He was born in Detroit, Michigan on the Feast of Saint Martha, disciple of the Lord - July 29, 1928. Little did anyone realize at the time that he too would become a devoted disciple of the Lord as a Basilian priest. The seeds for this vocation were planted in his early years through elementary Catholic schooling and then at Central Catholic High School in Detroit where he graduated in 1946. He went on to the University of Western Ontario, receiving his Bachelor's degree in 1951. That same year he entered St. Basil's in Toronto, the major scholasticate for the Congregation of Saint Basil, where four years later he was ordained a Basilian priest.
He returned to his home state where he enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Michigan acquiring a Masters a year later and then his Doctorate in Biochemistry in 1961. He was assigned by his Order to teach Biochemistry at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada for sixteen years. After eleven years of teaching and experimental research work with twenty-four research publications in biochemistry and his five years of religious formation, Fr. Kosicki felt the pull to renew and deepen his interest in Spiritual renewal, in prayer life and in experimental work in the community.
A prolific writer, inspiring preacher, and researcher, Fr. George has written and published a plethora of books and articles beginning in 1966 with his book Like a Cedar of Lebanon published by Sheed and Ward, which was a study of images in Scripture from a biochemical point of view. Talk about an interesting viewpoint! Other books followed, first The Lord Is My Shepherd, a collection of witnesses by fellow priests, and secondly Forty-Days of Intercession, the continuous miracle of a loving community of priests interceding in prayer and fasting for their brother priests. Both books were published in 1975 by Word of Life. Key to the Good News, a summary of the Gospel that Jesus Christ is Lord, was published the same year by Dove Publications.
That same year, after active involvement in the Charismatic Renewal and the Houses of Prayer in Detroit for several years, he became coordinator of Bethany House of Intercession, a community of priests, bishops, and deacons in Warwick, Rhode Island and in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York interceding for bishops, priests and deacons worldwide. He remained there until 1983. During that time he wrote a number of articles for several publications: Renewed Religious Life: The Dynamics of Re-discovery followed by The Mountaintop Experience: Its Value and Purpose in Spiritual Growth. A year later he released Steps Toward Christian Community and Assume Nothing: On Making Assumptions Explicit in Religious Renewal. In 1978, he wrote on Intercession, first Intercession: a Re-discovery of Power to Renew for Sisters Today followed by Pope Paul VI, Prophet in our Time and then Eucharist as Intercession in Emmanuel.
The year 1979 prompted him to write Keys to Christian Community in Pastoral Life and Pilgrimage and Purification: The Church in Travail in the 80's for The Crux of Prayer. In 1980 he wrote The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!": Mary's role in the New Pentecost for the Ave Maria Institute and then Walk in Forgiveness in 1981, the same year he wrote The Good News of Suffering released by the Liturgical Press in Collegeville, Minnesota. Many of these have been re-released as leaflets or booklets.
After eight years at Bethany where he was in great demand as a speaker throughout the English-speaking world, he was called in 1983 to spend two and a half years with the Fraternity of Priests team working out of the Franciscan University of Steubenville in eastern Ohio where he remained for two and a half years, spending the last half of the third year in solitude with the Camaldolese hermits in prayer and writing. It was during this time he wrote a number of articles for New Covenant Magazine including Bless do not Curse, You are what you Think, Interceding as a Priestly People, and The Holy Spirit: Lord and Giver of Life.
He also wrote Born of Mary which was a compendium of testimonies, tensions and teachings published by Marian Press in Stockbridge. Led by a desire to promote the Message of God's Mercy that had been planted when his Polish family was introduced to the Divine Mercy devotion in the 1940's, Fr. George joined the Marians of Eden Hill in Stockbridge in 1987. He was later appointed Director of the Department of Divine Mercy, working in the publishing headquarters and devoted himself full time to writing, preaching and publishing the message of Divine Mercy, speaking to thousands at conferences, retreats and appearing often on Mother Angelica's Live Show as a guest on EWTN as well as becoming a regular fixture for years in a popular series on Divine Mercy.
