St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe: Martyr of Eucharistic Love

 “My aim is to institute perpetual adoration,” spoke St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Franciscan priest and founder of the Knights of the Immaculata.  This dream which he considered “the most important activity” was near his reach, for “if half of the Brothers would work, and the other half pray, this would not require too much.”

 The life of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe was spent wholly out of Love for the Eucharist and Our Lady.  With tenderness he wrote of how Our Heavenly Mother always leads us to her Son, “Let us give ourselves to the Immaculata [Mary].  Let her prepare us, let her receive Him [Jesus] in Holy Communion.  This is the manner most perfect and pleasing to the Lord Jesus and brings great fruit to us.”  Because “the Immaculata knows the secret, how to unite ourselves totally with the heart of the Lord Jesus...  We do not limit ourselves in love.  We want to love the Lord Jesus with her heart, or rather that she would love the Lord with our heart.”

When St. Maximilian was a young boy Mary appeared to him.  She held out to him two crowns: martyrdom and purity, asking him to choose.  Like St. Therese, The Little Flower, he said “I choose all!” It was this boundless and dauntless love of Our Mother that led this zealous Saint to resolve to spend “half a day in thanksgiving and half in preparation for Holy Communion.”  Those who knew him compared him to St. Stanislaus Kostka, the young boy whose life gleamed like a bright candle before the Eucharistic Throne.  St. Maximilian visited Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament more than ten times a day!  He was often found with his eyes transfixed on Jesus, The Living Host of Love.

 Powerfully, Our Lady led this her faithful and beloved son into deep unity with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.  When St. Maximilian opened a house for his brothers in Japan, they lived lives of Adoration there.  As he spoke to his spiritual sons of Jesus: “He is the first citizen of Niepokalanow [the name for the community house], the elder Brother and Bridegroom of souls, present in the Eucharist; He makes us brothers, He warms our hearts with mutual love.”  Surely this love was a burning flame, stronger than hatred, stronger than death.  At the end of World War II when Nagasaki was bombed and almost entirely annihilated, St. Maximilian’s community house remained standing, unharmed.

 

 

 While Fr. Maximilian was living at the community house in Poland during World War II, he was arrested by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz.  What was the crime of this great lover of God?  He spoke the truth, he proclaimed The Light of Jesus in the Eucharist amidst the darkness of the world.  He spoke out against that which tried to overcome the Light.  During his imprisonment at this camp of horrors St. Maximilian continued to share the light and love of Our Eucharistic Jesus to those around Him, in a hidden and little way like that of the Immaculata.  Although he wasn’t able to spend time where Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament dwells, he remained united to His Eucharistic Heart spiritually through the heart of Our Mother.

 One day a prisoner escaped.  The penalty for such a crime was the starvation of ten prisoners.  Mercilessly, the men were rounded up and made to stand beneath the sweltering sun for hours.  Then the commander “naturally selected” the ten men.  When the last man was chosen he began screaming, weeping and pleading with the Nazi leader, “My poor wife!  My poor children!  How will they survive?”  Watching the scene, Fr. Maximilian knew that his time had come.  Now he was to advance down the road and receive his final crown.  Walking fearlessly, for Our Lady and Lord walked with him, St. Maximilian stood before the commander and requested to starve in place of the man.  Learning that he was a Roman Catholic priest, the leader eagerly complied.
 Days passed, St. Maximilian and the nine other men remained in the starvation bunker.  Yet, prayers and hymns to the Immaculata resounded from the barren cell.  In the face of the cruelest death, Fr. Maximilian sang of the most wondrous life.  For like St. Ignatius of Antioch who loved the Blessed Sacrament so dearly and constantly told the people that it was really the Body and Blood of Jesus they received, “he gave his flesh to the lions for love of Jesus,” dying finally  by a lethal injection  (Rev. Daniel A. Lord, S. J.).

 In the martyrdom of St. Maximilian his mission is poignantly clear.  Love the Immaculata!  Dare to spend yourself fully that Jesus may be perpetually adored throughout the world!  For as the Saint wrote,
 
“Niepokalanow is a home like Nazareth.  The Father is God the Father, the mother and
mistress of the home is the Immaculata, the firstborn son and our brother is Jesus in the
most Holy Sacrament of the altar. All the younger brothers try to imitate the elder Brother
in love and honour towards God and the Immaculata, our common parents, and from the
Immaculata they try to love the divine elder Brother, the ideal of sanctity who deigned to
come down from heaven to be incarnated in her and to live with us in the tabernacle...  The
whole world is a large Niepokalanow where the Father is God, the mother the Immaculata,
the elder brother the Lord Jesus in all the tabernacles of the world, and the younger
brothers the people.”

 Let us love and honor His Eucharistic Heart today through Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, as was St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe’s most ardent dream.  Then we will have answered the Immaculata’s call to adore her Eucharistic Son and their Reign will come.

Copyright 1998, M.B.S.  All rights reserved.

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe Eucharistic Quotes:

"God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar."

"He remains among us until the end of the world. He dwells on so many altars, though so often offended and profaned."

"The culmination of the Mass is not the consecration, but Communion."

"You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!"

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion."

- St. Maximilian Kolbe

"Let us give ourselves to the Immaculata. Let her prepare us, let her receive Him in Holy Communion. This is the manner most perfect and pleasing to the Lord Jesus and brings great fruit to us."

- St. Maximilian Kolbe
 

- From the writings of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe:

"Niepokalanow is a home like Nazareth. The Father is God the Father, the mother and mistress of the home is the Immaculata, the firstborn son and our brother is Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. All the younger brothers try to imitate the elder Brother in love and honor towards God and the Immaculata, our common parents, and from the Immaculata they try to love the divine elder Brother, the ideal of sanctity who deigned to come down from heaven to be incarnated in her and to live with us in the tabernacle...

"The whole world is a large Niepokalanow where the Father is God, the mother the Immaculata, the elder brother the Lord Jesus in all the tabernacles of the world, and the younger brothers the people."

"My aim is to institute perpetual adoration," he said, for this is the "the most important activity."

"My aim is to institute perpetual adoration," spoke St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Franciscan priest and founder of the Knights of the Immaculata. For he said that this is "the most important activity," and "if half of the Brothers would work, and the other half pray, this would not require too much."

"God dwells in our midst in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar"

- St. Maximilan Kolbe