When you love someone deeply, you can find it difficult to focus on just certain aspects about him that you love. You want to talk about everything. It's not just this or that, but the entire collection of traits, the stories surrounding him, the feeling you get around him.
Likewise, I find it difficult to explain exactly what St. Maximilian Kolbe means to me. I'll just jot a few thoughts down then ...
Saint Max has been my Papa Kolbe since I was 12 and in dire need of a good, strong Catholic papa around. From the moment he entered my life during a homily at my Confirmation Mass, he has had a strong grip on me. A few times, I let go of him, but he always called after me to come back to the Church, come back to Christ, love Mary ...
I'm a practicing Catholic today, no doubt, because of his strong intercession.
In his earthly life, St. Max wrote, taught, preached, and lived his faith with a profound sense of charity, sacrifice, and humility. To learn about him is to learn how to pray more deeply and to surrender in the smaller sacrifices of the everyday.
St. Maximilian Kolbe is a patron saint known for this supreme act of sacrifice. At Auschwitz, he stepped out from the line of prisoners to tell a Nazi guard that Max would take the place of a prisoner sentenced to die.
But that sacrifice came from years and years of smaller, hidden sacrifices. "Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and nourished by giving," he wrote. "Without sacrifice, there is no love."
No doubt that he continues to teach us how to love and prays for all God's children. May we learn from his example and strive to serve Christ more lovingly and more sacrificially.
If you'd like to download my free coloring page of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, feel free to do so!