Today is the commemoration of the death of Maximilian Mary Kolbe, an Apostle of Consecration to Mary, a Saint, and a martyr. I also named our youngest son, John Maximilian or "Max", after him; especially because of Kolbe's self-entrustment to Mary.
Saint John Paul II in his homily on the Canonization day of Maximilian Mary Kolbe said:
"From today on, the Church desires to address as "Saint" a man who was granted the grace of carrying out these words of the Redeemer in an absolutely literal manner." For towards the end of July, 1941, when the camp commander ordered the prisoners destined to die of starvation to fall in line, this man-Maximilian Mary Kolbe spontaneously came forward and declared himself ready to go to death in the place of one of them. This readiness was accepted and, after more than two weeks of torment caused by starvation, Father Maximilian's life was ended with a lethal injection on August 14, 1941."
Today, I pray for all those who have died---children and adults---in the killings caused by war; those who by virtue of being Christian were persecuted and killed. Pope Francis who expressed sentiments on the persecutions in Northern Iraq in his letter to the UN, says: "It is with a heavy and anguished heart that I have been following the dramatic events of these past few days in Northern Iraq where Christians and other religious minorities have been forced to flee from their homes and witness the destruction of their places of worship and religious patrimony (August 13, 2014).
Mary, help of Christians, pray for us.
I pray too that my son emulate the virtues of St. Maximilian Kolbe; his heroism and his holiness -- his Marian devotion. May you grow up son, to be a man of justice, peace, and integrity.