The Immaculate and the Holy Ghost

The first appearance of the saint's mystical insight into the special relation between the Immaculate and the Holy Ghost seems to be in a letter written July 28, 1935 from Japan to a brother at Niepokalanów . This letter ranks among some of the most beautiful ever written by Fr. Kolbe and it
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would be worthwhile to quote the whole text, but we will limit ourselves to what pertains to our subject. After recalling that the essence of the M.I. is the unlimited consecration of oneself to the Immaculate, he goes on, responding, apparently, to a question about studying Mariology :
It will be a very good thing to study Mariology, but let us always remember that we know the Immaculate more in humble prayer and in the loving experience of daily life than in learned definitions, distinctions and arguments (although it is not licit to neglect them either). She is someone so sublime, so close to the Most Holy Trinity that one of the holy Fathers doesn't hesitate to call Her : « complementum Sanctissimae Trinitatis », that is, « the complement of the Most Holy Trinity » 2. It is no wonder, then, if the limited intelligence of man should lose its bearings presumptuous brain will be stupefied even more.
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when it tries to penetrate Her mystery and a

He then returns to the idea of unlimited consecration to the Immaculate, insisting on how it is intimately linked with the consecration we must make of ourselves to Jesus, and through Him to the Father.
Let us deepen every day our belonging to the Immaculate 4 and, in Her and through Her, to Jesus and to God, but never apart from Her 5. We do not serve God the Father and Jesus and the Immaculate, but God in Jesus and through Jesus, Jesus in the Immaculate and through the Immaculate. That is to say, we serve the Immaculate directly, without limits and exclusively. But with Her, in Her and through Her we serve Jesus ; and with Him, in Him and through Him God the Father.

These few lines constitute a refutation of all the objections of the "minimalists" to the "True devotion" to Our Lady, that is the consecration to her. We can give ourselves wholly to Our Lady because
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— Strangely, Fr. G. Bartosik, in his very interesting article in Miles Immaculatae XXVIII, fasc. 3-4 (1991) pp. 244-668 entitled "Rapporto fra lo Spirito Santo e Maria come principio della mediazione mariana negli ultimi scritti (1935-1941) di San Massimiliano Maria Kolbe" asserts that Fr. Kolbe's explanation of the mediation of Maria as a consequence of the union with the Holy Ghost is found first only in a letter written in October, 1935. As we shall see, that letter contains only a small phrase about this subject, whereas the one written on July 28 contains already this doctrine in a very explicit form. 2 — Already in a letter dating April 12, 1933 (SK 508), the saint is reflecting deeply on the relations of the Immaculate with the Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity : "She is of God. She is perfectly of God, to the point that She becomes almost a part of the Most Holy Trinity, although She is a finite creature. More, She is not only « handmaid », « daughter », « thing », « property » etc. of God, but also Mother of God !… Here the head starts to spin… as it were above God, like a mother is above and the sons are below and must revere her… The Immaculate [is] the Spouse of the Holy Ghost in an ineffable manner… She has the same Son together with the Celestial Father. What an ineffable family ?!…". Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe, Editrice Nazionale M.I., Roma, 1997, SK 508. We will quote the texts of St. Maximilian himself from this edition using the notation : « SK ». According to the editors of the Scritti, this letter was written perhaps not long after the mystical experience Fr. Kolbe had in which the Immaculate promised him heaven (cf SK 509 n. 3). It is also the letter with the famous statement that we should desire to be « transubstantiated » into the Immaculate. 3 — Si smarrisce. Gubi sie. 4 — Co dzien bardziej stawajmy sie Niepokalanej : Every day let us become more of the Immaculate. 5 — "nie czasem obok Niej" : Obok = a coté de ; à part. "Czasem" : parfois, quelquefois ; des fois. (Italian : "ma non accanto a Lei")

she is not some distinct end in herself but a means, and the most perfect and even obligatory means to giving oneself to Jesus, just as Jesus is the perfect and obligatory means to go to God. However, in this beautiful description of the mediation of Jesus and the subordinate, but equally universal, mediation of the Immaculate, isn't there Someone missing ? We have God the Father, and God the Son Incarnate and the Immaculate Mother of God, but where is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity ? Fr. Kolbe remarks this missing link, and goes on to explain that in fact He isn't missing at all.
And the Holy Ghost ? He is in the Immaculate, as the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Son of God, is in Jesus. With this difference, however : that in Jesus there are two natures, the divine and the human, and one person, who is divine. Both the nature and the person of the Immaculate, however, are distinct from the nature and the person of the Holy Ghost. This union, nonetheless, is so inexpressible and perfect that the Holy Ghost acts uniquely through the Immaculate, His Spouse. Consequently, she is the Mediatrix of all the graces of the Holy Ghost. Given that every grace is a gift of God the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost, therefore there exists no grace that does not belong to the Immaculate, given to Her, at Her free disposition. Therefore, in venerating the Immaculate, we venerate in a very special way the Holy Ghost, and just as grace descends to us from the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost, thus, as is fiitting, the fruits of this grace ascend from us to the Father in the opposite order, namely, through the Holy Ghost and the Son, that is, through the Immaculate and Jesus. This is the stupendous prototype of the principle of action and reaction, equal and contrary, as the natural sciences affirm. (SK 634)

These intuitions that appear suddenly here for the first time will from now on come back again and again with more and more frequency and depth right to the end of the life of Fr. Kolbe . Let us note the
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principal elements so that afterwards we can try to follow their subsequent development. The first thing that strikes anyone reading these lines is the daring parallel made between the relation of the Person of God the Son to Jesus and the relation of the Holy Ghost to Mary. Fr. Kolbe immediately takes care to exclude from the parallel the heretical idea that there is a hypostatic union between Mary and the Holy Ghost by stating that in their union the two persons remain distinct, but he nevertheless makes the parallel, and it is in this that consists the originality and the profundity of his insight. It is absolutely essential, however, to note where he finds this parallel, the grounds from which he induces it. He induces it from what he has just been talking about, and indeed what his whole life has already been based on for at least 18 years by the time he writes these words, namely, on the consecration
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— Even in Auschwitz itself we have witnesses who speak of the conferences he gave on the relations between the Immaculate and the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. For example, Fr. Szweda testifies : "On Sunday afternoons the Polish priests would meet in secret for common prayers and to hear some spiritual conferences. Fr. Kolbe gave a conference entitled : « The Most Holy Virgin Mary in relation with the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity »." (Maximiliani Mariae Kolbe Positio super virtutibus, Vol. II, Romae, 1966, p. 889)

to Our Lady and her mediation. It is in the marvelously clear and dramatic statement of the intermediary role of the Immaculate in the economy of salvation that he has just made that appears, suddenly, this special union between her and the Holy Ghost. If Mary is the obligatory and universal mediatrix to the Son, just as the Son (Incarnate) is to the Father, then it immediately becomes apparent that she is playing a role that belongs to a Divine Person, the One who is conspicuously missing in the chain he has just described. This will become much clearer in the saint's subsequent meditations on this theme where he shows that it is in her mediation, which Catholic Tradition from the early history of the Church attests, that we can discern Mary's affinity with the Holy Ghost because it becomes apparent that Tradition thus attributes to her a role that Revelation attributes to the Holy Ghost, role that consists in applying the fruits of the Redemption wrought by Christ to individual souls and uniting them to Him so that through Him they may come to the Father. This is why Fr. Kolbe immediately expresses what this union between Mary and the Holy Ghost is by saying that because of it the Immaculate is the Mediatrix of all graces.
This union, nonetheless, is so inexpressible and perfect that the Holy Ghost acts uniquely through the Immaculate, His Spouse. Consequently, she is the Mediatrix of all the graces of the Holy Ghost.

Indeed, in the order of being, this is true : because of the union between the Immaculate and the Holy Ghost she is the Mediatrix of all graces. In the order of knowledge, however, it is rather the opposite : it is because we know (from Tradition) that she is Mediatrix that we know that she has this special union with the Holy Ghost which has a result that He never acts except through her. He then draws as a conclusion that "in venerating the Immaculate, we venerate in a very special way the Holy Ghost". This follows strictly from the special union he has described between these two persons and, as we shall see later, is a key to understanding precisely what this mysterious union might be exactly. Finally he concludes by founding his description of the economy of salvation [Father –› Son (Jesus) –› Holy Ghost (Immaculate) –› Son (Jesus) –› Father ] on a general principle taken from the
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natural sciences : "the principle of action and reaction, equal and contrary" . He will even go so far, in his
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last writings, as to apply this principle, with which he was well acquainted due to his interest in physics ,
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— In a note found among the papers of Fr. Kolbe, which the editor of the Scritti dates as being written in June 1934, there is already a glimpse of this idea of the economy of salvation linked to the union between the Holy Ghost and our Lady : "The principle of every good is God the Father through the Son, through the Holy Ghost — through Jesus, through the Immaculate". (SK 1272) 2 — On this point Fr. Simbula, in his introduction to the Italian edition of Fr. Kolbe's writings, remarks : "He alludes here to the third principle of dynamics formulated by I. Newton, according to which to every action corresponds an equal and contrary reaction." He adds a reference to an article of Fr. Bartosik who affirms that in his articles, conferences and notes alone the saint applies this principle no less than 17 times. 3 — In the Scritti are published some notes of Fr. Kolbe as a student still at Rome where he describes a project for an "Etherplane", that is, what we would call today a space ship, and bases the feasibility of such an idea precisely on this principle of action and reaction : "It is true that in order to move oneself outside of earth, water or air one couldn't use neither wheel, nor propeller, which absolutely require a means of support. It would be necessary then to have recourse to another principle, or rather to another application of the general principle of force, namely that « action is equal and contrary to reaction ». Exploit

to the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity itself .
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Besides a short phrase in a letter written a few months after this first text , the next time we see
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these ideas is in a conference given at Niepokalanów soon after his return from Japan . Before quoting it,
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however, we must first address the problem of the value of the texts we have of these conferences for the knowledge of the actual teaching of Fr. Kolbe himself. Fr. Simbula, in his introduction to the Italian edition of the works of Fr. Kolbe, speaks of this question at one point when he cites a passage of Fr. Piacentini who quotes from one of these conferences :
The conferences are texts reported by the brothers who listened to him, therefore, correctly, they have not been included in the critical edition of his writings, because there are not always and completely reliable, but the passage quoted by Piacentini can be judged acceptable in the light of various passages in the critical edition (…) 4

