Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
The passages on this great feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe are wonderful! The gospel passage today reminds me of my dear aunt Mary Joel who died at nine months old on January 8, 1966. On that day, 72 years earlier Raymond Kolbe was born.
In the Gospel, we hear “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” My grandparents could have chosen to be mad at God for the rest of their lives. But my grandfather said one time, “I am most grateful for my wife, I was going down a path, especially after the death of Mary that I was not too sure about, and we lifted each other up and kept going.”
In the first reading we hear, “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” This is what my grandparents did until the day they died! I still remember the last conversation I had with my grandmother two days before she died. She was in the hospital and was diagnosed with brain cancer. She said to me, “Br. Maximilian, I am so grateful because our family is so strong! I accept God’s will but pray that I don’t chicken out!” In the end, she let nothing get in her way and truly laid down her life to follow the will of God, just like St. Maximilian Kolbe did 80 years ago today.
As St. Maximilian Kolbe once said, “May our spirit of self-offering to the Immaculata be regenerated… till we commit ourselves in endeavors worthy of true knights, with the intent of conquering for her all the souls living now and those who will in the future.” I pray that you all have a wonderful feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. +
Reflection by Br. Maximilian Burkhart, OSB