics, pastoral theology and spirituality.   Additionally, he continued to further the apostolate of the Divine Mercy.   He also made serious efforts to obtain official approval for the Divine Mercy devotion from the Church authorities.   Fr Sopoćko worked tirelessly on the biblical, theological and pastoral bases by which to explain the doctrinal truth concerning the Divine Mercy devotion.   His publications were translated into numerous languages including: Latin, English, French, Italian and Portuguese.bl michal

Fr Michal Sopoćko died on 15 February 1975, in his apartment on Poleska Street.   He was popularly acclaimed for his sanctity.   He was buried in the parish cemetery in Białystok. Following the inauguration of the process for his Beatification, his body was moved to the Church of the Divine Mercy (30 November 1988)…vatican.va

Fr Michal’s cause for beatification was started at the Vatican in 1987.   In 2004, St Pope John Paul II issued a decree on the virtues of Father Sopoćko.   In December 2007, Pope Benedict XVI approved of a miracle through his intercession.   His solemn beatification took place on Sunday 28 September 2008, at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Białystok.ksiadz-Sopocko.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FEAR, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 14 February – “The faith of the Canaanite woman”

One Minute Reflection – 14 February – Thursday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 7:24–30 and the Memorial of Sts Cyril and Methodius “Apostles to the Slavs”- Patrons of Europe and St Valentine (176-273) Martyr

But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him and came and fell down at his feet....Mark 7:25

REFLECTION – “O woman, your faith is great.   Let it be done to you as you wish” (Mt 15:28).   Indeed, she had great enough faith, since she knew neither the ancient miracles, commands and promises of the prophets, nor the more recent ones of the Lord himself. In addition, as often as she was disregarded by the Lord, she persevered in her entreaties and she did not cease knocking by asking him, though she knew only by popular opinion that he was the Saviour.   On account of this, she secured the great object for which she implored…
If one of us has a conscience polluted by the stain of avarice, conceit, vain-glory, indignation, irascibility, or envy and the other vices, he has “a daughter badly troubled by a demon” like the Canaanite woman.   He should hasten to the Lord, making supplication for her healing…   Being submissive with due humility, [such a person] must not judge himself to be worthy of the company of the sheep of Israel (that is, souls that are pure) but instead, he must be of the opinion that he is unworthy of heavenly favours. Nevertheless, let him not, in despair, rest from the earnestness of his entreaty but with his mind free of doubt, let him trust in the goodness of the supreme Benefactor, for the one who could make a confessor from a robber (Lk 23:39f.), an apostle from a persecutor (Acts 9:1-30, an evangelist from a publican (Mt 9:9-13) and who could make sons for Abraham out of stones, could turn even the most insignificant dog into an Israelite sheep.”...St Bede the Venerable (673-735) – Father & Doctor of the Churchmark 7 25 the caananite woman - if one of us - st bede 14 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Help us Lord, to cleave to You alone and grow in sanctity and charity. Create in us a clean heart O Lord!   As we walk in the ways of Your divine Son, our Saviour, may we grow in faith and by our lives and words, be a light in the world.   Grant that by the prayers of Sts Valentine and Sts Cyril and Methodius, we may be strengthen and grow in worthiness to receive Your grace.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st valentine pray for us 14 feb 2019sts-cyril-and-methodius-pray-for-us-14-feb-2018-no-2

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on PRAYER, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 12 February – Gospel: Mark 7:1–13

One Minute Reflection – 12 February – Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel:  Mark 7:1–13

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from me..”...Mark 7:6

REFLECTION – “Prayer is a heart to heart with God… Prayer that has been carried out well, touches God’s heart and prompts Him to answer us.   When we pray, let it be our whole being that turns towards God – our thoughts, our heart… The Lord will be moved to incline towards us and come to our help…mark 7 6 well did isaiah prophesy of you people - prayer is a heart to heart with god - st padre pio 12 feb 2019.jpg
Pray and hope.   Do not get upset, worrying doesn’t help.   God is merciful and will hear your prayer.   Prayer is our best weapon, it is the key that opens God’s heart.   You need to speak to Jesus less with your lips than with your heart.”…St Pio of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968)pray and hope - st padre pio 12 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Look with favour on our morning prayer, Lord and in Your saving love let Your light penetrate the hidden places of our hearts.   May no sordid desires darken our minds, renewed and enlightened as we are, by Your heavenly grace.   May we live by the Light of Your divine Son and follow His precepts.   May the Mother of perpetual succour, pray for us.   We make our prayer through Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mother of perpetual succour pray for us 12 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 February …”I say to you, arise.”… Mark 5:41

One Minute Reflection – 5 February – Tuesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 5:21–43 and The Memorial of St Agatha (c 231- c 251)

…”I say to you, arise.”… Mark 5:41mark 5 41 - i say to you arise - jairus' daughter - 5 feb 2019

REFLECTION – ““He took the child by the hand and said to her: ‘Talitha koum’, which means, ‘Little girl…arise.’”   “Since you have been born again, you are to be called ‘little girl’.   Little girl, arise for my sake – your healing does not come from you.”   “And immediately the little girl arose and walked around.”   May Jesus touch us, too and at once we shall walk.   We may well be paralysed, our deeds may be evil and we may be unable to walk, we may be lying on the bed of our sins… but if Jesus touches us, then we shall immediately be healed.   Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering with fever – Jesus touched her hand and she arose and immediately served Him (Mk 1:31)…may jesus touch us too - st jerome - mark 5 41 - little girl i say to you - 5feb2019

“They were utterly astounded and he gave them strict orders that no one should know this.”   Do you see now why He put the people out when He was going to work a miracle? He ordered and not just ordered but strictly ordered, that no one should know of this.   He ordered the three apostles and He ordered the parents, too, that no one should know. Our Lord ordered them all but the little girl herself, she who had stood up, could not be silent.

“And he said she should be given something to eat” – so that her resurrection might not be thought to be a ghostly apparition.   And He Himself, after His resurrection, ate fish and a piece of honeycomb (Lk 24:42)…   Lord, I beseech you, touch our hands as we, too, lie prostrate.   Make us rise from our bed of sins and enable us to walk.   And when we have walked, make them give us something to eat.   We cannot eat when we are lying down- unless we are standing, we shall not be able to receive the Body of Christ.”…St Jerome (347-420) – Father & Doctor of the Churchlord i beseech you touch our hands as we lie prostrate st jerome 5feb2019

PRAYER – Increase in us, O Lord, the gift of faith, so that we may arise and offer our praise to You and by Your grace, yield fruit from heaven, for the glory of Your Kingdom. Lord God, let St Agatha, who became precious in Your sight through her pure life and valiant martyrdom, plead for our forgiveness.   For, with joy and rejoicing, as though to a feast, St Agatha, went to prison and offered her sufferings to You, with many prayers. Through Jesus Christ, Your divine Son, in unity with the Spirit, one God forever. St Agatha, pray for us, amen.st-agatha-pray-for-us-5-feb-2018.jpg