Joseph Cardinal Zen
Pope Benedict often quotes Saint Augustine to help us understand the mystery of history. Saint Augustine lived at an awful time in history. Rome was on the decline, invaded by so-called barbarians. A mighty civilization fell into the hands of barbarians. In the book City of God, he invites us to take the long-term view. Why does the Lord allow so many bad things in history? On the one hand, to show how man can become evil if he does not obey God. But on the other hand, says Saint Augustine, the Lord shows that he knows how to conduct things in a superior way.
Disobeying God can lead to many extremes, like the totalitarian regimes of Nazism and Communism: thousands and thousands of people slaughtered (I recently read a few books describing what Hitler and Stalin did). Pope Benedict lived under Nazism, and his nation was split in two by Communism. If you can, go and visit the concentration camps. There was worse; entire populations starved to death! The man who rejects God becomes more horrible than beasts and causes tragedies that our minds almost refuse to believe.
In such tragedies, the Lord shows the goodness of some people, as on Calvary, when the Roman soldier was able to see the Son of God in the dying Jesus (Mk 15:39). A convict, disfigured, dies, but the centurion sees superhuman goodness. The Good Thief also saw his Savior in Jesus. Jesus guaranteed his salvation. In tragedies the goodness and fortitude of so many people become manifest; there is the supreme witness of the martyrs!
The Pope says that before the Passion of Jesus we are more than justified to ask why. Yet, it is precisely here that we find the answer: the sacrificial Lamb! He who has not sinned becomes sin, taking upon himself all the filth caused by us sinners.
We worship the Lamb who takes away our sins and worship the mystery of God’s mercy in the darkness of human history!
Novena Prayer to St. Maximilian Kolbe
O Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "greater love than this no man has that a man lay down his life for his friends,"
through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe whose life illustrated such love, we beseech you to grant us our petitions . . .
(here mention the requests you have).
Through the Militia Immaculata movement, which Maximilian founded, he spread a fervent devotion to Our Lady throughout the world. He gave up his life for a total stranger and loved his persecutors, giving us an example of unselfish love for all men - a love that was inspired by true devotion to Mary.
Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we too may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, Maximilian. Amen.
(Say 3 Hail Marys and a Glory Be)
Excerpted from “For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent” by Joseph Cardinal Zen.