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Heart-bursting joy

After she received Holy Communion, Jesus appeared in front of her. He was more real than the world perceived through our senses; it was then that Alicja’s heart burst with joy.

Heart-bursting joy

A retreat in Gostyń in 1985 marked the beginning of an unusual time in the life of Alicja Lenczewska. It was then, during the Eucharist, that she received from Jesus an extraordinary gift of mystic encounters with him. On Jesus’ clear instructions, she began to write down his advice, directions and spiritual guidance in the two diaries: Testimony and A Word of Instruction. This continued from 1985 until her death, in 2010. Only then did these diaries of her soul reach Archbishop Andrzej Dzięga, who appointed a theological commission to study the diaries and find out whether their contents were consistent with the teaching of the Church. The findings of the commission were unreservedly favourable. The theological and spiritual profundity of these texts hold the reader in awe. Their contents reinforce faith, provide answers to the most difficult questions and guide along the difficult path of spiritual growth.

Who was Alicja Lenczewska, this amazing mystic and witness to the real presence of the resurrected Christ in the Eucharist?

From childhood to adulthood

Alicja Maria Lenczewska was born to a Catholic family in Warsaw, Poland, on 5 December 1934. She had one elder brother, Sławek. Her father died in April 1939. Her mother was a teacher; she did not remarry and cared for her children alone.

After the Nazis had taken Warsaw, in September 1939, they launched a campaign of cruel terror. For this reason, in August 1940, the mother decided to leave the capital. With her two children, she moved in with her relatives, who lived in the village of Knapy, near Rzeszów.

“Everything that I had yearned for and pursued around the world for so many years, He gave me. And He gave me much more than I was able to imagine and desire” (A. Lenczewska)

In July 1946, they moved to Szczecin. Alicja finished primary school there and went to study at a Teacher Training Secondary School. Those were very hard communist times. The Catholic Church and its followers were persecuted. Students were not allowed to wear any religious medallions, and on feast days their time was organised in such a way as to prevent them from attending Mass.

Alicja’s mother was deeply religious. She prayed every day with her children and attended Mass not only on Sundays, but also on weekdays. She did not, however, force her children to pray or attend church services; she left it to their choice.

In 1952, Alicja finished secondary school and took up a teaching post in the village of Banie. After a twoyear teacher training course, she was promoted to the post of deputy school inspector in Gryfino, and for that reason she had to join the communist party (PZPR). At that time, her Catholicism was very superficial, and at certain periods, lasting several years at a time, she remained outside the Church, living a life at odds with the Decalogue.

In the late 1950s, Alicja fell in love and was close to marrying Janek. However, she broke off their engagement, because of his abuse of alcohol. In 1960, she met Michele, an Italian from Bologna. They fell in love with each other. Michele came to visit Alicja three times, and she visited him in Bologna, too. Yet she had to terminate this relationship, as it turned out that Michele had a wife.

“Everything ceased to exist; there was only Him. His power, might and growing immensity, with me ever smaller next to Him. An immensity of love so great and unparalleled that I could only weep over my ingratitude. And then joy that He loves me. Heart-bursting joy” (A. Lenczewska)

After working in Gryfino for several years, Alicja enrolled on the Faculty of Education at Gdańsk University, from which she graduated with the title of Master of Education in 1965. From 1966 to 1975, she worked as a handicrafts and mechanics teacher in the 1st Secondary School of General Education in Szczecin.

In 1975, she became a teacher of education at a Szczecin secondary school for nursery-school teachers and was later appointed the school’s deputy director. She retired at the age of fifty-three.

Searching and meeting the Resurrected one

Alicja had a passion for scouting and held responsible posts in the organisation as an instructor. She loved travelling, mountain climbing, skiing and walks by the sea; she admired nature and was curious about the culture and way of life of people in various countries.

In the 1970s and 1980s, together with her brother, who spoke twelve languages, she toured Bulgaria, Romania, France, Spain, Greece, Italy and Morocco. Alicja was very sensitive; through her travels, she wanted to quench her thirst for beauty and love. The thirst she felt was a desire for God, although as yet she did not realise it.