So, according to this authority, even if these texts are not "always and completely reliable", when they conform to what we know about the teaching of the saint from absolutely sure sources they can be "judged acceptable" . As we will see, they do conform completely to the texts in the critical edition and
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will show how he exposed these ideas to his religious. In this conference, then, given some time in the last half of 1936, Fr. Maximilian says :
Is it necessary to pray to the Holy Ghost in order to understand and deepen devotion to the Immaculate ? In our conception we distinguish the notion of God. God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost —

reaction and lose action would perhaps be the application that would permit one to move oneself even without any means of support, as, for example, the painful blow felt by an inexperienced hunter or soldier in the moment when he shoots is a reaction caused by the action of the exit of the bullet" (SK 1386) 1 — Cf the last writing of the saint, composed the morning of his arrest by the Gestapo : SK 1318. 2 — This phrase appears in another important letter written the tenth of October 1935 to Br. Matthew Spolitakiewic at Niepokalanów (SK 643). The entire letter is dedicated to calming the fear that this brother has that the consecration to Mary is somehow incompatible with devotion to Jesus. Fr. Kolbe patiently explains that this is not the case, because the gift one makes of oneself to Our Lady is simply the first link in a chain that finishes with God the Father, after first passing through Mary and Jesus. The letter is practical rather than doctrinal but there is one phrase which we can cite which is obviously tributary to the insights expressed in the letter of July that we quoted : "Correspondance to the graces that creatures have obtained through the Son and the Holy Ghost, returns also to the Father along the same path, namely through the Holy Ghost and the Son, that is, through the Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and Jesus, united hypostatically to the nature of the Son." There is also a short phrase worthy of mention in a letter to his mother on March 15, 1936 where he evokes this union and quasi-identification of Mary and the Holy Ghost : « Our times are the era of the Immaculate or, as others say, of the Holy Ghost » (SK 664). 3 — Konferencje Swietego Maksymiliana Marii Kolbego, Wydwnictwo OO Franciszkanów, Niepokalanów, 1990, Conference, n. 60 (the conferences will subsequently be quoted by the notation « K » plus the number of the conference and also the number of the paragraph, if there is one). The date given for this conference is simply 1936, with no further precision. 4 — Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe, Editrice Nazionale M.I., Roma, 1997, p. 193. 5 — In fact, this is probably a too timorous appreciation of the value of these texts, for anyone who has had the occasion to read them at length can see that it is obvious that the Brothers took great care in trying to be as faithful to their saintly founder as possible and would have considered it a crime to misrepresent his teachings by asserting something as said by him when they were not certain that it actually had been. Perhaps at times they did not fully understand or transcribe the complete thought of the saint as he himself expressed it, but their witness remains a precious source for his doctrine. Posterity is indebted to these zealous brothers for the assiduous work they did in recording and conserving the teaching of their father and it would be a pity if an exaggerated insistence on critical exactness were to depreciate the value of their work.

this is one God 1. God the Father acts through the Son, the Son through the Holy Ghost, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, while in relation to creatures the interior life of the Most Holy Trinity returns in the opposite direction. The Holy Ghost acts through the Son, and the Son turns to the Father.

Here we find again the idea of the action and reaction in the activity ad extra of the Most Holy Trinity. He now goes on immediately to relate this to Our Lady, for the very reason he began speaking of the Holy Trinity was in order to answer his question about whether it is necessary to pray to the Holy Ghost in order to deepen one's devotion to her.
The Immaculate is so closely united to the Holy Ghost that He calls Her His Spouse 2. We will never comprehend this with our reason. The perfect union of the Immaculate with the Holy Ghost makes Her in a certain way, the Holy Ghost Himself and that is why if we honour Her perfectly, we glorify the Holy Ghost — God. Nevertheless, the Immaculate is a finite creature, but She is united to God in the most sublime way, to the highest degree of union with the divinity of which a creature is capable 3. It is more perfect, therefore, and more profitable to honour and venerate the Immaculate, in order worthily to honour God.

So again we have this idea that by honouring the Immaculate, by that very fact we honour the Holy Ghost because, he clarifies, she is "in a certain way, the Holy Ghost Himself". The next allusion to this doctrine is in a conference in April 1937. He is explaining again the idea that we must look for grace only in the Immaculate because she is its mediatrix, and that she is not a separate end from Jesus.
Some people can't understand this [that is, that we must not look for grace anywhere outside the Immaculate] because it seems to them that Jesus is one thing and the Mother of God another ; that Jesus is one end and the Mother of God another ; and that when one turns from everything towards the Mother of God one gives Jesus too little honour. This is an erroneous way of thinking, for Jesus is God incarnate in the Immaculate. Everything proceeds from the Father through the Son and the Spirit. And — as we were saying — Jesus is the incarnate God in the Immaculate, thus in practice we can say the same thing in relation to the Holy Ghost. And as everything proceeds from the Father through the Son and the Spirit, thus everything goes to the Father in the opposite direction. This is a mystery which surpasses our intelligence, therefore we cannot fathom it. We will not learn it in books, but only on our knees. (K 71 25/4/1937)

Here again, the fact that our Lady is at the end of the chain of the procession from God ("Jesus is
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— Fr. Kolbe certainly doesn't mean to say here — as the words might seem to suggest — that the distinction of the Divine Persons comes simply from our reason. Perhaps here we have an example of a misunderstanding by the brother who noted down these words. 2 — The editor of the Konferencje adds an explicative note here : "We meet the title « Spouse of the Holy Ghost » for the first time in « Sermon VI de Assumptione B.M.V. » by an unknown author living not before the ninth and not after the eleventh century (PL 96, 266). From the Middle Ages on it is accepted more and more. Also certain popes employ it, for example Leo XIII, ASS 30 (1896/97) 658, and Pius XII, AAS 38 (1946) 266, as well as theologians and ascetical writers and especially mystics. It expresses the exception role of the Holy Ghost in the incarnation of the Word of God in Mary ( « The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee » Lk 1 : 35) as well as the close union of Our Lady with the Spirit of love and grace." 3 — « … do jakiego tylko jest zdolne stworzenie do polaczenia z Bóstwem ».

the incarnate God in the Immaculate") is the sign that as Jesus is united to the Son, She is united to the Holy Ghost. It is difficult, however, to say what is meant exactly by the words : "we can say the same thing in relation to the Holy Ghost". The editor of the Konferencje interprets it as meaning that the Holy Ghost is also incarnate in her, in a certain way, for he refers the reader to a note on a later conference where Fr. Kolbe says this explicitly , but the text is too obscure to give any clear meaning.
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Two months later we find reference again to this teaching in another conference where the saint uses it to justify the consecration to the Immaculate.
We know that the most perfect of all creatures is the Mother of God. She is Immaculate, full of grace, all beautiful. And God receives in her the greatest glory. She is so perfect and united to the Holy Ghost that She has been called His Spouse. Everything goes ordinarily from the Father through the Son and the Spirit and, in return, again through the Spirit and the Son to the Father. This is why we love and honour so much the Immaculate, because She is so holy and because the Holy Ghost acts through Her. That is why we offer Her everything : our whole life, our death and our eternity, so that She dispose of us according to Her will. Such a soul, who has offered herself without limits to the Immaculate, expresses by this that she wants to seek Jesus in Her and through Her alone, and through Jesus make her way to God the Father. In practice we know that the soul that is completely and without limits offered to the Immaculate understands Jesus and the divine mysteries better. For the Mother of God cannot lead anywhere else — only to Jesus. Our holy father St. Francis said "My God and my all". But such a soul can boldly say also : The Immaculate and my all, all — all. Whatever is outside of Her cannot be the object of our love. In Her we find all. She is, in a certain sense, the personification of the Holy Ghost. That is why 2 we love Her ardently. (K 85 20/6/1937)

Once more we see the close link between the total consecration to the Immaculate and this mysterious union between her and the Holy Ghost, for which Fr. Maximilian finds a new image, calling her "the personification of the Holy Ghost". In his "circular" contemplation of this mystery, as he goes around and around it, little by little Fr. Kolbe penetrates deeper and deeper into it .
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Several weeks later he comes back again to this subject :
1. (…) In general it can seem that we already know, that we are already acquainted with who the
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— Cf n. 2 on page 120 of the Konferencje which refers the reader to n. 2 on conference n. 103. In context, in fact, the text seems rather to mean merely that just as we can say everything proceeds from the Father, so we can also say, that, since Jesus is the incarnate God in the Immaculate, everything returns to the Father in the opposite direction starting from the Holy Ghost. The text remains obscure and perhaps Fr. Kolbe's words were not integrally transcribed. 2 — Przedto = ? [Agnieszka : « donc »] 3 — Cf II-II, q. 180, a. 6, where St. Thomas speaks of the three kinds of contemplation : 1) linear i.e. discursive ; 2) spiral, i.e. mixture of discursive and circular; 3) circular, i.e. without discourse from one thing to another but always around the same point from different angles. Fr. Kolbe is a perfect example of 3) to the point of being positively hypnotic at times.

Mother of God is, but in reality we must confess that we know very little about Her. There are a few books about it, but all that isn't much, they are just little first tries. It is like an unknown world. Generally man from the beginning of his existence knew and realized that there is a God, but this knowledge was very imperfect. He took creatures for the Divinity, although he knew there was something higher. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, however, was, in general, almost unknown 1. Then 2, so that men might know God better, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity became man, He came into this world so that men might know better the Most Holy Trinity. This is the first stage towards the perfect knowledge of God. However, in order that this Son of God might be known better too, there is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity and through the sending of the Holy Ghost this knowledge came about. All graces flow from the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost. In God the Father there is one nature and one person, in God the Son there is one person and two natures, in the Holy Ghost there are, as it were, two persons and two natures, for the Most Holy Mother is most closely united to the Holy Ghost. (…) Reflecting on this fact that graces flow from the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost, we arrive at the conclusion that the Most Holy Mother is the Mediatrix of all graces. It is hard for us to penetrate how that is, it is difficult to understand, but if someone were to affirm that the Immaculate is the incarnation of the Holy Ghost, this would be true 3. 2. The Most Holy Mother exists for this, so that the Holy Ghost might be better known. These are deep things so above human understanding that we will never exhaust this knowledge. In the same way, we say about the Most Holy Mother that She is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Every grace comes to earth from the Father through the Son and the Spirit. What can we do in order to know, with such great profit, who the Most Holy Mother is ? First of all, we must not trust in our own intelligence. The intelligence is too weak to be able to manage on its own. Here it is not sufficient to think for oneself. Reasoning can lead to a detour. Grace is necessary, supernatural light is necessary, prayer is necessary. Only prayer can obtain this knowledge of who the Most Holy Mother is. This is the efficacious means to arrive at this knowledge. (…) Obviously, humble prayer doesn't exclude thinking about this, reading about it, meditation about it. Read much about the Most Holy Mother, think about Her often, meditate about Her often. But the foundation, as it were, is prayer, humble prayer. And not only read, but also pray before reading, and in the meditation ask her to enlighten us, because we are not worthy of the grace of knowing who she is. (K 103 25/9/1937)

