Saint of Auschwitz
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."1
You may be familiar with the story of Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic priest who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Father Kolbe's love for the other prisoners earned him the nickname "Saint of Auschwitz." One day, a prisoner escaped from the camp. Each time anyone escaped, the guards executed ten men as a punishment. As the guards prepared for the execution, Father Kolbe came forward. He asked to take the place of another prisoner, a man named Gajowniczek. The guards agreed.
Father Kolbe and the other nine men were placed in a cell and starved to death over the next few days. Father Kolbe died on August 14, 1941. Every year, Mr. Gajowniczek returns to Auschwitz to commemorate the death of Father Kolbe. It is his way to say thank you to the man who died in his place.2
Suggested prayer: "Dear Jesus God, how can I ever thank you enough for giving your life and dying on the cross in my place so that I could inherit your gift of eternal life. Help me to always live in an attitude of gratitude for all that you have done for me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
NOTE: If you have never accepted God's gift of love for you, be sure to read: "How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian—without having to be religious" at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.
1. John 15:13 (NIV).
2. From "A Man for Others" by Patricia Treece. Found in God's Unexpected Blessings, edited by Kathy Collard Miller (Lancaster, PA: Starburst Publishers, 1998), pp. 79-80.