During this association with the Marians he has written some best selling books including Revelations of Divine Mercy: Daily Readings from the Diary of Blessed Faustina, Be Apostles of Divine Mercy: Leader's Formation Manual, Now is the time for Mary, and Rejoice in the Lord Always all published by the Marian Helpers. Two of his books have been published by Faith Publishing Co. They are Intercession: Moving mountains by living Eucharistically and Spiritual Warfare, one of his most popular books. He continues to write a quarterly column that appears in the Marian Helpers' official publication the Bulletin four times a year.
After residing on Eden Hill for eight years, he returned to his Basilian roots, choosing to live in community of fellow priests from the Congregation of St. Basil in Rochester, New York. Even at 71 he shows little sign of slowing down for he presently is developing a ministry of mercy to priests as well as continuing to write and pray, putting into practice everything he preaches as a modern-day Apostle of Mercy.
Mother Teresa said that she saw Christ in every person, that tending to wounds, the hunger and suffering of Christ, was a most blessed thing. But, I feel, in her humility she wasn't telling the full story. She did more than see Christ in others, she saw them with the eyes of Christ. She was Christ for others.
Her love of God's children wouldn't allow her to remain in the relative security and comfort of the convent of her Order. She was compelled to go out into the street, forsaking all that she held dear, loved, and enjoyed, for the sake of His children in the streets.
"O Francis, if you want to know My will, you must hate and despise all that hitherto your body has loved and desired to possess. Once you begin to do this, all that formerly seemed sweet and pleasant to you will become bitter and unbearable; and instead, the things that formerly made you shudder will bring you great sweetness and content." (St. Francis of Assisi; Omnibus of Sources; Legend of the Three Companions, Chap 4, #11, pg 900)
Because she became Christ for others, she led many by her example of true love. She recalled how she was told a Hindu family was starving. So taking what rice she had, she went to their home and gave it to them. Immediately the Hindu mother took the rice, thankfully, and took it next door, to a starving Muslim family. She was overjoyed to see them share the rice together. Would this have occurred without her example? A Christian giving rice to a Hindu out of love who, in turn shared with a Muslim. The Kingdom of God most assuredly broke through and shone brightly that day.
But like so many who follow Christ, she is both praised and vilified. Her teachings and example are both followed and distorted. Mother Teresa was not one to mince words. She has been attacked for not doing enough to call attention to the 'oppressiveness' of her Church; that if she were a true saint, she would have demanded the Church allow women priests and other 'agenda's'. But Mother Teresa was not interested in agenda's only in doing God's will. Regardless how much it might have hurt.
She was vilified for accepting funds, which may have come from unsavory sources. Yet Christ Himself ate and drank with some of the most unsavory people of His day. Why? To bring them to God, to remind them of God's love and ask for their repentance and conversion. What better thing could a person do who had gained the whole world but lost his soul by the accumulation of wealth in unsavory ways, than return that money to God via Mother Teresa? To do His work on earth.
Often, she was brutal in her honesty. She didn't shy away from exposing sin and error. But, again like Christ, burned with a sorrow that can't be comprehended. Isn't this one reason why Christ wept in the garden? For the many who would not benefit from His sacrifice due to their own desires? Didn't He weep before Jerusalem because she refused to see the great gift God was giving her?
Few people know, or will acknowledge, her chastisement of the most powerful people of the most powerful nation on earth.
"By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa, where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns a re very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today: abortion, which brings people to such blindness." (National Prayer Breakfast)
Did she shy away from the issues? No, she faced them head on. Like Christ, she forced them to see the truth. Whether they accepted the truth was up to them. Nor did she accept that what she did was connected to some notion of social responsibility, but rather a responsibility to God.
"We are not social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of some people, but we must be contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we must bring that presence of God into your family, for the family that prays together, stays together. There is so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice, are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do." (Ibid)
It is appropriate that I close this with her closing words at the National Prayer Breakfast.
"If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as he loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. lf you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!" (Ibid)
It isn't about empowerment, but in caring. It isn't about being social workers, but spiritual workers.
When I think of Mother Teresa, I recall the small, frail elderly woman who stood before some of the most powerful men in the world and received a standing ovation from all but two, the first among the powerful. What a contrast.
