Blog Post - August 14th
S. Maximilian Mary Kolbe| S. Eusebius of Rome| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe
“I don’t know what’s going to become of you!” How many parents have said that? Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s reaction was, “I prayed very hard to Our Lady to tell me what would happen to me. She appeared, holding in her hands two crowns, one white, one red. She asked if I would like to have them—one was for purity, the other for martyrdom. I said, ‘I choose both.’ She smiled and disappeared.” After that he was not the same.
He entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscans in Lvív (then Poland, now Ukraine), near his birthplace, and at 16 became a novice. Though he later achieved doctorates in philosophy and theology, he was deeply interested in science, even drawing plans for rocket ships.
Ordained at 24, he saw religious indifference as the deadliest poison of the day. His mission was to combat it. He had already founded the Militia of the Immaculata, whose aim was to fight evil with the witness of the good life, prayer, work and suffering. He dreamed of and then founded Knight of the Immaculata, a religious magazine under Mary’s protection to preach the Good News to all nations. For the work of publication he established a “City of the Immaculata”—Niepokalanow—which housed 700 of his Franciscan brothers. He later founded one in Nagasaki, Japan. Both the Militia and the magazine ultimately reached the one-million mark in members and subscribers. His love of God was daily filtered through devotion to Mary.
In 1939 the Nazi panzers overran Poland with deadly speed. Niepokalanow was severely bombed. Kolbe and his friars were arrested, then released in less than three months, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
In 1941 he was arrested again. The Nazis’ purpose was to liquidate the select ones, the leaders. The end came quickly, in Auschwitz three months later, after terrible beatings and humiliations.
A prisoner had escaped. The commandant announced that 10 men would die. He relished walking along the ranks. “This one. That one.” As they were being marched away to the starvation bunkers, Number 16670 dared to step from the line. “I would like to take that man’s place. He has a wife and children.” “Who are you?” “A priest.” No name, no mention of fame. Silence. The commandant, dumbfounded, perhaps with a fleeting thought of history, kicked Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek out of line and ordered Father Kolbe to go with the nine. In the “block of death” they were ordered to strip naked, and their slow starvation began in darkness. But there was no screaming—the prisoners sang. By the eve of the Assumption four were left alive. The jailer came to finish Kolbe off as he sat in a corner praying. He lifted his fleshless arm to receive the bite of the hypodermic needle. It was filled with carbolic acid. They burned his body with all the others. He was beatified in 1971 and canonized in 1982.
Father Kolbe’s death was not a sudden, last-minute act of heroism. His whole life had been a preparation. His holiness was a limitless, passionate desire to convert the whole world to God. And his beloved Immaculata was his inspiration.
“Courage, my sons. Don’t you see that we are leaving on a mission? They pay our fare in the bargain. What a piece of good luck! The thing to do now is to pray well in order to win as many souls as possible. Let us, then, tell the Blessed Virgin that we are content, and that she can do with us anything she wishes” (Maximilian Mary Kolbe, when first arrested).
Patron Saint of:
Today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate S. Eusebius of Rome, Martyr
SAINT EUSEBIUS OF ROME, MARTYR
Saint Eusebius date of birth unknown. He died about 357 (?). He was a Roman patrician and priest, and is mentioned with distinction in Latin martyrologies. The ancient genuine martyrology of Usuard styles him confessor at Rome under the Arian emperor Constantius and adds that he was buried in the cemetery of Callistus. Some later martyrologies call him a martyr.
The Church celebrates on this day the memory of Saint Eusebius, who among the Christians of his time distinguished himself by his spirit of prayer and his apostolic virtues. Tradition reports that when he was arraigned, Maxentius, the governor of the Province, interrogated him. Maxentius was furious at the Saint's constancy while he was placed on the rack. Maxentius sentenced him to die by fire at the stake; but his unusual serenity when going to the place of execution caused him to be summoned back to the tribunal, obviously by a particular disposition of Providence.
The Emperor himself being in the region, the governor went to him and told him the prisoner asked to be taken before him. The reason for this request was that there had not been any recent edicts published against the Christians. Saint Eusebius was advanced in age, and the emperor said, after questioning him, What harm is there that this man should adore the God he talks of as superior to all the others? But the brutal Maxentius would not listen, and, like Pilate facing Christ, the Emperor told the persecutors of the accused man to judge the affair themselves. Maxentius therefore sentenced him to be decapitated. Eusebius, hearing the sentence, said aloud, I thank Your goodness and praise Your power, O Lord Jesus Christ, because in calling me to prove my fidelity, You have treated me as one of Yours. His martyrdom occurred towards the end of the third century.
The feast of St. Eusebius is kept on 14 August. This is one of the cases in which we have clear evidence of the historical existence of a person who was afterwards the object of a certain cultus, though the story subsequently told is quite untrustworthy. Eusebius beyond doubt founded what we may call a parish church in Rome which was known as the “titulus Eusebii”. As founder an annual commemoration Mass was offered for him, which in course of time was regarded as a Mass celebrated in his honor, and in 595 we find that the parish was already referred to as the “titulus sancti Eusebii”.
The church of the Equiline in Rome dedicated to him, said to have been built on the site of his house, is mentioned in the acts of a council held in Rome under Pope Symmachus in 498 (Manai, VIII, 236-237), and was rebuilt by Pope Zacharias. Formerly it had a statio on the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent. It once belonged to the Celestines (an order now extinct); Leo XII gave it to the Jesuits. A good picture representing the triumph of Eusebius, by Anton Raphael Mengs, 1759 is on the ceiling. San Eusebio is the title of the cardinal-priest. The title was transferred by Gregory XVI, but restored by Pius IX.
Filling the Void:
When we ignore the Creator and follow our own selfish desires, we end up hurting ourselves. God can live without us, but we can't live without God.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
It is absolutely necessary for you to add to your reading that of the holy books (Scripture and the lives or writings of the saints) so highly recommended by all the holy Fathers of the Church.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236
We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord. As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far. Has it changed your perspective on life? Has it changed you? If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life. If it has not, reflect upon why!
Sometimes we need more than the words we read. We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.” Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper. Read them prayerfully and carefully. Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did. Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.
The Lord wants to do great things in your life! Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!
Reflection 226: The Good Fruit of Mercy
Our Lord had a Heart of perfect Mercy for others. It’s important to note that His Mercy is not only a general concept; rather, it is lived out in concrete action. Specifically, there are many good fruits born of this Mercy such as concrete acts of compassion, kindness, understanding and consolation. This is important to understand. Mercy is not simply some general concept. It’s concrete and practical. It is seen, lived and experienced in daily life. Those who were near Jesus while He lived on Earth would have experienced, first hand, His compassion, kindness, understanding and consolation. Jesus wants to continue offering these to others through you. Commit yourself to these concrete acts so that the Mercy of God will continue to take on flesh in our world (See Diary #1175).
When you look at your own life, and examine all your actions, what do you see? Do you see concrete acts of the Mercy of God shining through? Reflect, today, upon the particulars and specific acts you see or do not see. Know that God’s Mercy shines through you in the smallest of ways. Look for those ways and seek their increase in your life. Do not wait.
Lord, please make me an instrument of Your Mercy in daily acts of kindness, compassion, consolation and understanding. May these good fruits of Your Mercy be alive in my life in small and great ways. I give myself to You for Your Mercy, dear Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.