The key notion to retain in this conference, besides the explicit use of the term "incarnation of the Holy Ghost" to try to express the union between Our Lady and the Third Divine Person, is the idea that she "exists (…) so that the Holy Ghost might be better known". The whole conference, in fact, turns around this theme of "not knowing". First is evoked the fact that the Immaculate is "like an unknown world", which leads to a consideration of how God was not known and how the Son became incarnate so that He be better known and then how the Holy Ghost was sent so that the Son be better known. Finally,
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— Tylko tajemnica Trócy Przenajswietszej byla na ogól prawie nieznana. [Tylko = ?] — Dopiero. ? — The editor nervously adds a note here : "The Gospel speaks of the exceptional operation of the Holy Ghost in Mary (Lk 1 : 35 — « The Holy Ghost will come upon thee… ») nevertheless one cannot conceive it according to the manner of the incarnation of the Word of God."

after recalling once more the divine chain of grace and the mediation of all graces by the Immaculate, there is the statement that she is the incarnation of the Holy Ghost, followed immediately by the affirmation that she exists to make Him better known, which seems to imply that this is what is meant by saying she is His incarnation. It goes without saying that the saint doesn't mean to say that the Holy Ghost is incarnate in the Immaculate as the Son is in Jesus, because he just finished saying that her person and that of the Holy Ghost are distinct. He means something different, but again he uses this language to insist on the parallel between the Son and Jesus, and the Holy Ghost and Mary .
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The emphasis the saint places in the last part of this text on the necessity of prayer in order to understand something of this mystery is something that appears as well in the testimonies of the witnesses in the process of his canonization. For example, Br Rufinus Majdan relates the following incident :
Just before his last imprisonment the Servant of God called together some brothers and spoke to us of the relations of the Immaculate with the Holy Trinity. One day the Servant of God asked me, alone : "My son, do you understand this ?" I answered that I didn't. Then the Servant of God kneeled down and told me to do the same. We bowed down our heads to the ground and I repeated, together with the Servant of God : "O Maria". The servant of God wanted to show me in a practical way the necessity of prayer in order to understand the truths of the faith 2.

[3602] From this same period dates a note written by Fr. Kolbe in Latin where he seems to have simply jotted down the thoughts that were occupying his mind about this mystery, perhaps in view of a conference for the brothers or for one of the articles he published shortly after on this subject. Despite its raw, fragmentary character (or perhaps because of it) it is one of the most profound texts he wrote on this
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question for it very clearly enunciates the principles at the foundation of all his teaching about it.
Everything that exists is either God or from God. In the Most Holy Trinity God [is] the Father or from the Father. To every action [corresponds] an equal and contrary reaction. The Father acts only through the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Son incarnate is Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost quasi-incarnate is the Immaculate. In the Father there is one person and one nature. In Jesus Christ there is one person and two natures. In the Immaculate there are two persons and two natures but the strictest union possible [exists between them].
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—It appears, moreover, that whenever he subsequently used this expression Fr. Kolbe always added the word "quasi" to ensure that he not be misunderstood. 2 — PSV II, p. 657. 3 — In the translation it has been necessary to supply certain words between parentheses in order render some phrases grammatically coherent.

In the just soul the Holy Ghost is [present] ; therefore in the most just Immaculate the Holy Ghost is as perfectly [present] as possible. The Immaculate is not only immaculately conceived but is the Immaculate Conception (Lourdes). – Whence [it comes] that the Holy Ghost reigns in Her in the absolutely most perfect way. Every action [comes] from the Father through Jesus and the Immaculate to souls, and [every] reaction [goes] from souls through the Immaculate and Jesus to the Father. Between the Father and Jesus, and between Jesus and the Immaculate there is perfect union ; only between the Immaculate and souls there is much to be completed. Therefore the M.I. ; frequent discourse about the Immaculate ; and thinking and speaking and hearing about Her. The Immaculate is the Mediatrix of all graces because She belongs to the Holy Ghost 1 by a most intimate, vital union with the Holy Ghost. – And therefore [one must go] through Her to Jesus and the Father. The cause of the Immaculate is a mystery in the strict sense because She is the Mother of God and God is infinite while our mind is finite. (SK 1286, before January 1938 2)

These simple phrases are full of subsequent developments which we will see later. For now let us try to give an idea of their fecundity.
Everything that exists is either God or from God.

This simple principle, posed at the very beginning, where it belongs, encompasses absolutely everything : God, that is the Most Holy Trinity, and His creation. This all-embracing perspective is important because what Fr. Kolbe will eventually do is apply the fundamental principle of action-reaction to both God and His creation. He takes a step already in that direction in the next phrase, where he shows the parallel in God to this procession of creatures from God that he has just alluded to.
In the Most Holy Trinity God [is] the Father or from the Father.

So just as all that is is either God or from God, so also in the Most Holy Trinity itself, all is either the Father or from Him. Without yet applying it, he then simply enunciates the principle he will later apply to both God and the creation that comes from Him :
To every action [corresponds] an equal and contrary reaction.

Later we will see how this principle is applied to the processions in God Himself, but for now it simply leads Him to speak of the action of the Father in the Missions of the Son and the Holy Ghost .
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Firstly, again, a principle :
The Father acts only through the Son and the Holy Ghost.
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— Literally : « because She is of the Holy Ghost : quia est Spiritus Sancti ». — The editor of Scritti publishes a few other such notes a long with this one which all turn around the same theme (SK 12821285). Let us just quote one phrase that is particularly interesting because it puts in close parallel the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate : "Everything proceeds from the eternal Father and returns to Him through the Son (Christ) and the Holy Ghost (the Immaculate)" (SK 1284). 3 — Strangely, Fr. Kolbe never seems to use the term "mission" even though he speaks about them constantly. Already St. Augustine linked the two processions in the Most Holy Trinity with the missions of the Son and the Holy Ghost into the world. Without ever citing him, Fr. Maximilian uses his doctrine on this point constantly.

This phrase follows naturally after the enunciation of the principle about action-reaction, since, having spoken about action, to which corresponds reaction, it is logical that he then speak of the action of the Father. The phrase itself is simply a statement of revealed truth about the order of the Persons in the Most Holy Trinity, the order of their action, which follows necessarily from the order of their being (agere sequitur esse, as the Scholastic axiom goes). The saint could not base his teaching on more solid ground than this. Coming as it does after the principle that states that to every action corresponds an equal and contrary action, it implicitly contains the whole doctrine he is going to expound : if the Father acts only through the Son and the Holy Ghost (which is de fide), and to every action corresponds an equal and contrary reaction, then, necessarily, to this action of the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost is going to correspond an equal and contrary reaction going from the Holy Ghost through the Son to the Father. He then goes on to speak of this action of the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost, that is, their « missions » into the world.
The Son incarnate is Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost quasi-incarnate is the Immaculate.

The originality, obviously, of Fr. Kolbe is seen here, when he speaks thus of the Immaculate as the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Ghost : but the context in which this appears helps us to understand its basis. In fact, it is part of our faith that not just the Son but also the Holy Ghost was sent into the world to work our salvation, as Fr. Kolbe will explain very clearly in one of the articles for which this note lays the foundations, but very often this mission of the Holy Ghost is all but forgotten. The great merit of the doctrine of Fr. Kolbe is that it finally takes into account the reality of this mission and puts it into a clear light. For if the Father acts always through the Son and the Holy Ghost (and not only through the Son alone), just as His action through the Son in the world takes place in a creature from the world (the humanity of Christ) so also His action through the Holy Ghost must have a creature which corresponds to it in some way, even if it is not by a hypostatic union, as in the case of the Son. This will all appear more clearly in subsequent articles : let it suffice for now to have remarked the meaning of the notion of the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Ghost in Mary by placing it in its context. Having made this surprising statement, Fr. Kolbe goes on to elaborate, recapitulating a sort of general scheme :
In the Father there is one person and one nature. In Jesus Christ there is one person and two natures. In the Immaculate there are two persons and two natures but the strictest union possible [exists between them].

Seen in this perspective, the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Ghost is not quite so surprising. After all, if this mysterious division between person and nature in the Son allows Him to have a certain duality

about Him that we cannot understand, why shouldn't there be a certain mysterious union between the persons and natures of the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate that we cannot understand ?
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He then goes on to explain a little this union, by pointing out that it exists already, to a certain degree, in all the just :
In the just soul the Holy Ghost is [present] ; therefore in the most just Immaculate the Holy Ghost is as perfectly [present] as possible. The Immaculate is not only immaculately conceived but is the Immaculate Conception (Lourdes). – Whence [it comes] that the Holy Ghost reigns in Her in the absolutely most perfect way.

The fascination of Fr. Kolbe with the words of Our Lady at Lourdes goes back at least to his days as a student in Rome and he meditates on them still in the last writing we have of his dictated on the day
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of his arrest. The first time we see him express his insight about the difference between being immaculately conceived and being the Immaculate Conception is in 1933 in the letter alluded to above where he starts reflecting on the relations of Our Lady with the Divine Persons in which he says :
"Immaculate Concepta" can be understood a little, but "Immaculata Conceptio" is full of the most consoling mysteries. (SK 508 12/4/1933)

Then, in a conference about the same time as the composition of this note, he speaks about it to his brothers :
What is the difference between the expressions : Immaculate Conception and Immaculately Conceived ? The same difference that exists between, for example, the expressions : "white" and "whiteness". If something is white it can be sullied, but whiteness is not susceptible of any modification. The name Immaculate Conception is very important and proves that the Immaculate is all beautiful, without any sin. This is Her very first privilege, and that which is first is most dear. (K 92, 10/8/1937)

The note goes on to state the conclusion of the principles that have been enunciated, conclusion that will in its turn be the premiss of the rest of the meditation :
Every action [comes] from the Father through Jesus and the Immaculate to souls, and [every] reaction [goes] from souls through the Immaculate and Jesus to the Father.

