Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
Saint of the day
Saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)
Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894 with the name Raimund Kolbe. He attended a Franciscan seminary as a teen, where he took the name Maximilian. Despite having tuberculosis, he was ordained a Franciscan priest and earned two doctoral degrees. He began publishing a spiritual newsletter that served more than 200,000 people of Poland, preparing a nation to persevere during the coming trials of Nazi terror and communist occupation. After six years of missionary work in Japan, Father Kolbe returned to Poland in 1936, and continued his work as a theologian and newspaper editor, and he entered radio ministry. Then in 1939 the Nazis invaded Poland. After a brief arrest, Father Kolbe turned his monastery into a refuge for Polish refugees and 1,500 Jews. His papers took a Polish patriotic, anti-Nazi line. Within two years Father Kolbe was arrested for taking a stand against Nazi oppression. Father Kolbe was sent to the prison camp at Auschwitz. Within the camp he continued his priestly ministry by hearing confessions and saying Mass with smuggled bread and wine. After some prisoners tried to escape, the warden chose 10 men at random to die by starvation. Father Kolbe offered his life for the life of another man who had a wife and children. His last days were spent in a starvation chamber before he was finally killed with a lethal injection. Father Kolbe is a modern-day example of resisting evil with nonviolent love. His feast day is August 14. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")
Maximilian is a modern example of sainthood to which we should all aspire. He spread the gospel, helped the poor, opposed oppression, and sacrificed his life to save another. As Christians, we should always be ready to do as Maximilian did. He was courageous, intelligent, compassionate, selfless and righteous. These wonderful qualities, although exceptional, are qualities that you have within you. Think of times when you act in a courageous or compassionate way. Think of how you could more consistently act with such virtue in your life.
Dear Jesus, help me to have the wisdom to recognize situations where I can show your love and the character to act courageously, compassionately, and altruistically in those situations.
Liturgical season information
Place in Year: Ordinary Time
Color of decorations and priest's vestments: Red
Reading 1: Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 66:1-3a, 5 and 8, 16-17
Alleluia: 2 Corinthians 5:19
Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20View complete readings on USCCB.org