Friday, August 14, 2009
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE (1894-1941)
Today’s saint, a Polish Franciscan, is known as “a martyr of charity” because in the Auschwitz concentration camp he offered to take the place of a man who had been selected to die in the starvation bunker as a punishment for another prisoner’s escape. He gave his life so that the other man, a husband and father, could survive to care for his family. Millions—Jews and Christians—died as a result of the horror of Nazism. Today millions are exiled from their homes by conflicts of various kinds and others are persecuted for the faith. We lift them up in prayer as we reflect on Pope Benedict’s words spoken at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem last May. They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names: these are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving fellow prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again. Most of all, their names are forever fixed in the memory of Almighty God. One can rob a neighbor of possessions, opportunity or freedom. One can weave an insidious web of lies to convince others that certain groups are undeserving of respect. Yet, try as one might, one can never take away the name of a fellow human being. Sacred Scripture teaches us the importance of names in conferring upon someone a unique mission or a special gift. … May the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be denied, belittled or forgotten! And may all people of goodwill remain vigilant in rooting out from the heart of man anything that could lead to tragedies such as this! Prayer: Gracious God, you filled your priest and martyr, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, with zeal for souls and love for his neighbor. Through the prayer of this devoted servant of Mary Immaculate, grant that in our efforts to serve others for your glory we too may become like Christ your Son, who loved his own in the world even to the end, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Things to Do: Offer a Mass, say a rosary for those who suffer in the world today from man's inhumanity. Pray for an end to abortion, many nations holocaust. Read about Auschwitz and ponder the modern gas chambers in several countries of the world and resolve to do all that you can to end the killing. Patron: Drug addiction; drug addicts; families; imprisoned people; journalists; political prisoners; prisoners; pro-life movement.