As we said earlier, this conclusion was already implicit once the principle of action-reaction was placed beside the revealed truth of the Father always acting through the Son and the Holy Ghost. The identification having been made of the Immaculate to the Holy Ghost, in parallel with the identification of Jesus to the Son, the conclusion follows inevitably. It is a conclusion, however, that is full of practical
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— We recognize in this passage an almost identical phrase that we have seen in a previous conference where he said : "In God the Father there is one nature and one person, in God the Son there is one person and two natures, in the Holy Ghost there are, as it were, two persons and two natures, for the Most Holy Mother is most closely united to the Holy Ghost. " (K 103). It is interesting to remark, however, that in this note it is not said that the one person and two natures are in God the Son, but in Jesus Christ, and similarly not that the two persons and natures are in the Holy Ghost but in the Immaculate. It is true that the two manners of expression come to the same thing, but the note brings out more clearly the parallel between the humanity of Jesus and Mary, which is closely linked with the double mission of the Son and the Holy Ghost. 2 — To his brother he writes from Rome : "She willed to call Herself at Lourdes : « Immaculate Conception » ; therefore we invoke Her often by this name." (SK 21, after 26/9/1918)

consequences, as he goes on to say :
Between the Father and Jesus, and between Jesus and the Immaculate there is perfect union ; only between the Immaculate and souls there is much to be completed. Therefore the M.I. ; frequent discourse about the Immaculate ; and thinking and speaking and hearing about Her.

As always with Fr. Kolbe, speculation ends in action. Since all of the above is true : "Therefore, the M.I.". He finishes with a restatement of the main truth around which he constantly circles (not leaving out its practical consequence, the justification of his activity) and a final confession of his incapacity to comprehend the mystery he has just tried to fathom :
The Immaculate is the Mediatrix of all graces because She belongs to the Holy Ghost by a most intimate, vital union with the Holy Ghost. – And therefore through Her to Jesus and the Father. The cause of the Immaculate is a mystery in the strict sense because She is the Mother of God and God is infinite while our mind is finite 1.

[5421] Now we come to two articles written by Fr. Kolbe for the first issues of the revue he began to publish in March 1938 in Latin for the clergy of the whole world. Their importance for the question we are treating cannot be overemphasized because in them the saint expressed himself in a very clear and orderly fashion in theological, Latin terminology, fully aware that his words would be weighed and scrutinized by his fellow priests everywhere. It is the solemn and complete exposition of his doctrine for which all that has preceded has been but a preparation. The first article , entitled simply « Immaculata », begins with a prayer to the Immaculate where he
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asks her to deign to let him praise her, in spite of his unworthiness and utter incapacity to understand her glory. Then he begins with the Most Holy Trinity and from there proceeds to creation and its return to God, which leads him to speak of the most perfect creature whose return to God is without the least fault.
God is charity. Out of the fullness of this life the Father begets the Son, the Spirit, however, proceeds from the Father and the Son. But since God loves also finite possible images of Himself, He chooses some of them and gives them real existence. These creatures, in virtue, as it were, of a reaction, perfect themselves and thus tend toward God, from Whom they proceed. Even more do men, having free will, in a like manner tend towards God, but subject to what imperfections and how at variance with the Divine Will, with the Deity ?
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— This last phrase is reminiscent of a similar one written by St. Paul at the end of his long discussion of the mystery of the election and reprobation of Israël : "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God ! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways !" ( Rm 11 : 33) 2 — SK 1224.

God foresaw also from eternity a Creature that would not deviate in even the least thing, who would not lose any grace, who would not appropriate to itself anything of all that it had received from Him. The Giver of grace, the Holy Ghost, inhabited Her soul from the first moment of Her existence, took absolutely complete possession of it, and penetrated it to such a degree that the name of Spouse of the Holy Ghost is only a remote, meager, imperfect, although true shadow of this union. Neither did He permit that She be defiled by the stain of original sin. And She was conceived without stain, Immaculately Conceived. At Lourdes the Immaculate Virgin responded to Saint Bernadette who asked her repeatedly who She was : "I am the Immaculate Conception". By these clear words She expressed the fact that She was not only Immaculately Conceived, but more than that, the Immaculate Conception Itself, just as a something white is one thing and another is its whiteness alone, so also a perfect thing is one thing and its perfection another. Speaking of Himself God thus spoke to Moses : "I am Who am" (Gen. 3 : 14), that is, it pertains to My essence that by my nature I always be from Myself : without a principle. The Immaculate Virgin, however, has Her origin from God, She is a creature, a conception, but an Immaculate Conception. What profound mysteries are hidden by these words.

The comparison of Our Lady's words at Lourdes with the revelation of God's name to Moses is not fully developed explicitly here but the parallel is full of meaning. Just as God there revealed His very essence saying : "I am Who am", so at Lourdes when she said : "I am the Immaculate Conception" (and not just "I was conceived immaculately"), Our Lady revealed who She is, as will be explained in later writings .
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Fr. Kolbe then retraces the path of reaction that corresponds to the action of creation and shows the key place that the most perfect creature has in this reaction.
And as everything in the natural and in the supernatural order descends from the Father through the Son and the Spirit to creatures, thus in a similar way also all creatures ascend by the Spirit and the Son to the Father. However the most perfect of creatures, the Immaculate Virgin, is elevated above all creatures and is, in an ineffable way, Divine. For the Son of God descended from the Father through the Spirit and inhabited Her and was made incarnate in Her and She became the Mother of God, the Mother of the Man-God, the Mother of Jesus. From that moment every grace from the Father through the Incarnate Son Jesus and the Spirit dwelling in the Immaculate — is dispensed by the Immaculate. And every sign of love of creatures, unless it has first been purged from imperfections by the Immaculate and elevated by Jesus to an infinite value and thereby made worthy of the majesty of the Celestial Father, does not come before the face of God.

Some months before returning from Japan, Fr. Kolbe explained this chain of love that passes through the Immaculate and then Jesus in order to arrive at the Father in a letter to a Brother at
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— If one compares St. Bernadette's account of the first apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes with the revelation to Moses of God's name many interesting parallels can be noted, in particular : a call from a bush (burning without being consumed, in one case, shaken by a wind that affects it alone in the other), taking off one's sandals to approach holy ground, beginning of a mission to the whole people.

Niepokalanów who was troubled about how to reconcile total consecration to Mary and the devotion we owe to Jesus :
It is true that we love the Father in the Son, in Jesus Christ and that to Him we must offer all our love, so that in Him and through Him the Father might receive all our love. Nonetheless, it is still true that our acts, even the most holy, are not without defects and, if we want to offer them to Jesus Christ pure and without stain, we must address them directly only to the Immaculate and give them to Her as Her property, so that She might offer them as Hers to Her Son. Then these acts will become pure, immaculate. Then, having received an infinite value through the divinity of Jesus, they will worthily adore the Father. (SK 643 10/10/1935) 1

The article finishes with the conclusion of all that has preceded : the universal mediation of Our Lady, resulting from her special union with the Holy Ghost :
The union between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Virgin is so close that the Holy Ghost, penetrating the soul of the Immaculate, does not exercise His influence on souls except through Her. Whence She is Mediatrix of all graces, whence also She has become the Mother of all Divine Grace. Whence She is Queen of the Angels and the Saints, the Help of Christians and the Refuge of sinners. O how little is known still the Immaculate Virgin ! When will the souls of men love by Her Heart the Divine Heart of Jesus and through It the Celestial Father ?

[6521] The second article , by far the most important, is entitled "Of the Immaculate Conception of the
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Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the Mediation of All Graces". It begins by recalling the principle that the close harmony between the truths of the faith permits the discovery of certain dogmas through reflection on the implications of others that are more immediately known. Fr. Kolbe gives the example of the Divine Maternity of Mary, that was proclaimed following the definition of the hypostatic union in Christ of two natures in one Divine Person, and the belief in the Immaculate Conception which followed on that. He proposes in his article similarly to shed light on the mediation of Mary based on the recently proclaimed dogma of her Immaculate Conception.
The very strict connection between the truths of Christian doctrine is known to us all. For Catholic dogmas are begotten from each other and perfect each other. An example of this is how the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus, basing themselves solely on the Catholic doctrine of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the Person of the Word, proclaimed the Divine Maternity of Mary. Indeed, once the relation between Jesus and His Mother Mary was recognized, there arose the Catholic belief that holds that the Mother of the Saviour was immune from original sin. Catholics did not
1

— Later, in the book he was preparing on the Immaculate just before he died, Fr. Kolbe will come back to this crucial point again : "If we belong to the Immaculate, then also everything that is ours belongs to Her as well and Jesus accepts all that comes from us as if it came from Her. In this case She cannot leave these actions imperfect, but renders them worthy of Herself, that is immaculate, without the least stain." (SK 1301 5-20/8/1940) 2 — SK 1229.

dare to even think that Mary remained even for one instant under the slavery of the devil. Also from the singular mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her ineffable union with the Holy Ghost (the Immaculate Conception) arose among the faithful a wonderful hope of receiving the sweet protection of Mary.

The process, then, is seen as having taken place thus : the Divine Maternity of Mary is recognized, which leads to the perception of the Immaculate Conception, that is, her union with the Holy Ghost, which in turn leads to turning towards her to ask her protection and help. Fr. Kolbe goes on :
Now it is evident that our relation to Mary Coredemptrix and Dispensatrix of all graces in the economy of redemption has not been perceived with the same perfection from the beginning. At the present time, however, our faith in the mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is increasing more and more every day. In this brief article we want to show what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary can contribute to the dogma of the Mediation of Mary.

In fact, in a certain way, as we have already begun to see and will see even more clearly later, it is rather the fact of the mediation of Mary that helps us understand what the Immaculate Conception really is, but there is a certain sense in which the opposite is true as well. As Fr. Kolbe says here : "Catholic dogmas are begotten from each other and perfect each other". He then enters abruptly into the heart of his subject .
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The work of redemption immediately depends on the Second Person of God — Jesus Christ, Who reconciled us to the Father with His blood, and rendered Him satisfaction for the sin of Adam and merited for us sanctifying grace, various actual graces and the right of entering into the kingdom of heaven. Nonetheless the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity also participates in this work, by the fact that, in virtue of the redemption carried out by Christ, He transforms the souls of men into temples of God and makes us adopted sons of God and heirs of the celestial kingdom, as St. Paul says : "You are washed, you are sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God" (1 Co 6 : 11).

