We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth. (1 Jn 3:14-18)
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe. A Conventual Franciscan, he dedicated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 1941, along with many others, he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. It was there that he had the opportunity to let others see how God was such an instrumental part of his life.
There had been an escape from the concentration camp. Per the Nazis’ orders, whenever one person escaped, ten were put to death.
The commandant went down a line and picked ten people at random to die. One of the prisoners wept bitterly because of the family he would be leaving. Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward and asked the commandant if he could take the place of the prisoner who was chosen.
The commandant looked in disbelief and asked, “Who are you?!” Kolbe’s response was simple: “A priest”.
He was allowed to take the place of the condemned man. Led to the starvation bunkers where they would die a cruel death, Kolbe was calm. There was no crying or shouting that came out of the bunkers. Kolbe led the other nine condemned men in constant prayer and song. Finally, as everyone else had died and the bunker was needed for more prisoners to be put to death, the Germans entered the bunker and, finding Kolbe still alive, injected him with carbolic acid in order to kill him.
He did all of this because he was “a priest” and knew what he must do.
If anyone asked us, “Who are you?”, what would our answer be?
“A follower of God?”
Who are you?
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who suffer cruelly at the hands of others because they cling to belief in Jesus.