On the night before he was ordained on April 27, 1918, Saint Maximilian Kolbe made a retreat and wrote out the following bullet-point plan for his life. As you will see, he was committed, determined, and serious about his walk with Christ.
St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Bullet-Point Plan for His Life
– Follow very faithfully the timetable of each day, and you will be safe.
– This very day begin to serve God.
– It may be that this is the last day of your life.
– Live it as if it were, indeed, the last day.
– Tomorrow is uncertain, yesterday is no longer yours. Only the present belongs to you.
– There is an ear which hears all, an eye which scrutinizes all the movements of the heart, a hand which takes note of all.
– Not being punished is the most terrible chastisement of all.
– If you want to avoid judgment, stop passing judgment. (Mt 7:1)
– St. Francis de Sales: “Fidelity in observing the rule is the sacrifice God prefers above all others; it is a mortification and a penance.”
– Love the most Blessed Virgin very deeply.
– Every action you perform will remain forever.
– Choose the least desirable things in food, clothes, tasks, and you will be dear to Jesus.
– The souls in Purgatory. Pray and work for sinners, for Holy Church.
– Make up by your fervor, for the time you have lost.
– Be a man, a Christian, a Religious.
Be a man:
Don’t blush for your convictions
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Have a sense of duty, fulfill it well, without being concerned whether anyone is watching you. Act instead with a noble ambition.
Don’t worry about the evil in others.
Be a Catholic:
When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel.
Be a Religious:
A good intention in work is like the number ‘1’ in front of a lot of zeroes.
Men deprive themselves of great treasures when they work without a good intention.
As you arise in the morning, so you will be all day long.
Every action you do is noted down. Nothing will fail to be either rewarded or punished.
You might die this very day!
Be recollected; whoever pours himself out on exterior things quickly loses the graces he has acquired. A full jewel box is always kept closed.
Avoid all those words which can draw down on you glory, esteem, or the appreciation of others.
Let us listen unwillingly (without interest or reflection) and with interior reluctance to the words of those who praise or commend us. It is dangerous to listen to one’s own praise in the mouths of others. It makes one lose his good judgment. When others praise us let us keep our sins before our eyes. In this way we shall judge ourselves unworthy of any commendation, and consequently, we shall find an occasion for being ashamed of ourselves and for humbling ourselves.
Rejoice when you hear others praised.
Jealousy, attachment to one’s own glory, is a defeat.
Never do anything so that men may see and esteem you.
Never do anything out of human respect.
Do everything perfectly, because you are working in God’s presence, for God and not for men. In every situation think more about loving than about working.
Don’t offer excuses when you make a mistake. Don’t cast the blame on others. Do not offend by sarcasm those who correct you. Do not renounce in advance your errors which someone is trying to point out to you.
Practice for a long time and with zeal until you succeed in willing that your defects may not be hidden any longer, and until you learn how to rejoice when the others judge you imperfect. Do this to make up for your errors.
When you are reproved unjustly, do not excuse yourself.
Cut short all thoughts of pride.
Consider every friar superior to yourself, and yourself the least of all. Recognize everyone as better than yourself, not only in your thoughts, but also in your external deportment.
If you consider another superior to yourself, then:
You will converse with him more calmly.
You will never insult him in words, nor do anything to displease him; you will not suspect him.
It will be easy for you to accept a harsh or disrespectful word from him.
Willingly accept every opportunity for humbling yourself. Don’t be offended at:
A harsh word.
An imperious tone of voice.
Not being respected as much as you would like to be.
Welcome occasions of being disregarded and humiliated, first with patience, then willingly, without raising any difficulties and finally with joy. That will be perfect humility.
Make acts of humility (as also of the other virtues on which you are in your interior examining yourself), beginning with a rather small number of them; then increase these continually, and make more and more progress. This, in fact, is how one acquires a good habit and makes it grow strong.
Humility is the foundation of the virtues.
Source:The Catholic Company
St. Maximilian Kolbe was born as Raymund Kolbe on January 8, 1894, in the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. He was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar and a martyr in the German death Camp of Auschwitz during World War II.
St. Maximilian Kolbe was very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary and is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary. Much of his life was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12.
“That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.”
One year after his vision, Kolbe and his elder brother, Francis joined the Conventual Franciscans. In 1910, Kolbe was given the religious name Maximilian, after being allowed to enter the novitiate, and in 1911, he professed his first vows.
At the age of 21, Kolbe earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He would also earn a doctorate in theology by the time he was 28.
St. Maximilian Kolbe organized the Militia Immaculata (Army of the Immaculate One) after witnessing demonstrations against Pope St. Pius X and Benedict XV. His goal was to work for the conversion of sinners and enemies of the Church, specifically, the Freemasons and he would so with the intercession of Mary.
In 1918, he was ordained a priest and continued his work of promoting Mary throughout Poland. Over the next several years, Kolbe took on publishing. He founded a monthly periodical titled, “Rycerz Niepokalanej” (Knight of the Immaculate). He also operated a religious publishing press and founded a new Conventual Franciscan monastery at Niepokalanow, which became a major religious publishing center.
Kolbe also founded monasteries in both Japan and India. To this day, the monastery in Japan remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan.
In 1936, Kolbe’s poor health forced him to return home to Poland, and once the WWII invasion by Germany began, he became one of the only brothers to remain in the monastery. He opened up a temporary hospital to aid those in need. When his town was captured, Kolbe was sent to prison but released three months later.
Kolbe refused to sign a document that would recognize him as a German citizen with his German ancestry and continued to work in his monastery, providing shelter for refugees – including hiding 2,000 Jews from German persecution. After receiving permission to continue his religious publishing, Kolbe’s monastery acted as a publishing house again and issued many anti-Nazi German publications.
On February 17, 1941, the monastery was shut down; Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo and taken to the Pawiak prison. Three months later, he was transferred to Auschwitz.
Never abandoning his priesthood, Kolbe was the victim to severe violence and harassment. Toward the end of his second month in Auschwitz, men were chosen to face death by starvation to warn against escapes. Kolbe was not chosen but volunteered to take the place of a man with a family.
It is said during the last days of his life Kolbe led prayers to Our Lady with the prisoners and remained calm. He was the last of the group to remain alive, after two weeks of dehydration and starvation. The guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. The stories tell that he raised his left arm and calmly awaited death.
St. Maximilian Kolbe died on August 14 and his remains were cremated on August 15, the same day as the Assumption of Mary feast day.
Recognized as the Servant of God, Kolbe was beatified as a “Confessor of the Faith” on October 17, 1971 by Pope Paul VI and canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982. Pope John Paul II declared Kolbe not a confessor, but a martyr.
Kolbe’s is often depicted in a prison uniform and with a needle being injected into an arm. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement and his feast day is celebrated on August 14.