In a world on the brink, turn anew to our Marian Founder, St. Stanislaus Papczyński

Saint Stanislaus Papczyński is the patron saint of those in mortal danger. Turn to him, and to the Immaculate Conception whom he loved and served so well. After all, Our Lady of Fatima made clear to Sr. Lucia that the solution to the errors and global suffering of the present day could be found in devotion to her Immaculate Heart alongside the Sacred Heart. Do you have an image of St. Stanislaus or of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in your home? Do you make it a habit to ask their intercession? Marian Helpers would be wise to begin to do so.

Join the Most Rev. Joe Roesch, MIC, as he reads "The Mystical Temple of God" by St. Stanislaus Papczyński.

Watch Fr. Mark Baron, MIC, speak on the life of  St. Stanislaus Papczyński.

By Chris Sparks

In times like these, my mind keeps turning to saints — one in particular — and the power of prayer.

The Church has endured terrible times before this, times where all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse seemed to be riding, where the Church seemed to face imminent destruction, and where the demonic lord of the world seemed particularly strong. 

And yet in every age of the life of the Church, we can find a number of saints, at least several per century. Many of them are exceptional wonderworkers, with the sorts of stories of miracles we recognize from more recent saints like Padre Pio or John Vianney.

The essentials stay the same
These great saints had nothing more nor less than we have. They had the Sacraments, the Scriptures, the Church’s magisterial teachings, the works of mercy, the life of prayer, and so forth — all the essential parts of Catholic practice. Just as the Seven Deadly Sins have remained a consistent list for centuries, so too do the essentials of Catholic life remain the same. 

We may gain some devotions out of the generosity of Heaven or the institution of the Church, suited to the growing needs of age after age as we continue on our pilgrim path through history toward Jesus, but these blessings are outgrowths of the Incarnation, and not anything truly new or different. They shine a heavenly spotlight on parts of Public Revelation (Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium), not replace or change it.

Divine Mercy, as Pope Benedict XVI said, is the nucleus of the Gospel. It’s always been part of our Catholic Christian faith; Jesus just gave St. Faustina a clearer view of it, and offered us some optional tools of devotion with which to open the floodgates of Heaven in our age.

Training wheels
Training wheels do not fundamentally change the nature of a bike, or add something new to it; wise and humble is the rider who needs those training wheels and uses them. I need those training wheels. I need every help our Lord has given us to even begin to practice our Catholic faith, let alone hope to ever live it with even the smallest sanctity.

But all the promises attached to those devotions of extraordinary graces and world changing power are nothing new, nothing more than elaborations on Christ’s promise in the Gospels about the power of faith and prayer:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Mt 7:7-8).

Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you (Mt 17:20).

The truth is one; the faith is one; the Church is one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic by the grace of Jesus Christ now and forever.

And because of that, the life of prayer now can produce great saints as it ever has. 

Marian Founder
Saint Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński (1631-1701), Founder of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, is one such saint. 

Throughout the lifetime of St. Stanislaus, the nation of Poland was scourged by wars, plagued by repeated epidemics, and burdened with unimaginable trials. Indeed, those trials helped form the founding calls of the Order.

When St. Stanislaus was in his 20s, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was suffering Swedish invasions that have since been called the “Deluge.” One of the crucial battles was fought at the great monastery of Jasna Gora (the “Luminous Mount”), where the ancient icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa is kept. Pious tradition tells us that this icon was painted by St. Luke himself on a table. This battle has been cited by historians as a turning point in the defense of Poland.

In the wake of the battle, the king of Poland, John Casimir Vasa, proclaimed the Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Poland on April 1, 1656. 

The Oblatio
The great victory at Jasna Gora and the entrustment of Poland to Mary’s queenship helped inspire St. Stanislaus in the act that founded the Marian Fathers in 1670: his oblatio, or total gift of self, to Mary, especially in defense of her title “the Immaculate Conception.”

But Poland’s battles didn’t merely help guide and reinforce St. Stanislaus’ devotion to Mary. Poland’s trials also inspired his devotion to the Holy Souls. He served for a time as a chaplain to the Polish army and saw that many people were dying without access to the Sacraments. The ongoing violence and often unexpected loss of life led St. Stanislaus to include praying for the dying and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory among the very reasons for the existence of the Congregation.

This spiritual work of mercy was only made all the more pressing by the repeated epidemics that swept through Poland in St. Stanislaus’ lifetime, especially in the wake of war. Indeed, in his youth, St. Stanislaus fell seriously ill twice from epidemic disease.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg. The political turmoil of the 1600s, especially in the Wars of Religion, the rise of absolutism in other parts of Europe, the tremendous shifts in wealth and power caused by the Age of Discovery, and the fact that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was parked right in the middle of Europe all meant that St. Stanislaus lived and founded his Congregation amidst one of the greatest eras of upheaval in world history. His prayer, leading to his sanctity, sustained him, his Congregation, and the whole Marian Family.

Mortal danger
Today, St. Stanislaus Papczyński is the patron saint of those in mortal danger.

Sadly, that describes all of us in this time of war, when powers with nuclear arsenals and weapons of mass destruction continue to threaten their use. 

So make it a habit to turn to St. Stanislaus Papczyński, asking for his intercession for everyone on earth today. Obtain an image of the saint, have it blessed, and place it in a prominent place in your home with a table in front of it, where you can regularly place flowers or (safely!) lit candles in front of it, as well as a list of your needs and intentions for the saint’s intercession. He is a mighty intercessor, as his beatification and canonization miracles prove.

Here’s one prayer you can use:

Saint Stanislaus, gracious intercessor before God,
defender of the oppressed and patron of those in mortal danger,
you always zealously served Jesus and His Immaculate Mother
for the salvation of immortal souls,
and you took pity on every misery.
Trusting in your intercession, I have recourse to you,
and I ask that you do not deny me your help.
By your earnest prayers, obtain for me from God
the grace [mention your intention] for which I beg you with trust,
and help me, all my life long, to fulfill the will
of the Heavenly Father. Amen.

Turn to him, and to the Immaculate Conception whom he loved and served so well. After all, Our Lady of Fatima made clear to Sr. Lucia that the solution to the errors and global suffering of the present day could be found in devotion to her Immaculate Heart alongside the Sacred Heart. 

Do you have an image of St. Stanislaus or of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in your home? Do you make it a habit to ask their intercession? Marian Helpers would be wise to begin to do so.

Heaven’s help
Ask for Heaven’s help with everything that troubles you, both your personal struggles as well those afflicting your family, friends, neighbors, and community, as well as our world. Bring to St. Stanislaus and the Two Hearts the loss of faith in the Western world, the many threats we face from illness, war, disaster, and the ideologies so dominant in the modern world. Persist in your devotions. Settle into lifelong habits of frequent reception of the Sacraments, spiritual reading of the Gospels and other Catholic literature, regular prayer, regular works of mercy, acts of reparation, and uniting your sufferings to the Cross of Christ. 

We are in this for the long haul, after all, called to be practicing Catholics till the end of our lives or the end of the world, whichever comes first. 

No matter what, there is no better preparation for whatever may come than true love of God and neighbor.

Saint Stanislaus Papczyński of Jesus and Mary, pray for us!
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PCZY

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