Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spiritual Life


Readings for Saturday, August 14/St. Maximilian Kolbe:
Ezekiel 18:1-10,13,30-32
Psalm 51:12-15,18-19
Matthew 19:13-15

“I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord God. Return and live!”

These words from the lips of the prophet Ezekiel are speaking not of a simple earthly life and death, but of a spiritual life and death. To experience spiritual death is to be separated from the Lord, which He surely does not desire. Rather, He desires that each of us follow after Him in the path of life. This comes by having a childlike simplicity. For this reason Jesus calls the little children to Himself and says that the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as they – they love deeply, the trust fully, and the follow faithfully. A child does not doubt that their parents will care for them, they assume in fact that opposite. So must we be with the Lord.

Today we have as a model of this childlike faith the 20th century martyr Maximilian Kolbe. It is said that as a child the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and held out two crowns, one white and the other red and told him to choose one. He chose both. These were the crowns of martyrdom. For a number of years he worked as a Franciscan Friar, establishing a community called the Militia Immaculata and serving those in need around him. The white crown was shown in his selfless service of others, especially in his time in the concentration camp Auschwitz. There he often gave of his own sustenance to those in need and in the end merited the red crown by offering up his life in the place of a father who had been condemned. He died a physical death but more alive spiritually than most of those around him could ever know.

As we celebrate Saint Maximilian’s entry into eternal life today and anticipate tomorrow’s celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven, let us call on the aid of Mary, who stands as a mother always ready to help us. Let us pray that we, too, might have a childlike faith and love that will always find us close to Our Lord. Amen.