We have here stated the principle that is the foundation of the whole doctrine of Fr. Kolbe on the Holy Ghost and Our Lady, as we said earlier : the double mission of the Son and the Holy Ghost in the salvation of the world. Although it is not cited, the doctrine exposed here is exactly that of the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Holy Ghost, Divinum illud munus, published in 1897. At the very beginning of this encyclical, the pope recalls that the divine mission Our Lord Jesus Christ received from His Father was ordered to the eternal beatitude of men in heaven as to its final end, and, as to its immediate end, here below, to their possession of divine grace, which is the seed of this eternal life of heaven. He then adds :
Nevertheless, according to His inscrutable counsels, (Our Lord) did not will to entirely complete and finish this mission Himself on earth, but as He had received it from the Father, so He transmitted it for its completion to the Holy Ghost. (…Thus the Holy Ghost) would complete, in His office of Intercessor, Consoler and Teacher, the work which Christ Himself had begun in His mortal life. For, in the redemption of the world, the completion of the work was by Divine Providence reserved to the manifold power of that
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— This abruptness appears to be a character of his style, especially in the conferences. With one giant leap he suddenly plunges into the highest regions of contemplation on the most sublime mysteries of the faith. This can be disconcerting at first, but once one becomes accustomed to it, it is one of the joys of reading him. He doesn't waste time or words with small talk : pure faith alone in the highest supernatural mysteries is the atmosphere in which he lives and where he immediately leads us.

Spirit, who, in the creation of the world, "adorned the heavens" (Job 26 : 13) and "filled the whole world" (Wisdom 1 : 7) 1.

This doctrine of the double mission of the Son and the Holy Ghost is deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition , and St. Thomas explains it very clearly in his Summa. We will quote St. Thomas more in
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detail shortly, but we can already note his reply to an objection which, anticipating modern rationalism, says that the revelation of the Trinity was superfluous if it transcended human reason. St. Thomas responds saying that this revelation was not at all superfluous, but necessary, first of all, so that men would think correctly about creation, since they would see that it was not a product of necessity, but of intelligence (the Word) and love (the Holy Ghost). He then adds :
It was also, and more principally, necessary so that men might think correctly about the salvation of the human race, which is accomplished (perficitur) by the incarnate Son and by the gift of the Holy Ghost. (I, q. 32, a. 1 ad 3)

Fr. Kolbe, having enunciated this principle of the cooperation of the Holy Ghost in the salvation of men, goes on to give some Scriptural texts that speak about it.
Descending even into our souls, the Holy Ghost, God-Charity, unites us to the other two Persons. Thus in his epistle to the Romans St. Paul writes : "We know not what we should pray for as we ought ; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings" (Rm 8 : 26). Also in the epistle to the Corinthians he says that the distribution of graces depends on the will of the Holy Ghost : "To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom : and to another, the word of knowledge (…) to another the grace of healing in one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy (…) But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will" (1 Co 12 : 8-11).

This last text serves as a hinge to lead to the next stage of Fr. Kolbe's doctrine, the special relation between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate. For if the Holy Ghost is said to apply the merits of the redemption worked by Christ by distributing the graces He merited, so also Mary is said to cooperate with Him in this distribution and in the forming of the members of the Body of Christ, just as with the Holy Ghost she formed the physical body of Christ. Using Scripture and some texts of St. Louis de Montfort (who was not yet canonized at that time but only Blessed) Fr. Kolbe endeavours to prove this. To be noted especially is how in the first phrase of this passage he compares this cooperation of the Blessed Virgin with the Holy Ghost to the manifestation of the Son by the Incarnation.
However just as Jesus, in order to show us His immense love, became the God-Man, thus also the Third Person, God-Charity, willed to manifest His mediation with the Father and the Son by a certain
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— At the very end of this same encyclical we find one of the papal texts referred to earlier that gives Our Lady the title of Spouse of the Holy Ghost, a text which beautifully (and authoritatively) evokes the precise mystery that Fr. Kolbe meditated on and wrote about so much : "You know well, Venerable Brethren, the intimate and wonderful relations existing between her and the Holy Ghost, so that she is justly called His Spouse." 2 — For example, as Cornelius a Lapide says, the Fathers of the Church interpret in this way the sending to Sodom of two of the three men (or angels) that Abraham entertained in the valley of Mambre (Gen 18) a symbol of the sending of the Son and of the Holy Ghost into the world.

exterior sign. That this sign is the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin is seen from the writings of the saints, especially those who assert that Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Whence, according to the mind of the Fathers, Bl. Louis Marie Grignion thus concludes : "God the Holy Ghost, being barren in God, that is to say, not producing any other Divine Person, is become fruitful by Mary whom He has espoused. It is with her, in her and of her that He produced His masterpiece, which is God made man : « The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee ». It is not that we mean that our Blessed Lady gives the Holy Ghost His fruitfulness, which He, in so far as He is God, has, like the Father and the Son, although — for no Divine Person proceeds from Him — He doesn't bring it into action. But what we mean is, that the Holy Ghost chose to make use of the mediation of our Blessed Lady, though He had no absolute need of her, to bring His fruitfulness into action, by producing in her and by her the human nature of Christ 1." The Holy Ghost works all things in us through Mary also after the death of Christ. For the word of the Creator about the Immaculate to the serpent : "She shall crush your head" (Gen. 3 : 15) are to be understood, according to the doctrine of theologians, without any limitation with regard to time. It pertains to the Holy Ghost to form, until the end of the world, the new predestined members of the Mystical Body of Christ. But as Blessed Louis Grignion demonstrates, this is done with Mary, in Mary and through Mary. We are led to this conclusion, that is, that the Holy Ghost acts through Mary, by texts of Holy Scripture and by the words of the saints, who are the best interpreters of Holy Scripture : "And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever, the Spirit of truth (…)"(Jn 14 : 16-17). "But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things (…) whatsoever I shall have said to you" (Jn 14 : 26) ; "But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. (…) He shall glorify me (…)" (Jn 16 : 13-14). Blessed Louis Grignion employs words that have roughly the same meaning but applies them to the Immaculate : "We have not yet known Mary, which is why we also don't know Christ as we should. If however — as must nonetheless happen — Christ will be known and His reign come into the world, this will only be the effect of the knowledge of Mary and Her reign over us ; for Mary, who gave birth to Jesus the first time for the salvation of the world, now renders us apt to know Jesus clearly" 2.

Fr. Kolbe then sums up, repeating once more his central intuition : the mysterious union of the Holy Ghost with Mary by which He manifests his role in redemption and accomplishes it.
Therefore, as the Second Person of God incarnate appears under the name of the "seed of the woman", so also the Holy Ghost through the Immaculate, whom He united to Himself very closely in a way that surpasses entirely our understanding — maintaining nonetheless each of their Persons intact —
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— True Devotion to Mary, n. 20-21. Fr. Kolbe translates rather freely the last part of this text, after the quote from St. Luke (which he adds). The original text here reads : "It is not that we mean that our Blessed Lady gives the Holy Ghost His fruitfulness, as if He had it not Himself. For inasmuch as He is God, He has the same fruitfulness or capacity of producing as the Father and the Son ; only He does not bring it into action, as He does not produce another Divine Person. But what we mean is, that the Holy Ghost chose to make use of our Blessed Lady, though He had no absolute need of her, to bring His fruitfulness into action, by producing in her and by her Jesus Christ and His members (…)" 2 — True Devotion to Mary, n. 13. Again Fr. Kolbe translates freely. The original text reads : "It is with a particular joy that my heart has dictated what I have just written, in order to show that the divine Mary has been up to this time unknown, and that this is one of the reasons that Jesus Christ is not known as He ought to be. If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ are to come into the world, they will be but a necessary consequence of the knowledge and the kingdom of the most holy Virgin Mary, who brought Him into the world for the first time, and will make His second advent full of splendor."

externally manifests His participation in the work of redemption. It is not the same thing, therefore, as the hypostatic union of the two natures, divine and human, in the unique Person of Christ, nonetheless that does not prevent the action of Mary from being the most perfect action of the Holy Ghost. For Mary, as the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and therefore raised above all created perfection, fulfills in all things the will of the Holy Ghost Who inhabits Her from the first instant of Her conception. From all these things considered together we may conclude that Mary, in so far as she is the Mother of the Saviour Jesus, became the Coredemptrix of the human race, and in so far as she is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, participates in the distribution of all graces. Thus with the theologians we can say : "… just as the first Eve with true, free acts worked towards our ruin, in which she truly had an influence, so Mary by her true acts concurred in the reparation… : in this there is most clearly already a true mediation in the proper sense of the term "(Bittremieux).

In this last paragraph, Fr. Kolbe briefly touches on a point of which all theologians speak, namely the relation between the mediation of all graces of Mary and her coredemption, the latter being seen as the reason of the former. It is fitting that Mary participate in the distribution of all graces since she participated in the redemption which merited all these graces. Thus her mediation has two faces, as it were : a mediation of merit and a mediation of distribution, the two being like two sides of the same coin, or better, like the two sides of the Miraculous Medal where we see these two mediations clearly depicted : on the front the mediation of distribution (Our Lady pouring out graces on the world) and on the back the mediation of merit (the "M" in which the cross of Jesus is planted and the Immaculate Heart pierced with a sword beside the Sacred Heart pierced with thorns). Instead of speaking of the coredemption as the counterpart of the distribution of graces, Fr Kolbe almost exclusively speaks of the union of Our Lady with the Holy Ghost which she had from the beginning of her existence (the Immaculate Conception) as being the source of her mediation of all graces, but here we see that the other notion was not alien to his doctrine. In fact, it is primordially her eminent mission and sanctity (her Divine Maternity and the Immaculate Conception that comes from that) that is the source of her cooperation in the redemption, so the two perspectives do not contradict but rather complete each other. The article concludes by pointing out that in recent times Our Lady herself has linked the Immaculate Conception and her mediation of all graces. Firstly in the apparition of the Miraculous Medal in 1830 one sees Our Lady standing on a globe that, she said, "represents the whole world and each individual soul" and pouring out graces, represented by the rays of light coming from her hands. This obviously signifies her mediation of all graces. At the same time, on the outer edge of the medal is written the invocation : "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee", which equally obviously represents her immaculate conception, and at the same time invites us to pray to her to obtain the graces we need. At Lourdes as well we see these two dogmas together. There Our Lady grants all kinds of graces and even stupendous miracles to show that it is through her that God works. And at the same time she identifies herself by saying : "I am the Immaculate Conception".

