The Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo after the Nazi conquest of Poland. He was then sent to the prison in Auschwitz, Germany. The documents for his canonization contain first- person testimony of his selfless outreach to other prisoners, even at the cost of humiliation by guards and other prisoners.
In his diary St. Maximilian wrote the following: “No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner struggle. Beyond armies of occupation and the slaughter in the extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depths of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?”
After a prisoner escaped, ten others were chosen at random to die…including a young father. Maximilian offered to take the place of this man and was executed at Auschwitz in 1941.
Few of us have the opportunity to give our very lives. What “piece” of myself can I give away today in service to someone else?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team