A little boy was born in a town in Poland by the name of Maximilian Kolbe, and when he was about 12 years old he ask Mother Mary “What is to become come of me?” And Mother Mary appeared holding 2 crowns, one white for living a life of purity, and another which was red which meant becoming a martyr. And Mother Mary asked “Which crown do you want?” and Max said “I will take both”.
From that night on his life was spiritually guided, and he went on to become a Franciscan Monk and a priest. Later Max started a spiritual newspaper that was so successful that he branched out and decided to go to Japan and have his spiritual newspaper translated and published in Japanese. The paper was a huge hit in Japan with a wide circulation. Then Max founded a monastery in the town of Nagasaki which later ended up being hit by one of the atomic bombs. But the monastery was one of the few buildings that was left standing. Also all 8 priests who were present at the monastery when the bomb went off, walked away from the blast without any kind of radiation sickness or problems of any kind.
After being in Japan for a while Max decided to move back to Poland. Soon WWII broke out while Max was part of a monastery that was changed into a hospital to treat lots of different people including thousands of Jewish people who needed medical care. At first Max and the other priests were arrested by the Nazis and then they were released and Max was given permission to publish is spiritual paper. Max also published many anti-nazi publications, but eventually Max was rounded up and sent to the Auschwitz death camp. Even then Max still did his work as a priest, and even though he only received a slice of stale bread and a thin watery soup he would give half of his food away to those who were suffering.
And he would lead people in song and prayer, and would put in long hours of prayer at night. Being such a beacon of light to others got the attention of the guards who beat and whipped him on a regular basis. And when Max would pray kneeling near his bunk all the other people around him would attest to seeing a divine light glowing and his whole body was surrounded by light.
Then one day 4 prisoners from his barracks escaped. Thus the guards made all those who were left in the barracks stand outside in the freezing cold and heat for days until the prisoners were recaptured. But the prisoners where never found, so the commandant made every one line up and he picked 10 prisoners to be executed. The commandant just started picking people at random and a man by the name of Francis was picked and he cried out “My wife, My children— Please No”. At that point Max walked up to the commandant and calmly said “I will take his place” and knowing that Max was a priest the commandant gladly said “Fine” and so Max took Francis’s place.
The guards took all 10 men to a prison cell and removed all of their clothing and they were left there to starve, without water, and die of exposure and dehydration. Yet Max lead the men in song, prayer, and meditation to Mother Mary every day according to the guards and the janitor. And at the end of about 2 weeks there were still 3 men alive plus Max, and every time the guards checked on Max he was standing or kneeling in prayer in the middle of the room. The other 3 men were totally unconscious but Max was very aware and knew what was going on. And because the guards needed the cell for more prisoners they gave all 4 men lethal injections… and Max calmly held our his arm and prayed.
And the other man Francis did survive Auschwitz, and he went on to dedicate his entire life telling the story about all the miracles of Maximilian Kolbe… and later Maximilian was canonized as a saint.
How many of us would gladly take both crowns?
How many would choose to live a life of purity and be a martyr at the same time?
I personally feel there are very few who would gladly take both crowns, to take all the punishment, and still care for all those who were suffering. Thank heavens we have a few people who are willing to show so much love… and have so much faith.
Dr. Paul Haider
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