August 14 is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who chose early in his life to spend every minute of that life working to help bring the Kingdom of Christ to his fellow man. He was a priest dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is fitting that his own feast falls on the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
Maximilian Kolbe, Pray for Us
Early in his life, Kolbe vowed to remain pure and chaste as a priest, and he prayed for the crown of martyrdom. He devoted his life and energy to form an order dedicated to bringing souls to Christ, and he traveled to Japan where he saw a desperate need for conversions to the Faith. He also sought to convert men who belonged to the secret society of the Order of Masons, who were dedicated to destroying the Catholic Church.
Fr. Kolbe is probably best known for freely making the ultimate sacrifice, giving his own life in a Nazi concentration camp, when he volunteered to stand in for a stranger who had been selected to die of starvation after a fellow prisoner had attempted to escape.
Ten men were singled out to be put into the starvation cells. When one of those selected cried out that he had a wife and children, Kolbe, touched by the man’s plight, asked if he could take the man’s place.
While in the starvation cell Kolbe mustered up the courage of the other prisoners and led them in prayer and singing as they all offered their suffering for the salvation of others, and died in the grace of Christ. Kolbe was the last to die, and he had to be injected with poison. Kolbe had told the Kommandant, when he took the married prisoner’s place, “I’m just a priest. I’ll go instead of him.”
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, President of Human Life International, said in regard to Fr. Kolbe’s martyrdom, that what our over-feminized world needs most is real men, willing to sacrifice themselves for others, remaining chaste and strong in the face of trials and temptation, rather than irresolute wimps who let the world pass them by as they seek only comfort and pleasure. We need men like Maximilian Kolbe, priest, missionary, spiritual father, martyr of brotherly love, and true son of Mary. St Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us, and pray for manly men.
Holy Mother of God, Pray for Us
The feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, body and soul, is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church. It was to a great extent Father Maximilian Kolbe’s powerful dedication to Mary that gave him the courage to volunteer to take another prisoner’s place in the starvation cell. Let us ask for that kind of dedication to the Mother of God, and that kind of love of our fellow man.