June 14, Bl Michael (Michał) Kozal

June 14
BLESSED MICHAEL KOZAL, BISHOP and MARTYR
Obligatory memorial
In the Diocese of Bydgoszcz: patron of the diocese – Obligatory memorial

Michael Kozal was born in 1893 in Nowy Folwark near Krotoszyn. He was a presbyter of the Archdiocese of Gniezno. In 1939 he became suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Włocławek. In November of the same year he got arrested by the German police and was eventually placed in the concentration camp Dachau, where he spiritually supported his inmates. In the beginning of 1943 he contracted typhoid and on 26 January was killed with a lethal injection. On 14 June 1987 Pope John Paul II beatified him as a martyr.

Common of One Martyr, or of Pastors.

OFFICE OF READINGS

SECOND READING

From a sermon by Blessed Michael Kozal, Bishop
(Sermon on the priesthood anniversary of Rev Bishop Antoni Laubitz, Poznań, 1938)
A priest in the Mystical Body of Christ

The true greatness of man is measured with the level of his union with God, with his ability and eagerness to fulfil God’s plans. Objectively, the most precious is the one who bears God’s life and is able to awake this life in others and lead them to full growth.

In the face of this truth, it cannot be dubious that Christ’s priest with the power of his vocation and his priestly dignity is above ordinary people, as God entrusts him with the most important task which can be achieved only after the most intimate union with him. In his Epistles, St Paul directs us at understanding this supernatural reality with his genius mind enlightened by God’s grace. From him we learn how Jesus our Lord by means of holy sacraments makes invisible, yet undeniable, changes in human souls.

These changes can be equated with the development of the human body. It is known that living flesh absorbs raw, inorganic matter and by internal change transforms it and makes it more like itself. It then makes use of this transformed and assimilated matter insofar as it strengthens the whole organism or equips its members, or creates organs – the parts of the body that not only live, but also distribute power and juices all over the body.

A similar situation can be observed in the realm of grace. Jesus Christ changes and transforms immortal souls. He elevates them from natural life to supernatural life. In order to make those miraculous changes, he created supernatural organism, which on the level of its life and works can be likened to the human body; namely, the Holy Church – His Mystical Body. He is its Head; the Holy Spirit is its soul and believers are its members.

Now when we wish to understand what Christ does to a soul when he elevates it to priesthood, we ought not to forget that the initial, basic transformation is made by means of baptism. At this moment, Christ pours new life into a soul that has up till then solely lived a natural life. He transforms the soul deeply, makes it similar to himself, unites with himself, incorporates it into his miraculous Mystical Body, that is the Church. Still, when He marks the chosen soul with priesthood, the supernatural unity reaches its peak. The soul then is not only in the Church, or plays there an active role, but it belongs to the spiritual centre of the Holy Church. A priestly soul is part of the heart of Christ’s Mystical Body. [1]

RESPONSORY 2 Corinthians 4:11; 16

We who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus,
So that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
So that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O God,
you gave Blessed Michael, Bishop and Martyr, the special grace of the devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the heroic courage to protect the freedom of the Church.
Grant that we, by his example and intercession, may endure in confessing the true faith until the end, supported by the grace of the Eucharistic Mystery.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Probatum seu confirmatum, die 26 maii 1989, Prot. 1280/88.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2014)

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