"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
Mother Teresa, pray for us.
Pax Christi, Pat
The chief marks of the Church are four. We covered ONE yesterday, today we cover HOLY.
Christ intended His Church to be HOLY. It must teach a holy doctrine in faith and morals, because its Founder is holy. It must provide the means for its members to lead a holy life.
Christ prayed for His Apostles as recorded in John 17: 17-19, "Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. Even as Thou hast sent Me into the world, so I also have sent them into the world. And for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."
Our Lord warned also of the necessity to preserve this sanctity and how to discern such in Matthew 7: 15-17, 20, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit....Therefore, by their fruits you will know them."
Finally, Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness in John 14: 12, "Amen, amen, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he also shall do, and greater than these he shall do."
Other denominations and their founders are not holy in the same sense or degree as the Catholic Church and its Founder are holy. Many non-Catholics are upright and good because they have retained many doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. Many founders of non-Catholic churches were far from holy. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, more specifically Lutheranism, wa an apostate Augustinian Friar, who married a nun who had left her convent and turned against her vows. During his life he taught contradictory doctrines, some of them immoral. King Henry VIII, the founder of Anglicanism, who earlier in his life was proclaimed by the Pope as "Defender of the Faith," turned on his Church, married five women successively after divorcing his lawful wife Catherine of Aragon. He had two of his wives put to death. Other founders are of the same class. Not one of them even approaches the infinite holiness of the Divine Founder of the Roman Catholic Church. Voltaire, when a young man asked him for advice about starting a new religious movement, is believed to have said: "First get yourself crucified, then rise from the dead."
No founder of any other church is as holy as Jesus. And among the children of the Church we may mention as examples of holiness the canonized Saints who exemplify the mark of sanctity. The Catholic Church teaches the highest and holiest doctrine ever presented to any people, a standard of perfection. The same precepts delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, the same warnings uttered by the prophets in Judea, the same sublime lessons taught by Our Lord: these the Church has taught from her inception. The Church teaches its children to know, love and serve God, and thus to become saints by striving for holiness. It urges on them the truth as Christ affirmed in Matthew 16: 26, "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?" The Church exhorts its members to imitate Christ.
The Catholic Church provides powerful means for holiness in prayer and the Sacraments. By the Sacraments a Catholic receives abundant graces. One who is faithful in the reception of the Sacraments will never fail to live a righteous life and die a happy death. Every Catholic is obliged to say morning and night prayers, and to resort to prayer in every necessity and temptation, as well as to prayer of thanksgiving. All are required under pain of sin to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
The Catholic Church produces holy members in its saints and martyrs. In every age and country the Church is the Mother of saints, martyrs, confessors, and holy men and women from all walks of life who live in Christ. This does not mean, however, that all Catholics are holy. Unfortunately, some do not live up to the teachings of the Church; that will be their condemnation if they do not wise up and obey the Church. We must remember that even among the Apostles there was one Judas Iscariot. Our Lord Himself taught in the parable of the wheat and the cockle that the good and the bad will grow up side by side in His Church.
The Catholic Church still has the gift of miracles. Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness. Each holy soul proposed for canonization must have worked two miracles before beatification, and two more before canonization unless they were martyrs. This is evident today as many modern luminaries such as Blessed Faustina, Blessed Padre Pio, Blessed Juan Diego, Mother Teresa, Pope John XXIII, Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, and scores of others are scrutinized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Miracles are something the Church does not take lightly and must confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that miracles have taken place, mostly by cures of a physical nature that modern medicine and science cannot explain.
Finally, The Church carries on countless works of holiness. It is the great Mother of Mercy and Charity to the helpless, instructing children in schools, caring for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly, the deaf, the blind, the dumb, the orphaned, the abandoned and downtrodden. Holy Mother Church at all levels engages in all kinds of missionary and charitable activity carrying out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
The Third Crusade is officially brought to a close through a peace treaty signed by the Saracen's Saladin and King Richard the Lionhearted of England.
Pope Leo XIII issues his 46th encyclical Constanti Hungarorum geared to the Church in Hungary.