Her close friend Bernadetta Woźniak-Hoppe remembered Alicja as “a highly intelligent, talented and well-mannered person. In her actions, she was consistent, disciplined, responsible and creative. She also had leadership qualities, which was acceptable, because in the area she wanted to dominate in, she had a strong argument in her favour: knowledge. She was also aware that she was superior to some of her colleagues with regard to her interesting and strong personality.” In 1982, Alicja took in her ailing mother and looked after her with love. It was a hard but blessed time for her. The everyday contact with their deeply religious and prayerful mother slowly directed Alicja and her brother towards conversion; they began to open up to the mystery of God’s love and mercy. At that time, Alicja began reading religious books and studying the Bible.

In 1984, her mother died. It was a very painful experience for Alicja. After the funeral, she went alone on a pilgrimage to the Jasna Góra Shrine, where she entrusted herself to the Virgin Mary. She brought back a large statuette of Our Lady and put it on her mother’s grave.

“I wish for you happiness that no human being can imagine or sense”

That same year brought a watershed in the lives of Alicja and her brother: they both joined the Movement for Renewal in the Holy Spirit at the Church of St John the Baptist. Her participation in the movement made Alicja give herself up totally to Jesus as his exclusive property and resolve to live for him alone. She remained single until the end of her life, while her brother married and started a family.

In 1985, 52-year-old Alicja took part in a three-day retreat for the leaders of the Movement for Renewal in the Holy Spirit on the Holy Mount in Gostyń. During the Eucharist, she received from Jesus the extraordinary gift of a mystical encounter with him. That was the beginning of her dialogues with Jesus, which she wrote down on his clear request as two spiritual diaries: Testimony and A Word of Instruction. In them, from 1985 until her death in 2010, Alicja recorded her mystical experiences and conversations with Jesus, as well as his advice and directions concerning spiritual life.

He loves me

In 1987, Alicja wrote down the testimony of her conversion, which she signed with the name Maria:

“My name is Maria. I am a 52-year-old teacher. I was brought up in a Catholic family, but my Catholicism was very superficial for many years. There were even periods lasting several years when I lived outside the Church, being almost completely at odds with God’s Commandments.

My chief interests at that time included history of art, travelling, making slides and boasting about them and about the wonderful experiences I had. On my travels, I searched for beauty and good, as well as the meaning of life. A yearning for those things drove me to visit many countries for many years. Finally, a time came when the emptiness of such a life weighed down on me ever more.

At the same time, seemingly by chance, I started to come across religious books. They included Cross and Dagger, The Third Hour of the Day, The Happiest in the World and others on the subject of Charismatic Renewal in the US. I did not even dare to dream about getting in contact with such a group, although I wanted to very much. A visit to the US was of course impossible.

Then I happened to hear from somebody that there was just such a group in Szczecin, a few bus stops from where I lived. That was in the autumn, almost three years ago.

After the first prayer meeting, I knew that my life was beginning to revive and that I had found its meaning. There followed a seminar preparing participants for revival, which featured a retreat for leaders in Gostyń (I went there as a replacement for the leader of the home group, who could not go). And something happened there which entirely altered my life. There, in front of me, Jesus appeared. He was more real, truer than all the things that were in the chapel, than the people who stood next to me, in fact. This happened after I had received Holy Communion (during the Eucharist), when I was remorseful about how very late I was on my way to Him. Everything ceased to exist; there was only Him. His power, might and growing immensity, with me ever smaller next to Him. An immensity of love so great and unparalleled that I could only weep over my ingratitude. And then joy that He loves me. Heart-bursting joy.

“Be wary of thoughtlessness and indifference when receiving me in Holy Communion. That is a great sin and profanation of my Love”

From that moment on, everything changed: my hierarchy of values, structure of needs and purpose in life. He, Jesus Christ, was my only value, desire and aim, with the most beautiful moments being my meetings with Him: in daily prayer, in the daily Eucharist, Holy Communion, as well as in the ordinariness of life and helping others.