[9212] Although this article is not very clearly organized at times (one senses that Fr. Kolbe is struggling to get across something he himself barely grasps), it contains some very deep insights that he will go on to develope subsequently. The most important of these insights, and something that appears for the first time (at least explicitly) in his doctrine, is this idea that, as he says, "the Third Person, God-Charity, willed to manifest His mediation with the Father and the Son by a certain exterior sign" and that "this sign is the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin". Or, as he puts in in another way : "the Holy Ghost through the Immaculate (…) externally manifests His participation in the work of redemption". That this "mediation of the Holy Ghost with the Father and the Son" exists, that He "participates in the work of redemption ", is part of revelation, and has long been recognized as such, even though it is very often forgotten. But the idea that Our Lady is a manifestation of this role of the Holy Ghost, parallel to the assuming of a human nature by the Son "in order to show us His immense love", is something entirely new. This is certainly what Fr. Kolbe means by saying that the Immaculate is the "quasi-incarnation" of the Holy Ghost, or again, His "personification". These new, but entirely orthodox, expressions are necessary to express this new insight — but what is this insight exactly and how can we fit it into the context of tradition ? As Fr. Kolbe says very often, the perception of divine truths sometimes takes a long while to develope, especially in the case of Our Lady, who, he says, is still like an "unknown world". There must be some link, however, with what went before, for it isn't a matter of some new revelation that he had but simply a deeper understanding of what went before .
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This link we find in the Summa of St. Thomas in the Prima Pars, question 43, which treats of the mission of the Divine Persons. Although, as we said earlier, Fr. Kolbe never uses the term "mission", his doctrine fits in perfectly with the traditional teaching developed by St. Thomas in this question and thus shows itself not to be a radical departure from tradition but simply an authentic deepening of it. Let us briefly summarize St. Thomas' doctrine here, and then see how it helps us understand Fr. Kolbe's insight. St. Thomas explains, firstly, what Revelation means when it says of certain Divine Persons that they are"sent" ("missa" in Latin). This signifies, he explains, that there is a certain new presence of that Person in a certain place (he says "a certain new presence" because, in fact, all Three Divine Persons are already present everywhere by the presence of immensity, that is, by the fact that that they must be present everywhere to give being to everything that exists). Along with this new presence, mission also includes the fact of proceeding from another Divine Person, because otherwise, although the Person could be said
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— It is interesting to note here a remark he makes at one point in conference 103 that we saw earlier : « The first Christians knew about this (that is, the union of the Holy Ghost and Mary), although many of these truths were in germ, they weren't developed. That is why in the future many dogmas are yet to be declared » (K 103, n. 2).

to "come" into the place where it begins to be in a new way, it can't be said to be "sent", which implies that the Person originates from another. Thus St. Thomas says in conclusion : "The Son is said to be sent by the Father into the world in the sense that He begins to be in the world visibly by the flesh He has assumed " (I, q. 43, a. 1).
1

St. Thomas then explains that mission is something temporal, not eternal, because it implies not just procession from another Divine Person, but also this "new presence" in the world. And so he writes : "The Son proceeds eternally that He might be God, but temporally that He might be man, according to a visible mission, or also that He might be in man, according to an invisible mission " (a. 2).
2

He goes to speak of this invisible mission, explaining first that it occurs only in rational creatures who are in the state of grace, because in such creatures, and only in them, God is present, not only by his presence of immensity, but also in a special way "as the known is in the knower and the beloved is in the lover" in so far as these creatures "by their operation of knowing and loving attain God Himself" .
3

What this means exactly is shown more deeply when he then discusses the invisible mission of the Son. For it would seem that there is no invisible mission of the Son since this mission, as we've just seen, is made by the gift of divine grace, which pertains to the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says in 1 Co 12 : "all these things (that is, gifts of grace) one and the same Spirit worketh". So it would seem that only the Holy Ghost is sent. The response to this objection manifests clearly just what this invisible mission is :
Although all gifts, in so far as they are gifts, are attributed to the Holy Ghost, because He is the first gift, since He is love (…) nonetheless, according to their proper natures, some of these gifts are attributed by a certain appropriation to the Son, namely those which pertain to the intellect, and it is with respect to those gifts that we speak of the mission of the Son. Thus Augustine says, in IV de Trinitate : "Then the Son is sent to someone, when He is known and perceived by them". (a. 5 ad 1)

What this means is made even more clear in the response to another objection that says that since these gifts that pertain to the perfection of the intellect can be had without divine grace, as in the case of certain charisms, like prophecy, it would seem that these gifts, which are appropriated to the Son who procedes as a word of the intellect, do not constitute a mission, since the mission of a divine person is made only according to the gift of sanctifying grace. St. Thomas responds :
The soul is conformed to God by grace. Hence in order that a divine person be sent to someone by grace, he must be assimilated to the divine person who is sent by some gift of grace. And since the Holy
1

— "Filius dicitur esse missus a patre in mundum, secundum quod incoepit esse in mundo visibiliter per carnem assumptam." 2 — "Filius ab aeterno processit ut sit Deus ; temporaliter autem ut etiam sit homo, secundum missionem visibilem ; vel etiam ut sit in homine, secundum invisiblem missionem." 3 — "Super istum modum autem communem [quo Deus est in omnibus rebus] est unus specialis, qui convenit creaturae rationali, in qua Deus dicitur esse sicut cognitum in cognoscente et amatum in amante. Et quia, cognoscendo et amando, creatura rationalis sua operatione attingit ad ipsum Deum, secundum istum specialem modum Deus non solum dicitur esse in creatura rationali sed etiam habitare in ea sicut in templo suo." (a. 3)

Ghost is Love, by the gift of charity the soul is assimilated to the Holy Ghost, and thus the mission of the Holy Ghost takes place according to the gift of charity. The Son, however, is the Word, not just any word, but one that breathes forth love, thus Augustine says, in book IX de Trinitate : « The word that we speak of is knowledge with love ». Therefore the Son is not sent according to every and any kind of perfection of the intellect, but according to the intellectual illumination which breaks forth into the affection of love (…) (a. 5 ad 2) 1

The invisible missions of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, then, take place when in the soul there is an assimilation to them by, respectively, "the illumination of the intellect and the kindling of the affection" as St. Thomas puts it elsewhere in the same article . In this way there is a new presence of
2

these two Persons in the soul and thus a "mission". This is what we mean when we speak of the "inhabitation of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the just". A soul in the state of grace is inhabitated by the Holy Ghost because of the charity it possesses which assimilates it to Him . Already in this sense there is a very intimate, unique union between the
3

Immaculate and the Holy Ghost, since her charity far surpassed that of any other pure creature, as Father Kolbe expresses it in a text we have already seen : "In the just soul the Holy Ghost is [present] ; therefore in the most just Immaculate the Holy Ghost is as perfectly [present] as possible" (SK1286). This invisible mission, then, already explains, to a certain extent, this mysterious, unique union between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate, and certain things that Fr. Kolbe says refer to it. To understand his whole doctrine fully, however, we must go on and see what St. Thomas says about the other mission of the Divine Persons, the visible mission. For as we saw, St. Thomas distinguishes two different missions, where he says, speaking of the Son : "The Son proceeds (…) temporally that He might be man, according to a visible mission, or also that He might be in man, according to an invisible mission" (a. 2). Having seen the invisible mission, let us now see the visible mission. For the Son this
1

— "Ad secundum dicendum quod anima per gratiam conformatur Deo. Unde ad hoc quod aliqua persona divina mittatur ad aliquem per gratiam, oportet quod fiat assimilatio illius ad divinam personam quae mittitur per aliquod gratiae donum. Et quia Spiritus Sanctus est amor, per donum caritatis anima Spiritui Sancto assimilatur, unde secundum donum caritatis attenditur missio Spiritus Sancti. Filius autem est verbum, non qualecumque, sed spirans amorem, unde Augustinus dicit, in IX libro de Trin., verbum quod insinuare intendimus, cum amore notitia est. Non igitur secundum quamlibet perfectionem intellectus mittitur filius, sed secundum talem instructionem intellectus, qua prorumpat in affectum amoris, ut dicitur Ioan. VI, omnis qui audivit a patre, et didicit, venit ad me; et in Psalm., in meditatione mea exardescet ignis. Et ideo signanter dicit Augustinus quod Filius mittitur, cum a quoquam cognoscitur atque percipitur, perceptio enim experimentalem quandam notitiam significat. Et haec proprie dicitur sapientia, quasi sapida scientia, secundum illud Eccli. VI, sapientia doctrinae secundum nomen eius est." 2 — "Illuminatio intellectus et inflammatio affectus" a. 5 ad 3. 3 — As we have just seen, the Son also inhabits the soul in the state of grace (as does the Father as well, even though He is not "sent") but since this is not the case unless the soul has charity, it is the custom to speak rather of the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost, which takes place according to the charity in the soul. Zubizarreta writes : "Inhabitare animam justi est actio communis toti Trinitati, sed appropriatur Spiritui Sancto (…) quia personae divinae per inhabitationem sanctificant animam. Sanctificatio autem, utpote effectus amoris, habet specialem similitiudinem cum Spiritu Sancto, qui est amor. [The inhabitation of the soul of the just is an action common to the whole Trinity, but it is appropriated to the Holy Ghost (…) because the divine persons by their inhabitation sanctify the soul. Now sanctification, in so far as it the effect of love, has a special likeness to the Holy Ghost, who is love.]" Theologia Dogmatico-Scholastica, Vol. II, Q. XXX, a. 3 (n. 623). See also the beautiful book by Fr. Froget, O.P. De l'habitation du Saint Esprit dans les âmes des justes.

visible mission consists in the incarnation : "that He might be man" . What about the Holy Ghost ?
1

This is the question St. Thomas himself poses in the seventh article of this question on the missions of the Divine Persons : "Is it fitting for the Holy Ghost to be sent visibly ?". He responds by explaining what the visible missions are, saying that, since it belongs to man's nature to know invisible things through visible things, it was necessary for the invisible things of God to be revealed to him through visible things. And he goes on :
Thus was it fitting that the invisible missions also of the divine persons should be made manifest by some visible creatures. This mode of manifestation applies differently, however, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. For it belongs to the Holy Ghost, in so far as He proceeds as Love, to be the gift of sanctification ; to the Son, in so far as He is the principle of the Holy Ghost, it belongs to be the author of this sanctification. Thus the Son has been sent visibly as the author of sanctification ; the Holy Ghost as the sign of sanctification 2.

