Today, we honor St. Maximilian Kolbe, who Pope John Paul II called “the Martyr of Charity” upon his canonization. By volunteering to die in place of a complete stranger within the evil confines of Auschwitz, Kolbe vividly manifested Christ’s love, even as he himself paid the ultimate price. His martyrdom means so much, and on so many levels, in our modern world. It goes beyond the profound truth of his sacrifice, and reminds us that if this holy man could bring about love in that most debased creation of human cruelty, we too can strive to bring about the seed of love all around us.
Because of his gift of hope and love in an environment of abject horror, he is also the patron saint of addicts, prisoners, political prisoners, journalists, and many other people fighting against the particularly modern forms of evil.
“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?” – St. Maximilian Kolbe