Everything that I had yearned for and pursued around the world for so many years, He gave me. And He gave me much more than I was able to imagine and desire.

Many things that I had earlier amassed became redundant; many others became cumbersome. First I got rid of my colour TV, and I gave the money I got for it to a charity. There followed other furnishings that only needlessly occupied space in my home. My time, my strength and all I had were devoted to the service to God and my neighbours, while I offered my ailments and everyday hardships as a sacrifice making good my own sins and those of others.

And what happened to me was like what happened to that widow in the Gospel, who had suffered an illness for many years. Although she went to see many doctors and spent a fortune on them, she was not cured but was even worse. Finally, the moment came when she met Jesus, and his one touch made her well again. Praise the Lord! Maria. Szczecin, 1987.”

Like a child

The moments when she met Jesus at prayer and in the daily Eucharist were the most beautiful in Alicja’s life. Jesus educated her, taught her absolute confidence and how to be a little child again, led her along the paths of spiritual life and asked her to write down all his directions for other people to learn and be guided by them. One day she told Jesus: “everything is one great and continuous form period, bringing me closer to you, preparing me for the final meeting.”

Jesus gave Alicja a confessor and spiritual leader to help her follow the path of God’s child. To the question as to who her spiritual father was, Jesus replied: “My mouth, my hands and my heart beating among you.”

Through the confessor, Jesus called Alicja to asceticism: “During yesterday’s conversation with my spiritual father, the words organic asceticism were used, which mean restricting one’s life in the material world to a bare minimum, to things and activities which are absolutely necessary. This entails getting rid of many things, pleasures and habits.

Poverty, service to others. He told me literally: sell your TV set and other unnecessary things, and distribute the proceeds to the poor” (18 December 1985). Alicja, with great enthusiasm and joy, set out on the divine path of being like a child and of evangelical radicalism, because she wanted to belong completely to Christ and to fulfil his will.

Under the date 2 April 1986, she noted a conversation with Jesus: “What do you desire most of people, Father? † Prayer, entrustment.” On another occasion, she asked: “What personal vices should I combat most? † Pride, egocentrism. — How? † By docility towards others” (3 April 1986); Alicja asked: “I am lost for words when I pray … † You need to pray with your heart, and not words. – I have nothing to give you… My Father. † But you do: your helplessness, defencelessness, insignificance. That is what I desire. I have got everything else and I wish to share it with you” (20 August 1986). “I have to weep over my sinfulness over and over again. † Weep, but at the same time stretch out your arms with hope to me. I am opening your eyes so that you can see yourself in the Truth. Pain cleanses – the pain accompanying the birth of a new human being in you. It will never cease in this life. It will cleanse, improve and sanctify you. Grow to love this pain. Let it become a source of joy and happiness for you. It says that I am close, that I wish to have you next to me” (13 August 1986).

On another occasion, Jesus said:

† Do not think about yourself and heed less what others think of you. It is important what I think of you. And I know everything anyway, regardless of what virtue or vice people around you have noticed in you at a given moment.

I want you to look at everything with my eyes. I wish to teach you proper judgments that generate compassion, understanding and a desire to help without imposing oneself, one’s tastes, views and presumed virtues. Sainthood is in daily life, in bearing with the small and insignificant. In giving thanks for the boring and tiring. In bearing with people: their drive to dominate, their garrulousness, their pettiness, their lack of self-control. Develop in yourself opposite characteristics and my Love for them – patience and compassion. View everything from the angle of the needs of My Kingdom and not from that of your liking. View your every thought, word and deed with my eyes – are they conducive to the building of my Kingdom in the hearts of people and in your heart? The greatest sacrifice is carrying out everyday duties with honesty and goodness, being helpful and loving in all circumstances (31 August 1986).