The Holy Ghost, then, just like the Son, has a visible mission to manifest His invisible mission, but His visible mission will not be exactly like that of the Son, precisely because of the distinction between these two divine persons and their different roles in the work of redemption. The responses to the objections show more clearly the difference between the two missions, which consists essentially in the fact that in the visible mission of the Son, the Son assumes a creature into the unity of His person, whereas the Holy Ghost does not. The second objection evokes this essential difference and says that since the Holy Ghost, unlike the Son, did not assume a visible creature into union with His person, then He cannot be said to exist in any creature more than another except as in a sign. St. Thomas accepts this reasoning , and, quoting St.
3

Augustine, explains that the signs in which the visible mission of the Holy Ghost took place were not any imaginary prophetic visions, since these are not visible to all, but certain corporeal forms that were visible to all, like the dove that appeared at the baptism of Our Lord and the tongues of fire that appeared at Pentecost . He adds also that these corporal forms were not preexisting things that were used as symbols
4

(as, for example, the rock from which the Israelites drank in the desert that signified Christ), but rather,

1

— St. Thomas refers to this visible mission when he says, as we saw : "The Son is said to be sent by the Father into the world in the sense that He begins to be in the world visibly by the flesh He has assumed" (I, q. 43, a. 1). 2 — " (…) ita conveniens fuit ut etiam invisibiles missiones divinarum personarum secundum aliquas visibiles creaturas manifestarentur. Aliter tamen filius et spiritus sanctus. Nam spiritui sancto, inquantum procedit ut amor, competit esse sanctificationis donum, filio autem, inquantum est spiritus sancti principium, competit esse sanctificationis huius auctorem. Et ideo filius visibiliter missus est tanquam sanctificationis auctor, sed spiritus sanctus tanquam sanctificationis indicium."
3

— This is a very important point to note. For St. Thomas there is no other way for a divine person to be present in a creature except by either being hypostatically united to it, or being in it as what is signified is in a sign. Any attempt to understand the special relation of Our Lady to the Holy Ghost that does not admit this principle is doomed to go astray (like, apparently, Fr Manteau-Bonamy iin hid book on Fr. Kolbe's doctrine on the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate). 4 — The other two visible missions of the Holy Ghost normally mentioned are the appearance of the cloud at the Transfiguration of Our Lord and His breathing on the Apostles to give them the Holy Ghost in the Cenacle on the evening of Easter Sunday. This list is not necessarily exhaustive, as we will see presently.

says St. Augustine : "they suddenly existed for the sole reason to signify " like, again, the dove and the
1

fire . Thus St. Thomas concludes his response with a sort of definition of the visible mission of the Holy
2

Ghost, saying : "The Holy Ghost is said to have been sent visibly, inasmuch as He showed Himself in certain creatures as in signs especially made for that purpose" (ad 2).
3

The response to the fourth objection goes to the heart of the difference between the two visible missions, relating it in the most profound way to the different roles played by the two divine persons in the work of redemption. The objection says that if the Holy Ghost was sent visibly, it should have been "by reason of the noblest kind of creature", that is the rational creature, like the Son. St. Thomas responds, explaining that the visible mission of the Son took place "by reason of a rational creature" whereas that of the Holy Ghost did not, because the Son, has he already said, is sent as the "author of sanctification", while the Holy Ghost is sent as its "sign" :
It was necessary for the Son to be declared as the author of sanctification, as was explained above 4. Thus the visible mission of the Son was necessarily made according to the rational nature to which it belongs to act, and which is capable of sanctifying. The sign of sanctification, however, could be any other creature. Nor was such a visible creature, formed for such a purpose, necessarily assumed by the Holy Ghost into the unity of His person, since it was not assumed for the purpose of action, but only for the purpose of a sign (…) 5

Finally, the sixth objection states that since the visible mission is only for the purpose of manifesting the invisible mission, it would seem that each time there is an invisible mission there should be a visible mission, which is obviously not the case. St. Thomas replies that the visible exterior sign of the invisible mission takes place only at certain times for the utility of the Church, to confirm and propagate the faith. Thus the dove appeared at the baptism of Christ, to show His authority to give the grace of spiritual regeneration and the cloud appeared at His transfiguration to show the exuberance of His doctrine. And similarly the Apostles were breathed upon by Our Lord to show that they had the authority to administer the sacraments, and the tongues of fire fell upon them at Pentecost to manifest their authority to teach. The apparitions of the divine persons in the Old Testament, however, he adds, were not missions "because, according St.Augustine, they were not sent to designate the indwelling of the

1 2

— .« Ad haec tantum significanda repente extiterunt » — Fr. Galtier, S.J. in his book De SS. Trinitate in se et in nobis (Romae, 1953) explains this point saying : "quia, secus, persona divina non inciperet esse de novo praesens sensibiliter [because, otherwise, a divine person would not begin to be present sensibly in a new way]" (p. 347). 3 — "Spiritus Sanctus visibiliter dicitur esse missus, inquantum fuit monstratus in quibusdam creaturis, sicut in signis, ad hoc specialiter factis."
4 5

— That is, because He is the principle of the Holy Ghost, to Whom" it belongs… to be the gift of sanctification". — "Ad quartum dicendum quod personam filii declarari oportuit ut sanctificationis auctorem, ut dictum est, et ideo oportuit quod missio visibilis filii fieret secundum naturam rationalem, cuius est agere, et cui potest competere sanctificare. Indicium autem sanctificationis esse potuit quaecumque alia creatura. Neque oportuit quod creatura visibilis ad hoc formata, esset assumpta a Spiritu Sancto in unitatem personae, cum non assumeretur ad aliquid agendum, sed ad indicandum tantum."

divine person by grace, but for the manifestation of something else ."
1

[11555] We can now try to see how this doctrine of St. Thomas can help us understand the teaching of Fr. Kolbe on the relation between the Holy Ghost and Mary. The immediate thing that strikes one in reading St. Thomas after having read Fr. Kolbe is the double mission of the Son and the Holy Ghost, which St. Thomas explains so clearly and upon which the doctrine of Fr. Kolbe entirely rests. We are not just saved by the Son, but also by the Holy Ghost Whom He sends us and Who leads us to Him . As we saw, the
2

birth of the insight of Fr. Kolbe about the special relation between the Immaculate and the Holy Ghost resulted from his insight into this Trinitarian chain of action originating from the Father and passing through the Son and the Holy Ghost and back again. All that is clearly present in this question of St. Thomas in which he constantly speaks of the special character and roles and order of these two divine persons in the work of the sanctification of souls. The special relation between the Immaculate and the Holy Ghost can be understood firstly, as we already mentioned, by considering the invisible mission. The presence of the Holy Ghost in Our Lady in this sense is a presence common to all the just, but in her it reaches a degree that far surpasses that of any one else (except, of course, His presence in the soul of Our Lord) and accounts in one way for the title of "Spouse of the Holy Ghost" which seeks to express the intimacy of their union by comparing it to that which exists between a husband and his wife. Thus Fr. Kolbe writes, as we saw :
The Giver of grace, the Holy Ghost, inhabited Her soul from the first moment of Her existence, took absolutely complete possession of it, and penetrated it to such a degree that the name of Spouse of the Holy Ghost is only a remote, meager, imperfect, although true shadow of this union. (SK 1224)

It is interesting to note, in this regard, a passage in the manual of Zubizarreta, where he speaks of the divine missions and objects, at one point, to the statement that the invisible missions take place only in souls in the state of grace, by citing the example of the incarnation. The Holy Ghost, he says, was sent
1

— This recalls what St.Thomas said at the outset, namely, that the purpose of the visible missions is to manifest the invisible missions. Zubizarreta adds that a visible mission can also cause a invisible mission. He writes : "Missio visibilis personae semper ordinatur ad efficiendam vel significandam missionem invisibilem. Dixi ad efficiendam vel significandam, quia missio visibilis aliquando efficit sanctificationem eorum, ad quos fit missio, ut Filius Dei missus in carne humana effecit nostram sanctitatem ; aliquando significat sanctitatem, vel antea exsistentem, ut missio Spiritus Sancti in Christum, vel eodem tempore coallatam ut missio Spiritus Sancti in apostolos. [The visible mission of a person is always ordered to effecting or signifying a invisible mission. I say effecting or signifying because a visible mission sometimes effects the sanctification of those to whom the mission is made, as when the Son of God sent in human flesh effects our sanctity ; sometimes it signifies sanctity, either that it exists before, as the mission of the Holy Ghost to Christ, or conferred at the same time, as the mission of the Holy Ghost to the apostles.]" (Op. cit., n. 608) 2 — Fr. Breton, in his book on the Blessed Trinity, explains this very well : "The Holy Ghost, who is not of Himself, does not act for Himself, but for Jesus, and with Jesus for the Father ; just as the Son, being of the Father, acts for the Father and not for Himself (1 Co 15 : 24). for the Processons are the basis of the Missions, which are an imitation of them." Rev. Valentin Breton, O.F.M., translated by Rev. B. V. Miller, D.D., The Blessed Trinity, History—Theology— Spirituality, Herder, St. Louis, 1934, p. 186. This is precisely the "chain of love" that Fr. Kolbe constantly refers to.

invisibly to the Blessed Virgin in order that from her the body of Christ might be formed, as the angel told her in response to her question about how she would conceive, since she knew not man, saying : "Spiritius Sanctus superveniet in te : The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee". However, he goes on, this mission could have taken place without the Blessed Virgin being in the state of grace for, absolutely speaking, Christ could have been formed by the power of the Holy Ghost even in the womb of a mother stained with sin. The situation evoked by the objection, of course, is unthinkable, for it would be most unfitting that God be born of a sinful mother, but the hypothesis is useful to make a point precisely about what it means to say that the Holy Ghost is present in Our Lady by an invisible mission. In his response Zubizarreta writes :
The Holy Ghost, in point of fact, was sent to the Blessed Virgin and filled her superabundantly with gifts of grace ; but if he had willed to form the body of Christ in the womb of a Virgin stained with sin, He would have been present to her, its true, in order to perform that formation, in the general manner by which He is present to all things, but not by an invisible mission, because He would have produced no special effect in her 1.

