Today is the Feast Day of Saint Maximillian Kolbe, a 20th century Franciscan monk. He died in the Auschwitz concentration camp, in Poland, during World War II. In true Christian fashion, he laid down his life for another person, by volunteering to take the place of another man. This one action shows fortitude, courage, bravery, and self-giving love in a truly Christ-like manner. Who among us could say that we would have the strength of faith to do the same? At the time of his death, he was only 47 years old. But what he accomplished, in such a short life, is forever memorable.
Maximillian Kolbe’s Love for the Immaculate Conception
As a young boy, Mary, the Immaculate Conception, appeared to Maximillian Kolbe and offered him a choice between two crowns; one white, for perseverance in piety, and the other red, for martyrdom. Maximillian bravely replied that he would accept both crowns. As he grew to adulthood, he developed a strong devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He founded the Militia Immaculata, in Mary’s honor, aimed at converting sinners and bringing souls to Christ through Mary, as our spiritual Mother.
Maximillian Kolbe was obsessed with the mystery of Mary as the Immaculate Conception. He continuously pondered the concept; trying to make sense of it. Then, on the day of his execution, he wrote a reflection answering this question: Who are you O Immaculate Conception? His answer: There are two Immaculate Conceptions; one created (Mary) and one uncreated (the Holy Spirit). Kolbe reasoned that the Holy Spirit is an uncreated Immaculate Conception “because, being God he is obviously without sin.” 1 Mary is the created Immaculate Conception because she is the God-bearer. As the Incarnate Word, Jesus deserved a vessel free from sin, to bring Him into this world. Therefore, she is the created Immaculate Conception. With Mary being united with the Holy Spirit as His spouse, the Holy Spirit dwells in her and lives within her. This is the teaching of Saint Maximillian Kolbe.
20th Century Saint
Because of his devotion to Mary, and his desires to bring souls to Christ, Saint Pope John Paul II declared Maximillian Kolbe the patron saint of the 20th century! Happy Feast Day Saint Maximillian Kolbe. Please pray for us, that we may come to treasure Mary as much as you did.
1 Gaitley, Michael E. 33 days to Morning Glory, Stockbridge: Marian Press, Print, 2011, p. 52
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