Bl. Mother Klara Szczesna (1863-1916) Co-Foundress Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
February 7 BL. KLARA SZCZĘSNA, VIRGIN Optional memorial (Poland) Obligatory Memorial In the Archdioceses of Kraków and Płock
Klara Szczęsna was born on July 18, 1863 in Cieszki in the Diocese of Płock. In 1885, she entered the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus. In 1894 she became co-foundress and first superior general of the Congregation of the Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, founded by St. Joseph Sebastian Pelczar. She was strong in faith, sensitive to the voice of God and ever ready to receive His will, and solicitous and open to the needs of the most needy, particularly girls and the sick. She fostered a deep prayer life, especially honoring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was for all an example of a life of humble love of God and service to neighbor. She died in Krakow on February 7, 1916.
From the Common of Virgins
OFFICE OF READINGS II READING
Meditation of Bl. Klara Szczęsna, virgin, Love of neighbor (Cecylian Niezgoda OFMConv, Mother Klara Ludwika Szczęsna, Kraków 1993, p. 195-196)
Love of God and neighbor are one
The public life of Christ the Lord should especially teach us love of neighbor and zeal for souls. The Lord Jesus Himself is the strongest motive for us to love our neighbor, for He Himself loves him. Indeed, Jesus demands that we love our neighbor; He resides within our neighbor that we could love Him there. If the Manger, Calvary and the Altar speak to you so clearly of Jesus’ love for you, do they not also speak about His love for others? O how you would love your neighbor if you could seek his value in the Heart of the suffering God! With what different eyes you would see this person, who for you seems so unpleasant and unfriendly, if you could but see the immeasurable love for this person from Him who is holiness and justice itself; if you could see the sweet mercy Jesus has for this person whom you regard as unworthy, would you have then but a little mercy for such a one? If you could only know how in some way by hurting this person you are wounding the apple of the Savior’s eye! The love of God and the love of neighbor are one. They cannot be separated for truly the object of such love is one and the same. To love God in and of Himself or to love our neighbor for God’s sake means, one and the same, to love God. Christ’s disciples will identify themselves by their abundance of love. The Heavenly Master has commanded the Apostles to love each other as He loves them and His Heart greatly desires our fraternal love. I was hungry and you gave Me to eat; I was sick and you cared for Me; I was in prison and you came to visit Me. These are the crowns of love of neighbor. Jesus is in our neighbor. Whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do unto Me. At the moment of judgment you will judge not your neighbor but yourself. When you sadden and offend someone, you sadden and offend Jesus. St. Paul, in persecuting Christians, persecuted Jesus. St. Martin in covering the naked man covered Jesus. How dare you refuse a moment of patience, a word of consolation, a service and a piece of bread to Him, who did not refuse you a drop of His blood? In giving us His commandment of fraternal love, the Lord Jesus desires that our love would take the form and likeness of His own, that is, that it would it be supernatural – love for God and in God, not that which arises from nature and the senses. Worship within the soul of your neighbor the image of God and his great ransom through the Blood of God. Love him and hesitate not if, for the good of his soul, you must make some unpleasant reproof. Even should he forget his salvation, you must love his salvation. Love should be universal because the Lord Jesus died for all. Even His worst enemies had a share in His charity. He prayed for His persecutors. If we love God in our neighbors, we acknowledge that there is not one so miserable that he cannot have access to your love. Yet not everyone has the same access. Have a threefold love: maternal love toward those whom providence places under your care, childlike love toward your superiors and sisterly love for your Sisters in God. Have a grateful love. Truly, what people can do to refuse Jesus’ love for them! They do not accept Him when he comes. They persecute and crucify Him and still He loves them. The Holy Spirit says that love is stronger than death. What kind of love is there that will not sacrifice or becomes discouraged and despondent over the smallest things? O how rarely there is to be found a holy and perfect fraternal love! It is easy to have exclusive friends but rare it is to embrace everyone without exception. Such is impossible without sacrifice and dedication. Our love is natural, sensible, egoistic and self-interested. We do not love as the Lord Jesus has loved –loving us even unto the shedding of His blood and desiring no retaliation.
Responsory Col 3, 12-13a. 14 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. -- As the Lord has fogiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. -- As the Lord... OR Responsory See 1 J 4, 7. 12b Let us love one another. -- Because love is of God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is brought to perfection in us. -- Because love is of God.
Prayer Almighty merciful God, You have accomplished by your grace that blessed Klara Szczęsna, who was filled with the love of the Most Sacred Heart of Your Son and with zeal for his glory, would dedicate her life to sacrificial and humble service of the most needy. We ask you, grant us the grace that, following her example and by her intercession, we would love you above all and lovingly serve our brothers. Through Christ our Lord.
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