August 14, 2015
St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe
Mt 19: 3-12
Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Life and Death
The Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo after the Nazi conquest of Poland. He was then sent to the prison in Auschwitz, Germany. The documents for his canonization contain first- person testimony of his selfless outreach to other prisoners, even at the cost of humiliation by guards and other prisoners.
In his diary St. Maximilian wrote the following: “No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner struggle. Beyond armies of occupation and the slaughter in the extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depths of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?”
After a prisoner escaped, ten others were chosen at random to die…including a young father. Maximilian offered to take the place of this man and was executed at Auschwitz in 1941.
Few of us have the opportunity to give our very lives. What “piece” of myself can I give away today in service to someone else?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord Jesus Christ, you said that “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe,
whose life illustrated such selfless love, may I give my time and energy, my life and love to the service of your world and its people. I pray this day through the intercession of Mary, your mother and ours. Amen.
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