Sunday, August 14, 2011

St. Maximilian - the Assumption

The feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe is today, and the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is tomorrow. Because Sunday takes precedence, today we celebrate the twentieth Sunday in ordinary time rather than using the Mass prayers for St. Maximilian.

When he was a boy, Our Lady asked him which of two crowns he would like as she held out a white one and a red one. He asked for both, knowing that the white crown represented purity and the red one indicated martyrdom. St. Maximilian, as Franciscan priest in Poland, started the militia of the Immaculata to get more and more souls to Jesus through His immaculate Mother. He began Niepokalnow or Marytown in his friary not too far from Warsaw in order to publish the Immaculata a magazine with the goal of helping people to know and grow in the Faith. Remarkably its circulation grew to more than 750,000 per month. He and the friars also established a radio station. All of this in Poland of the 1930’s. He also traveled with some fellow Franciscans to the far east and established another Marytown in Nagasaki, Japan. It escaped the destruction caused by the atomic bomb which was dropped over Nagasaki in 1945.

He was arrested by the Nazis and sent to the concentration camp at Auschlitz. There in 1944, he offered his own life for a prisoner about to be executed by the commandant. He was sent to a starvation bunker. Impatient with waiting for his demise, after two weeks the commandant ordered his death by an injection of carbolic acid. It was August 14.

St. Maximilian won over many sinners through his media which he established under the guidance of Mary Immaculate. Perhaps we can ponder the great role Our Lady had in his life and in the world through his apostolate. We commemorate her assumption tomorrow. God took her body and soul up to heaven She, who was without sin, did not suffer one of the effects of sin, namely death. Through our devotion to her, we can become more faithful to her Son and lead others to Him too.

Father Stanley

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