How Much Are You Worth???

Posted: June 3, 2016 in World On The Edge

LGc59bw-maximilian-maria-kolbe-patron-internetuAccording to DataGenetics, the value of an adult human body, based around just the chemical elements that make up a corpse, is only $160. Of course, we all realize that this is not the true worth of a human being.

In Holy Scripture and the doctrinal tradition of the Church which is intrinsically based on God’s revelation, life is seen as a gift from God, as something holy and not disposable. And we as fellow human beings are to love life, to love our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves. The perfection of that is to value the worth of a human life so much that we would give our own to save it–just as Christ did for each of us.

Here is one man who did just that.

Maximilian Maria Kolbe, O.F.M. was a Polish priest who died on August 14, 1941, as prisoner 16670 in Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.

Because a prisoner had escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected 10 others to be killed by starvation in reprisal for the escape. One of the 10 selected to die, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began to cry: “My wife! My children! I will never see them again!” At this Father Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place. His request was granted.

Gajowniczek later recalled:

I could only thank him with my eyes. I was stunned and could hardly grasp what was going on. The immensity of it: I, the condemned, am to live and someone else willingly and voluntarily offers his life for me – a stranger. Is this some dream?

I was put back into my place without having had time to say anything to Maximilian Kolbe. I was saved. And I owe to him the fact that I could tell you all this. The news quickly spread all round the camp. It was the first and the last time that such an incident happened in the whole history of Auschwitz.

For a long time I felt remorse when I thought of Maximilian. By allowing myself to be saved, I had signed his death warrant. But now, on reflection, I understood that a man like him could not have done otherwise. Perhaps he thought that as a priest his place was beside the condemned men to help them keep hope. In fact he was with them to the last.

Father Kolbe was thrown down the stairs of Building 13 along with the other victims and simply left there to starve. Hunger and thirst soon gnawed at the men. Some drank their own urine, others licked moisture on the dank walls. Maximilian Kolbe encouraged the others with prayers, psalms, and meditations on the Passion of Christ. After two weeks, only four were alive. The cell was needed for more victims, and the camp executioner, a common criminal called Bock, came in and injected a lethal dose of carbolic acid into the left arm of each of the four dying men. Kolbe was the only one still fully conscious. With a prayer on his lips, he raised his arm for the executioner.

Father Kolbe’s death was not a sudden, last-minute act of heroism. His whole life had been a preparation. His holiness was a limitless, passionate desire to convert the whole world to God. He was
was active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, operating a radio station, and founding or running several other organizations and publications.

Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. John Paul II declared him The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century.

We call ourselves Christians, followers of Christ, but the BIG question is, do we love God’s gift of human life so much that we would sacrifice ourselves for it?

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