The sun behaind the clouds.

Discussion in 'The Signs of the Times' started by padraig, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I heard a very prominent Briitish Politician and Catholic convert, Shirley Williams talking about her faith the other day. She said that her path to understanding was nine parts philosophy and only one part faith. While I think its true that philosophy can indeed bring us to the very gateway of faith the vast majority of people, like myself have not formerly studied subjects such as Pholosophy, theology, logic or metaphysics. For myself the pathway to faith is mostly what I see with the eye of the heart.

    For instance love seems to me to be at the very centre of everything, sometimes in very unusual and extraordinary ways..and since we know God is love this is how we would expect His obedient creation to behave...

    We know for instance that many, many mothers would gladly offer up their lives for their children. Some scientists would say this is not love but self interest. That the mother in sacrificing herself is merely engaging in a selfish effort to protect her own genetic material. However even beyond this we see the most remarkable instances of people laying down their own lives but even for complete strangers. Jesus said:

    John 15:13

    "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

    But the person who lays down his life for a stranger goes even beyond this. Love itself being self giving and the best definiton of the Holy Trinity is love giving love, Father Son and Holy Spirit. As is often portrayed in Russian icons.

    In the life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe we see the sun shinning through the clouds in a totally miraculous fashion as he laid down his life for a complete stranger in the great darkness of a Nazi Concentration Camp:

    The roll call one July morning at Block Fourteen, where Saint Maximilian was being kept, revealed that a prisoner had escaped. Commandant Fritch’s policy in such cases was to assemble all the prisoners from the block in the yard where they would stand at attention the whole day. If, by the end of the day, the escapee had not been recovered, ten others would be chosen at random to die in his place - death by starvation.

    By three o’clock the prisoner was still not found and Fritch selected his victims. One of them, Francis Gajowniczek, cried out, “My poor wife, my poor children! What will happen to my family!” At that moment another prisoner stepped up to the commandant with hat in hand. Fritch bellowed, “What does this Polish pig want?”

    The reply came: “I am a Catholic priest from Poland. I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.”

    A Witness recalls, “From astonishment, the commandant appeared unable to speak. After a moment he gave a sign with the hand. He spoke but one word: ‘Away!’ Gajowniczek received the command to return to the row he had just left. In this manner Father Maximilian took the place of the condemned man.”

    From the hour that Father Kolbe descended into the starvation bunker - dark, cold underground cells of torture where human beings were left naked without any food or water to shrivel up and die in unspeakable agony - from that hour a great change came over the horrible place. Its keepers testify that the wailing and cries of suffering that earlier reverberated off the bunker’s walls were now converted into prayers and hymns. The change, in fact, was seen throughout the whole camp. Beatings were less frequent and less severe after the holy man’s sacrifice. Even Fritch himself took no more hostage - victims to die in the place of escapees.

    “Never before,” said the guards, “have we seen anything like this.” When they made their morning rounds at the bunker to remove starvation - consumed corpses, they would find among the heaps of agonized, half-dead victims one who was always in prayer on his knees or standing, one who was always bright and fully conscious, one who was always peaceful and well kept. That one was Father Kolbe. “As if in ecstasy, his face was radiant. His body was spotless, and one could say that it radiated light,” an attendant reports. “I will never forget the impression this made on me.”

    After two weeks, the saintly priest was still alive and in this same beautiful state. The Germans needed the cell, however, and could wait no longer for him to die. On the morning of August 14, 1941, the director of the infirmary came with a syringe loaded with a lethal dose of carbolic acid. Upon entering the saint’s cell, Maximilian cheerfully offered the executioner his arm for the injection, and with it the frail remnant of his life for God. The next day, on the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption, the body of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe was cremated, thus ironically fulfilling his dearest dream of immolating himself completely: “I would like to use myself completely up in the service of the Immaculata, and to disappear without leaving a trace, as the winds carry my ashes to the far corners of the world….”


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