Taking Inspiration from St Maximilian Kolbe

Friday 14th August 2020

Today is the Feast day of St Maximilian Kolbe, a Saint we can all take inspiration from.

During World War Two, the friary in which St Maximilian lived in provided shelter for 3,000 Polish refugees. The friars shared everything they had with the refugees: feeding, clothing, caring for and housing them. The end of Kolbe’s life came in Auschwitz death camp, where he made died after volunteering to take another man’s place in a starvation chamber.

St Maximilian showed his compassion as a true Christian and made the ultimate sacrifice – giving up his life for another.  He once said: “Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Without sacrifice, there is no love.”

We are currently living through difficult times and the experience of a pandemic. It is easy to become focused on how this affects us personally. But let us use this time – and St Maximilian’s example – to remind ourselves of the responsibility we have as Christians to act responsibly and to care for each other.

We have had to sacrifice a lot over the last few months, whether that is losing special moments with our families and friends and living out our faith differently as we couldn’t gather for Mass.

St Maximilian did not stand up for what is right for the recognition, but his selflessness will have affected the lives of thousands of people. The refugees he helped, the prisoners of Auschwitz who felt a glimmer of hope after hearing of his kindness or even the man whose life he saved. That man, thirty years later, stood as a guest of the Pope at the ceremony at which Maximilian became a Saint.

Our sacrifice to stay at home where we can and to follow the guidelines set for us by the government can no way compare to that of St Maximilian and those Christians who came before us, but our sacrifice can make a difference. It will protect our families and our friends – as well as strangers, other people’s family and friends.

If we care for each other, we care for ourselves. And a glimmer of kindness is something we could all benefit from at the moment.

Let us allow our faith and compassion for others to guide us through the coming months, whatever happens, and let our actions make us ambassadors for Christ.

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