Saturday, February 12, 2011

St Maximilian Kolbe and the Holy Eucharist

".....To celebrate the mass with sentiments of love and with concentration puts the priest and the believer in a state that is more receptive and responsive to the will of God. It is this participation, marked by concentration and fervor, that allows the priest to imitate Christ, to be like him, and to offer his love or humanity once again, since it is the Eucharist itself which is the memorial of the passion and death of the Lord...." from The Eucharistic Dimension in St. Maximilian Kolbe, Fr Raffaele Di Muro , OFM Conv

As a young friar, St Maximilian Kolbe wrote "Holy Communion is nourishment. Only one Holy Communion suffices to make us saints. Everything depends upon our interior disposition and upon preparation. The first half of the day is dedicated to preparing for it; the second half to giving thanks for it."

The Eucharist was thus the source of St Maximilian Kolbe's interior journey, the foundation of his prayer, and the secret of his fruitful apostolate.

The saint himself wrote, in 1938... "There is no better preparation for Holy Communion other than offering it to the Immaculate…She will prepare our heart in the best way possible, and we will be sure to give Jesus the greatest of joys and to show him the greatest of loves...After Holy Communion let us pray to the Immaculate once more, so that she herself may welcome Jesus into our soul and make him happy as no one ever before has been able to do."

This belief is demonstrated in the care with which St Maximilian celebrated Holy Mass..."Fr. Maximilian Kolbe’s participation in the Eucharistic banquet strengthened his desire to be conformed to Christ. Being the memorial of the passion and death of the Lord, it afforded him the opportunity to reflect on the mystery that he intended to live out daily in his spiritual life. The time he spent at Zakopane, which was characterized by sickness and the uncertainty of his future life as a priest and apostle, gave him the possibility to reflect deeply upon the Eucharistic
mystery and the way to celebrate it with the utmost concentration and love. It was in this “desert” that he meditated at length on the value and centrality of the Holy Mass in his life as a religious, priest and missionary. Moreover, the Eucharist is the prayer that benefits one’s neighbor and those most in need of prayer; it was really and truly an exercise of charity. St. Maximilian recommended to the Lord his family, friends, enemies, those who had asked him for prayers, the catholic faithful, the entire Church, and even those in opposition to it. His communion with God enabled him to deepen his communion with his neighbor. Conformity to the Lord and love for him and his neighbor were the most beautiful fruits that he
derived from celebrating the mass with extraordinary fervor and recollection." The Eucharistic Dimension in St. Maximilian Kolbe

In the saint's own words.."With such a desire to participate in holy masses, it is clear that the interior life prospers, notwithstanding the multiplication of activities. The Eucharist is the strength of the soul."

St. Maximilian Kolbe can be seen to be a contemplative of the Eucharistic mystery through prayer, meditation, and his unshakable faith in the real presence.

He has shown us that the union brought about with Christ in the Eucharist is the most important
food for the spiritual life; it is the strength for our conversion and for our sanctification and is founded in the binding of God and our soul.

"Now come to me and unite yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment...Your blood is already flowing in mine, your soul . . . fills my soul, you give it strength, and you feed it."

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