On this date in 1941, Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan priest, died at Auschwitz. In reprisal for an escape from Auschwitz, ten men were chosen to be starved to death in an underground bunker. One of the men cried out, “my wife! my children!” and St. Kolbe volunteered to take his place. He was the last survivor on August 14 and was given an injection of carbolic acid to hasten his death. His remains were cremated on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
If I keep this in mind today, I don’t think I have any problems. My only problem is my self. But as St. Kolbe tells me:
“How many times have we heard resigned or even desperate expressions such as: I can’t succeed, I can’t make it, I lack the strength!
Undoubtedly, in the physical field the energies we have are limited: it would be useless for someone to try to lift a weight of a few tons with only one hand.
But also in the moral field, we sometimes happen to hear this same lament: I cannot get rid of this fault; I’m too weak to decide to acquire this virtue; this is too much for me!
But is it really true we cannot make it, as we claim? If we listen to St. Paul, he expressedly says: “I have strength for everything!” Still, the complete phrase says: “In him who is the source of my strength… I have strength for everything!” (Phil 4:13). And “For apart from me,” Jesus himself says, “you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
Because if God asks something from us, he surely provides us with the energy we need to carry out his will, on condition that we do not neglect to do our part.
We require God’s grace in order to function, and our soul can surely obtain that grace through prayer.”
— St. Maximilian Kolbe