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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

St Maximilian Kolbe

"Be patient with me, and I will pay you back." Mt 18:29

St Maximilian Kolbe, who offered his life for another prisoner at the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz, was drawn to a military life as a boy, but soon after entering the seminary he realized that the fight God wanted him to enter was a spiritual one. Although he imagined his life as a "long war", he focused not on the failures of those to whom he was preaching, but on their strengths, and it was this strategy that fostered his work of evangelizing Western Europe and Japan.

Maximilian never forget that it is impossible to pay back God, and this knowledge drove him to pour out his life in gratitude for all God had given him. The gift of life and the gift of faith are pure gifts, not something we earn or deserve. God chooses to give us life and sustain us in it because of God's goodness, not our worth. More important, we cannot earn salvation. God wants us to be with him forever. It is as simple as that. Like a parent, God desires only good for his children and wants them to live in peace forever.

The Gospel of Matthew can be confusing in this regard. When Jesus, hoping to teach his disciples about the mercy of God, tells a story about a kind King he wants them to believe that God is patient. Even more, he wants them, like Maximilian Kolbe, to be patient with one another. God's patience, though beyond our reach, will always be our goal because God will always be patient with us. No matter how far we stray from the Gospel, God will forever be ready for us to turn back to a full Gospel life.

Today,  be as patient with yourself as God is with you.

How would you counsel others to live patiently?

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