Memorial of Saint Maximillian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr, August 14, 2019
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”
For where two or three are a gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Do you ever wonder if Jesus hears your prayers? Are there days life feels almost unbearable? Are these thoughts or feelings from Jesus?
Why would we ever doubt that Jesus would hear our prayers?
Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Maximillian Kolbe. Saint Maximillian Kolbe was a polish Franciscan Priest. As a little boy, he had a dream that Mother Mary came to him and offered him two crowns, asking which one he would choose. One was white for purity, and the other red for martyrdom. He told her he wanted both, and she smiled.
Saint Maximillian had always wanted to be a soldier. Something had prevented this from happening and so he became a soldier for Christ and entered the Franciscan Order. He is known for using the newest media forms at the time (newspapers, magazines and film) to help evangelization efforts. He even had dreams of opening a film studio.
Saint Maximillian spent six years in Japan and was able to help establish Catholic media there as well as a thriving monastery.
He was arrested in 1941 and transported to Auschwitz. There was news of a prisoner escaping and so officials chose 10 prisoners to be sentenced to death by starvation. One of the prisoners chosen cried out for mercy for his family and Saint Maxilmillian Kolbe volunteered to take his place. They were taken to the cell where they were to die and those in the camp who survived said they heard them singing hymns and praying, praising God. Two weeks later, on the Eve of the Assumption of Mary (August 14), Saint Maximillian and three others were still alive and officials sped up their death through lethal injection of carbolic acid.
Saint Maximillian Kolbe lived his life in Charity, fighting for souls to be won for Christ. When he was in Rome, he saw people protesting against the Catholic faith. He pondered how these protesters were so vocal and so organized in their efforts, while so many “believers” watched.
There is a story of a raging stream that has many souls being tumbled down it. Some are able to get a footing and start walking up stream toward safety, away from the fall down stream. Some just cannot manage to stand, they are too weak. Those that can stand try taking steps, standing is a chore in itself and taking steps is a fight against the constantly raging waters. Some of the souls that are able to stand reach out to those tumbling past them in the water and try to help them stand. As they struggle together to get a footing, they both fall to the rapidly moving water. In their persistence, they do manage to get a foot on the ground and lean into the oncoming water to stand up. As they become stronger, they are able to reach out to others in the stream tumbling by. The stream rages and the fight to stay standing and moving up stream is constant. Some of the souls have lost hope and just fall to the waters roar. They float and roll and tumble to their demise.
Saint Maximillian worked tirelessly to save souls for Christ. His final act of Charity became a lasting legacy of Love that continues to save souls today.
PAPA members share in Saint Maximillian Kolbe’s desire to save souls. Saint John Vianney said, “A priest goes to heaven or a priest goes to hell with a thousand people behind.” One of the ways we PAPA members carry out our mission is through PRAYER. In our PAPA Handbook page 8, 2.1 states:
PRAY: With confidence “Jesus is with us always,” we also want “to be with Jesus always.” We will accomplish this by praying always. Our Lord Jesus promised us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst” (Matthew 18:20).
We can make a difference. Let us pray together, with confidence, our PAPA Prayer for Priests, and save souls!
Mary Queen of Apostles — Make our Priests Holy.
St. John Vianney — Pray for us.
St. Alphonsus — Pray for us.