14 August, Tuesday – Hail Mary, Full of Grace

Aug 14 – St. Maximillian Mary Kolbe, priest, martyr

Maximillian Mary Kolbe (1894-1941) was known as a mischievous child, sometimes considered wild, and a trial to his parents. However around the time of his first Communion, he received a vision of the Virgin Mary that changed his life. While still in seminary, he and six friends founded the Immaculata Movement (Militia Immaculatae, Crusade of Mary Immaculate) devoted to the conversion of sinners, opposition to freemasonry (which was extremely anti-Catholic at the time), spread of the Miraculous Medal (which they wore as their habit), and devotion to Our Lady and the path to Christ. Stricken with tuberculosis which nearly killed him, it left him frail in health the rest of his life. His insights into Marian theology echo today through their influence on Vatican II.

He founded monastries and published a magazine to fight religious apathy in Poland and Japan. By 1939 the Polish monastery housed a religious community of nearly 800 men, the largest in the world in its day, and was completely self-sufficient including medical facilities and a fire brigade staffed by the religious brothers. During his arrest by the Nazis, he volunteered to die in place of a married man with young children. He died as he had always wished – in service.

– Patron Saint Index

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Ezekiel 2:8-3:4

I, Ezekiel, heard a voice speaking. It said, ‘You, son of man, listen to the words I say; do not be a rebel like that rebellious set. Open your mouth and eat what I am about to give you.’ I looked. A hand was there, stretching out to me and holding a scroll. He unrolled it in front of me; it was written on back and front; on it was written ‘lamentations, wailings, meanings.’ He said, ‘Son of man, eat what is given to you; eat this scroll, then go and speak to the House of Israel.’ I opened my mouth; he gave me the scroll to eat and said, ‘Son of man, feed and be satisfied by the scroll I am giving you.’ I ate it, and it tasted sweet as honey.

Then he said, ‘Son of man, go to the House of Israel and tell them what I have said.’

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Matthew 18:1-5,10,12-14

The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.

‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’

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“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray…”

During the 25 days I spent with Aunty in hospital, I was blessed to be able to witness her love for God and Mother Mary through her constant prayers, even when it was tough for her to pray. Whenever Aunty had visitors in the hospital, she would always tell them that she will keep them in her prayers, and if any specific prayer intention was mentioned, she would try her best to remember each of them. Every morning and during moments of free time, Aunty would be praying the Rosary, and asking Mother to intercede for the people she was praying for. Aunty would not turn down the chance to pray for another person, and her deep faith in Mother’s intercessions had deepened my understanding of the Rosary.

As a convert, I struggled with praying the Rosary because I could not grasp the rationale behind the Rosary. After experiencing Auntie’s daily intercessions through our Mother, I realized that the Rosary started growing on me, and I began to enjoy praying the Rosary. My cynical questions pertaining to the Rosary were no longer a priority, and instead, I am learning how to intercede for others through the Rosary.

Today is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a saint who strongly advocated for the conversion of souls through the intercession of our Mother. She came to him through a vision when he was 12, and as young as he was, his faith was strong. He dedicated his life to praying through Mother, even when he was facing death. As a child, he accepted that his life was to be for the Lord, and he did not question what Mother had showed him. His sacrifice for a stranger was undoubtedly a heroic act, but more than that, it was an act of love towards God’s people.

(Today’s Oxygen by Hannah Huang)

Prayer: Dearest merciful Father, grace us with the desire to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters even when it is hard to pray, and to look to our blessed Mother as the perfect example after Your heart.

Thanksgiving: Dearest Father, we thank You for persevering with us and not giving up on us, especially during our moments of being “the lost sheep”. Thank You for showering us with Your love.

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