St. Maximilian served and praised God with his entire life
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14, 2021): JOS 24:14-29; PS 16:1-2,5,7-8,11; MT 19:13-15
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He later took the name Maximilian Maria and was ordained in 1918... He was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982.
Born in Poland in 1894 with the given name Rajmund, St. Maximilian Kolbe was dedicated to Almighty God from his early years. He also had a deep love of the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he called the Immaculata. At age 13, he entered a minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans. He later took the name Maximilian Maria and was ordained in 1918. He became interested in using the media to spread devotion to God, the Catholic Church, and Mary. In addition to magazines, newspapers, and a radio station, he also founded several monasteries including one in Japan and another in India. After the outbreak of World War II and the capture of Poland, Maximilian was arrested, but released. He continued his printing efforts and issued several anti-Nazi publications. He was again arrested in 1941 and eventually sent to Auschwitz. After a man escaped, commanders arbitrarily choose 10 prisoners to die of starvation as a warning to all.
It was at this time that the priest made a stunning decision. When one of the prisoners chosen for death called out that he had a wife and children, Maximilian stepped forward and said he would take the man’s place. He was sent to the death cell with the nine others. Witnesses later said that they could hear him leading the others in hymns and prayers. After two weeks, only St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe was still alive. They gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid what he accepted quietly and willingly. He died on this date and his body was cremated the next day, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. He was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982. The man whose life he saved was present on both occasions. St. Maximilian served and praised God with his entire life. He also realized the need for all people to understand the need to make a commitment to the Lord, saying, “The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.”