June 26, St Sigismund (Zygmunt) Gorazdowski

June 26
SAINT SIGISMUND GORAZDOWSKI, PRESBYTER
Optional memorial

Sigismund (Zygmunt) Gorazdowski was born in Sanok in 1845. He gave up studying law and entered the Seminary in Lviv. After ordination in 1871, he commenced eager work in chaplaincy, charity, editing and publishing. He undertook many an initiative in helping the poor and suffering, especially by founding the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. He died in 1920.

Common of Pastors.

OFFICE OF READINGS

SECOND READING

From the works by Saint Sigismund Gorazdowski, Presbyter
(General Archive of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Kraków. Series H. Basic I Fasc. 4)
Showing love through works of mercy

“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” said our Saviour when he was saying farewell to his disciples before his death; these words can, therefore, be treated as Jesus Christ’s last will. Aware of these words, the first Christians in Jerusalem supported one another so much that there were no poor among them; the rich would sell their property and left the money at Apostles’ feet so that it could be given to the poor. The history of the early Church in the first three centuries testifies to the love that Christians had for one another that even pagans admired this mutual love that they knew nothing about; by this they recognised Christians during persecutions when they paid for this love with their lives.

We make worthless psychologists if we do not know that love cannot be begged, nor forced, but it has to be free-will. It does not, thus, suffice to enlighten minds with the truths of faith and to make mind believe; we must also influence our hearts and make them open to noble feelings, strange love for God and neighbours so that this holy love may become a springboard for all our works and the driving force of life.

As all feelings that are alive, compassion should be guided by mind and enlightened with the light of faith. Left to its own devices, it will only be affected by physical suffering that is an eyesore; it will not sense more severe torments that trouble our neighbour’s soul. We ought to show our love through works of mercy, that is we ought to support our neighbours compassionately in their needs of soul and body.

It would be welcome to at least create associations in all cities and towns that would grant Catholic people and those of warm hearts a chance to unite, to practise Christian mercy and to awaken Catholic life in our society so that we may embrace the afflicted and to sweeten the bitterness of their incurable disease with maternal care.

Meanwhile, small number of people visit the ill personally, although it ought to be done not only for the sake of the afflicted, but for their own good; firstly, as the spiritual alms that we gave to the poor by means of personal contact in their houses is far more precious than these notes and money; secondly, as the visitor benefits much more for their soul and is granted far bigger merit in God’s eyes for their personal contact with the poor and ill than even the most substantial financial support. Personal contact with poverty is the distinguishing feature of Christian charities.

While speaking of the Final Judgement, our Saviour announced that the verdict of salvation or condemnation will depend on whether we were merciful to the afflicted; whether we feed the hungry and strengthened the thirsty, whether we clothed the naked, supported the poor and relieved the suffering. For it is not sufficient to avoid sins to attain salvation – it is essential to perform good deeds, especially works of mercy.[1]

RESPONSORY 1 Thessalonians 5:14b; 15b; 18b; Romans 15:7

Support the weak, always seek what is good for all.
For this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.
For this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Almighty and merciful God,
you gave Saint Sigismund, Presbyter, the grace to serve the poor and afflicted.
Grant, we beg you through his intercession, that we may embrace our brothers in need with evangelical care.
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 24 ianuarii 2003. Prot. 83/03/L.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2014).

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