Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe
The twentieth century was the worst in history, not principally because of the unprecedented scale of the slaughter that took place, but because of the diabolical lengths to which regime after regime sought to dehumanize their victims in the process. Today we commemorate a Polish Franciscan whose road to sanctity passed through Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp that has become shorthand for the evils of the age.
St. Maximilian serves as my personal reminder that God is always near and offering his grace, no matter how bad the circumstances become. For if it is possible to be a saint in Auschwitz, it is possible to be a saint anywhere, in any situation. I find great comfort in this, wondrous proof of the goodness of God and of his love for mankind. But the corollary is that I—we—have to be mature enough not to use ill circumstances to justify our lack of faith, hope, or charity. We must, instead, trust as St. Maximilian did in the God whose love is greater than all the forces of evil that ravage the world in any age.