August 14, 2008

Maximilian Kolbe

I was just looking at my kitchen calendar and saw Maximilian Kolbe's name on today's date. I just recently posted about a Jewish lady turned Catholic who died at Auschwitz. Maximilian was a Catholic priest who died in Auschwitz on this day in 1941.

Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan priest who actually volunteered to die. The man to tell his story was a family man, and was at the beatification of Kolbe. Kolbe was "a martyr of charity", not martyred out of hatred for his faith, but because of his love- willing to sacrifice his life for another, a stranger.

Ten men were to die in the prison camp. The commandant walked randomly picking out people. Maximiliam stepped out asking, "I would like to take that man's place. He has a wife and children." "Who are you?" "A priest." No name, just number 16670.

There's more to his story: having lived as a missionary in Japan and in India, and running a magazine and radio station, and housing refugees, many of whom were Jewish.

I simply remember his willingness to lay down his life for another. Do I have that much love?
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