Today is the Memorial of St Maximilian Kolbe. He was a Franciscan priest who was martyred in 1941 in the Auschwitz concentration camp when he volunteered to take the place of a husband and father who had been chosen to die by the Nazi prison guards.
St Maximilian had a deep and profound devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. St Maximilian’s title of endearment for Mary was Immaculata, and he founded the Militia Immaculata–which has the goal of sharing with the world how Mary’s intercession and support help us on our journey towards holiness.
Here is an excerpt from St Maximilian’s writing:
Sometimes we ask ourselves, “How can you ever find the courage to become a saint, you who are so weak?” But the weaker we are, the better.
The Immaculata is as it were the “incarnation” of divine mercy. If there is a soul for whom there seems to be no more hope, and if we ask ourselves what is going to happen to it, Mary can lift it to a degree of holiness far beyond that to which it could have ever aspired. Even the weakest, the ones who have strayed farthest, can be rescued by her. You should tell her: “If I am lost and go to hell, others will follow me. But if you stretch out your hand, I could become a great saint and draw many others to heaven.”
Sometimes we doubt; often enough we have failed to be faithful to grace; and so we think ourselves unworthy to receive God’s help. But that is precisely why God has given us our heavenly Mother, to whom he turned over the whole order of his mercy, as though he wished to protect us from his justice. A way has been pointed out to us; and so long as we walk therein we can always obtain God’s grace.
Never must we say that henceforth grace is beyond our reach. Even if we have serious sins on our conscience, we can rise again. All we need is to turn to the Immaculata. So, let the sinner who has fallen come to her in full confidence.
Don’t concentrate your thoughts only on yourself. Saint Paul said: I can do all things in him who strengthens me, and in the same way we can say, “I can do all things, thanks to her who gives me strength”
[From Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, The Marian Teachings of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Br. Richard Arnandez, f.s.c., Tr. © 1977, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL.]
On this evening prior to our celebration of the Immaculata’s Assumption into heaven, may St Maximilian Kolbe intercede for each of us so we may do all things in Him with the Immaculata who gives us strength.