Through Alicja’s example, Jesus makes us aware that He gives us all necessary graces, but we have to make the effort to accept them. For this reason, we need to impose selfdiscipline on ourselves and organise our daily routine so that we have time for prayer, work and rest. Jesus expects Alicja to abandon everything and follow Him along the path of asceticism among people. He invites her to learn about His great suffering caused by our sins. In reply, she offers her desire to suffer together with Jesus in His way of the cross and readiness to atone for her sins and those of other people. Alicja asks Jesus: “What can be done to alleviate your suffering? † Trust me, remember me, bestow your love on me – great love to distraction. I want you to desire me even more. Let this desire consume you. Let it become your only reality. The rest should be like a dream. You vowed allegiance to me – you remember when.”

– What do you expect of me, Jesus?

This is what Jesus answered Alicja and what he answers every one of us:

† A love greater than life and everything that befalls you in this life. I hold all my children to my heart, and all I want of them is pure love. What happened in Jerusalem during my Passion is a material illustration of what is going on in my heart when my children hurt and harm my Love. Every man can help me by not hurting me and by apologising for others with requests and atonement. The greatest expression of love is when a person is willing to assume part of my suffering by participating in it.

On the mystery of the Eucharist This is what Jesus says about the mystery of the Eucharist:

† Eucharist is all about giving thanks. I have also established it so that you can give thanks and develop a thanksgiving attitude in yourselves. All your life ought to be pervaded with thanksgiving and gratitude. It is in this spirit that you should talk to me and address me. Everything that you own and whoever you are is my gift of Love. Absolutely everything. And despite your rebellions and instances of ingratitude, I still love you, await your return and make a continuous sacrifice of myself to save you. This sacrifice is eternal, because it abides and takes places all the time. It is an extra-temporal and timeless Sacrifice. You live in it and breathe it. It saves you every moment of your life. Try to learn the Truth about me, desire it. With the learning, gratitude will grow in you. Conversely, ingratitude is a product of ignorance.

If you knew but a bit of the Truth and were able to probe it, each of you would weep at your own ingratitude. During Mass, I make a sacrifice of myself for you and at the same time come to you first so that you will invite me to your life. In your souls, I make a Sacrifice for you when you receive Holy Communion. I make a Sacrifice of myself in the soul of each person who comes and receives my Body. What should your answer be? Be thankful and offer yourself to me. I have given everything up to you and expect the same of you. That is the value of Communion – meeting to offer ourselves to each other: I and you. It is also a model of encounters between you – people: offer yourselves to each other and receive each other in love, gratitude and forgiveness, as I receive you in Love and forgiveness. Communion is the model attitude towards another person. At the same time, it is a gift of Love, to which the only answer is gratitude and love. A covenant of Love.

I hide myself so that you are not captivated by the magnificence of my gift.

On another occasion, Jesus said:

† I came to love you before the act of creation and gave birth to you out of Love. Love is fertile: it desires to be given and make others happy. I wanted to share Love – give and receive it. Receive it from the heartfelt need to do so, voluntarily and disinterestedly. Such love can be given to me by man only – a creature free to make their own decisions, because they have not come to the full knowledge of, not experienced, the magnitude of my beauty, Love and the happiness of living with me and in me. I hide myself so that you are not captivated by the magnificence of my gift. I wish for you happiness that no human being can imagine or sense.

The entire history of mankind and the history of every man is conducted by me in such a way as to make you prepared for union with me in eternity. Now you can have contact with me through prayer, meditation of my life, Word and signs I have given to you and continue to give. The most telling sign is my presence in the Eucharist. I am hidden in the Host, and through its consumption a soul meets me, living and real, although hidden from the mind and senses. I can be explored and touched with a loving and trusting heart – the heart of a child. The greater the faith and love, the stronger the union with me and the deeper the exploration. Be wary of thoughtlessness and indifference when receiving me in Holy Communion. That is a great sin and profanation of my Love and my Gift born of the Blood of Golgotha. My child, how very much I have to conceal myself so as not to smite your soul with the burning fires of my Love and not lay waste to your body with the passion of my Fatherly tenderness. But I love so much and wish to be loved (3 April 2002).


The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in September 2020.

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