Today 14 Aug. 10 is the feast day of SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE
So it would be good to call in and have a short chat with him.
JF: I am amazed of your daring move and courageous act St Maximilian, in the midst of that unthinkable horror where you were. I could not imagine myself doing what you’ve done. Anyhow, do you mind telling us about yourself and your mission as priest in the 40’s?
MK: As you may have known, I joined the Conventual Franciscan Order in Poland, because I was really convinced that I am called to be a priest of God.
JF: Yeah, it’s really interesting of you. You stood being a priest even at the cost of your life.
MK: It’s God’s grace. He called me. So he also strengthened me to go on. It’s not my doing.
JF: Have you ever thought of becoming a martyr of our faith?
MK: I just wanted to serve God in my little ways.
JF: I believe that you felt you have this vocation when you were still at a very young age, can you tell us exactly your decisive moment of committing yourself to God, in the priesthood and even to the extent of laying your life for the other to live?
MK: Well, at the age of ten, I had really made this choice to follow Jesus in a fuller way.
JF: What motivated you then?
MK: You know, you might not be convinced of this, but when I was ten years old, I had this childhood crisis.
JF: Wow! That’s serious. So how did you get over with it?
MK: Prayer. Pray hard. I put my trust to our Lady. She is a good mother. Actually she appeared to me.
JF: Oh! Wow! What did she tell you? How does she look?
MK: She appeared to me one day bringing two crowns, one is white and one is gold.
JF: And what was that all about?
MK: The white one stands for purity. The gold one stands for martyrdom. She asked me to choose one.
JF: And obviously, you chose the gold one did you?
MK: No, I chose both.
JF: Wow! What a decision! At that age? You’re amazing Maximilian! And tell us about your life after then, after that big decision you’ve made.
MK: At sixteen, I became a friar in Poland. But it was not a smooth journey. It was not road bedecked with flowers or whatever.
JF: As any other commitment in life, there is never an easy road to fulfil it. But you still managed to go on anyway.
MK: I have been into a period of intense scruples, especially when I studied in Rome. It became worst when I contracted tuberculosis there, when I was studying to the priesthood there.
JF: It must have been a very tough time and trying moment for you.
MK: Indeed! It was also during that time, when there was this strong anti-Catholic influences in every society at the time, it was very difficult to keep up my ideals and the ideals of the church.
JF: Just like today. But what did you do then to at least keep up the spirit of the Catholic ideals?
MK: I established the Militia of the Immaculate.
JF: What was that all about? What was the motivation?
MK: We were to serve as apostles who would convert and sanctify souls through the mediation of Mary our mother. And indeed, it strengthened us to go on despite the war, the terror of that time.
JF: But one thing notable of you, in fact the very thing by which you’ll be remembered forever was your daring act to take the place of a prisoner to be executed in the Nazi concentration camp. Can you tell me something more about it?
MK: Everyday, some prisoners were killed by the Nazis; some were used as game of hunt for the soldiers, which was really unbearable.
JF: You know, or you might already have this sense that one of those days, you’d all be killed, but what happen on that day when you volunteered to take the place of this other prisoner who was supposed to be killed?
MK: I was moved with pity. I just loved him. I am priest. He’s a father with a wife and kids. He was chosen as one of those prisoners to be executed, to correspond to the number of those who had escaped from the Auschwitz camp earlier. So I had to come up and take his place,
JF: What was the way of execution did you undergo then?
MK: We were slowly killed by starvation. I was one of those who survived for a few days, but for two weeks with no food, I became very weak. On the eve of the Assumption of Our Lady, the soldiers found me still conscious but very weak, so they had to dispose me and finished me off with a lethal injection.
JF: St Maximilian, you’re such a hero. You’re such a treasure of our faith. Thank you for being our model in our Christian discipleship today. We might not be able to undergo what you’ve been through since it is unique of you only, but your attitude towards it, can open our eyes and hearts to embrace and cherish the faith as well as the Christian vocation we are answering now, in this particular time in our life. Thanks for the time. Cheers!
MK: Always remember this, “good is more contagious than evil; and Sanctity is not a luxury, but a simple duty. It is one of Christ’s first principles: ‘Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This has always been my principle in life.
By 1939 his monthly review Knight of the Immaculate reached a circulation of one million and his headquarters, Niepokalanow near Warsaw, with its 700 Franciscans, was the largest religious house in the Catholic world. He also established a Marian Center in Japan and India.