So in the case where the Incarnation would have been effected in a Virgin who was in sin, there would have been no invisible mission to her, because the Holy Ghost, God-Charity, would not have been present in her in a new way, and so the angel could not have said : "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee". We still could have said, perhaps, in the creed : "Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine", since this could still be interpreted as being an appropriation of the incarnation to the Holy Ghost, Who is love, because the incarnation is a work of love. But we couldn't speak of the Holy Ghost coming upon this Virgin, He would not be sent to her. Since, however, the angel did say : "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee" we know that there was this invisible mission to Our Lady, and so we know that the "Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine" of the creed refers not just to the fact that objectively, on the part of God, the incarnation was a work of love, but that also it was a work of the love of the Holy Ghost in Mary, because at that moment her Immaculate Heart elicited the most perfect act of charity that had ever existed up to that moment in the history of the universe (act that was immediately surpassed by the first act of charity of her newly conceived Son in her womb) .
2

This doctrine of the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost, then, helps us understand the very close union of Our Lady with Him, by the simple fact of the eminent charity and sanctity that belonged to her as Mother of God. She is indeed so full of charity that the Holy Ghost is present in her "as perfectly as possible", as Fr Kolbe puts it. Thus he can write of her, as we saw :
This is why we love and honour so much the Immaculate, because She is so holy and because the
1 2

— Ibid., n. 619. — Thus Fr. Kolbe can say, as he does in the book he was preparing : "Jesus, the Son of God and of man, the God-man, the Mediator between God and men is the fruit of the love of God and of the Immaculate" (SK 1310 5-20/8/1940)

Holy Ghost acts through Her. (…) She is, in a certain sense, the personification of the Holy Ghost. (K 85)

He also links this presence of the Holy Ghost in Our Lady to her mediation of all graces :
In the just soul the Holy Ghost is [present] ; therefore in the most just Immaculate the Holy Ghost is as perfectly [present] as possible. The Immaculate is the Mediatrix of all graces because She belongs to the Holy Ghost by a most intimate, vital union with the Holy Ghost. – And therefore through Her to Jesus and the Father. (SK 1286)

He explains this connection, saying :
The union between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Virgin is so close that the Holy Ghost, penetrating the soul of the Immaculate, does not flow into souls except through Her. Whence She is Mediatrix of all graces, whence also She has become the Mother of all Divine Grace. (SK 1224)

Fr.Kolbe gives an idea of what this means in a letter he writes to his Brothers in Japan just two months before his arrest by the Gestapo :
The conversion and the sanctification of a soul has been, is now, and will always remain, the work of divine grace. (…) But grace, for ourselves and for others is obtained by humble prayer, by mortification and by fidelity in the accomplishment of our own ordinary duties, including the most simple ones. The more a soul is close to God, the more it is pleasing to God, the more she loves Him and is loved by Him, the more efficaciously she is able to help also others to obtain divine grace, the more easily and fully is her prayer heard. Consequently also the Immaculate — being without stain, totally belonging to God — is absolutely full of grace and the Mediatrix of every grace also for all other souls. And we, recognizing our weakness, our frequent falls, our separation from God, we turn to Her precisely for this : to obtain every sort of grace for ourselves and for others. (SK 925 1/12/1940) 1

Thus by the eminently perfect invisible mission of the Holy Ghost in Our Lady, we can understand already many of the things Fr. Kolbe says about the special relation between them, and even the fact that she is the mediatrix of all graces, since she is so perfectly full of the love of God that the Holy Ghost, in His distribution of the fruits of the redemption won for mankind by the Son incarnate, never acts without her being involved. However, this is not yet all. There remain several statements that he makes that can only be understood, at least to a certain extent, by referring to the other type of mission, the visible mission of the Holy Ghost. For as we have seen, the very notion of the visible missions of the divine persons, as expressed by St. Thomas, namely to be a visible manifestation of the invisible missions, is expressed several times by Fr. Kolbe with regard to the relation between Our Lady and the Holy Ghost. The clearest example of this appears in this second article in Latin that we have just examined where we see both of the visible missions evoked and put parallel to each other :
However just as Jesus, in order to show us His immense love, became the God-Man, thus also the Third Person, God-Charity, willed to manifest His mediation with the Father and the Son by a certain exterior sign. That this sign is the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin is seen from the writings of the
1

— [Cf the parable of the talents : "Take away his talent and give it to him who has ten !" Also St. Pius X says she merits de congruo all that Our Lord merits de condigno.]

saints, especially those who assert that Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost.… Therefore, as the Second Person of God incarnate appears under the name of the "seed of the woman" 1, so also the Holy Ghost through the Immaculate, whom He united to Himself very closely in a way that surpasses entirely our understanding — maintaining nonetheless each of their Persons intact — externally manifests His participation in the work of redemption. It is not the same thing, therefore, as the hypostatic union of the two natures, divine and human, in the unique Person of Christ, nonetheless that does not prevent the action of Mary from being the most perfect action of the Holy Ghost.

The mediation of the Holy Ghost, then, by which He leads us to the Son and the Father, is manifested by the Immaculate Heart of Mary which is its "sign". This is exactly what St. Thomas says is the purpose of the visible mission of a Divine Person : it makes His invisible mission manifest by a creature that is its sign. This visible mission, in the case of the Holy Ghost, as we have already seen, can manifest the invisible mission that has already been made, as in the case of the coming of the dove upon Christ at His baptism ; or it can manifest the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost as it takes place, as when the tongues of fire fall on the disciples at Pentecost. It is in this second way that the Immaculate Heart would be the visible mission that represents the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost in souls each time He gives grace, applying to individual souls the fruits of the redemption .
2

In this, then, we have the precise meaning of Fr. Kolbe when he says the Immaculate was the quasiincarnation of the Holy Ghost. It also explains other enigmatic expressions of his that we have seen, as when he says :
The Most Holy Mother exists for this, so that the Holy Ghost might be better known. (K 103) In venerating the Immaculate we venerate in a special way the Holy Ghost. (SK 634) The perfect union of the Immaculate with the Holy Ghost makes Her in a certain way, the Holy Ghost Himself and that is why if we honour Her perfectly, we glorify the Holy Ghost — God. (K 61)

Although Fr. Kolbe didn't explicitly use St. Thomas' doctrine of the divine missions to explain his own teaching, the two correspond perfectly. [13570] In the months that followed Fr. Maximilian touched upon this theme of the relation between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate several times in his conferences to his brothers. We will simply quote these passages, which, after what we have already seen, explain themselves.
The Lord God decreed that we should receive everything from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost — the Immaculate. This is the unique route for all grace. In the Old testament one addressed God directly in fear and trembling. Our Lord Jesus Christ came
1 2

— That is, in His incarnation, which is His visible mission in which He "appears". — This is what St. Bernadine of Siena refers to in his famous statement (cited by St. Alphonsus of Liguori) that the Blessed Virgin has "a certain jurisdiction over every invisible mission of the Holy Ghost" [Ref??].

and taught us to address ourselves to God the Father through His mediation, saying that no one comes to the Father but by Him (Jn 14 : 6). And from that time Holy Church especially emphasizes the honour due to our Lord Jesus Christ and in all her prayers adds : "through Christ our Lord". Nonetheless the relation of creatures to God was not yet ideal — creature and Creator, the infinite and the finite. Thus Jesus said to the Apostles : "Now you cannot understand this and you will understand only by the Holy Ghost" (cf Jn 16 : 12-13). For far more perfect is the honor given to God through the Holy Ghost, that is through the Immaculate, His Spouse, Whom He penetrates entirely, to the point that He is, as it were, incarnate in Her, only they remain two persons and two natures. The will of the Immaculate is most intimately united to the will of the Holy Ghost, in such a way that it is completely identified with it. That is why when we give ourselves to the Immaculate and accomplish Her will, by that very fact we give ourselves to Jesus and we accomplish His will — but in the most perfect way that man can ever attain. Thus we become, as it were, immaculate, and therefore more agreeable to God and it is no longer us, but She through us and in us Who offers a most sublime honour to the Most Holy Trinity. Every prayer through the mediation of the Immaculate and every act of accomplishing Her will glorifies God and adores Him in the most perfect manner, for it confesses His infinite omnipotence in creating a being so perfect, so sublime and so holy. The Immaculate is this… link, this lever that unites us to God. In so far as She is a creature She is close to us, but in so far as She is the Mother of God She touches the Divinity. That is why also the honour offered to God by the Immaculate is the highest, the most perfect, the most adoring honour and procures for Him the [greatest] glory. If we were to leave aside the Immaculate, we would greatly displease the Most Holy Trinity. In all boldness we can affirm that our highest ideal is the Immaculate. A man cannot rise any higher than this. The Immaculate is the highest degree of perfection and sanctity of a creature. No man will ever attain this celestial summit of grace, for the Mother of God is unique. However he who gives himself without limits to the Immaculate will in a short time attain a very high degree of perfection and procure for God a very great glory. All through the Immaculate, in the Immaculate and for the Immaculate. (K 180 3/7/1938) The Holy Ghost is, as it were, incarnate in the Immaculate, and, conversely : the Immaculate is, as it were, the personification of the Holy Ghost. (K 184 16/8/1938)

In relation to the Holy Ghost She is His Spouse. We cannot understand this. The Holy Ghost transformed Her in such a way that the Immaculate was, as it were, one being with Him. This relation is so intimate that Pope Pius IX calls the Immaculate "the complement of the Most Holy Trinity". Here reason is not sufficient, because the Most Holy Trinity is infinite. And thus even if our knowledge was perfect, the distance between us and the Holy Trinity would be infinite. (K 196 26/11/1938)

The next reference we have is over two years later, just twelve days before his arrest by the Gestapo.
Life and existence aren't the same thing. After death we will be, as it were, images sanctified by the Immaculate, who will glorify Her, spreading and deepening love for Her. In the universe we have the general law of action and reaction. Everything is either Creator or creature.

Everything is similar to the Creator and is His work. Therefore every creature is, in every aspect, similar to God. We are returning to God and sanctification is this return to the Creator. We say that the Father in heaven is the fountain of everything, that everything proceeds from the Holy Trinity. We cannot see the Lord God. That is why, in order to make Himself known, the Lord Jesus came down to earth. The Most Holy Mother is She in whom we glorify the Holy Ghost, for She is His Spouse. Men want so much to know the Father that the Apostles said to Jesus : "Show us the Father" (Jn 14 : 8). The Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity came into the world and gave the proof of His love. The Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity did not become incarnate. However, the expression : "Spouse of the Holy Ghost" is much more profound that in its earthly sense. We can say, in a certain way, that the Immaculate is the Holy Ghost incarnate. In Her we love the Holy Ghost, through Her [we love] the Son. The Holy Ghost is so little known. (K 311 5/2/1941)

[14516] Finally we have the last text, dictated on the very morning of his arrest on February 17, 1941 . The
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depth and importance of this writing is so great that it has been called the testament of Fr. Kolbe. We will examine it, then, very carefully, and it will serve as the fitting conclusion of our treatment of the subject, since it is a veritable summary and conclusion of the saint himself on what he had to say on this great mystery. The text can be divided into three parts : 1) the first part shows why Our Lady at Lourdes could say "I am the Immaculate Conception" ; 2) the second part shows how this same name can be applied to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity ; 3) the third part explains more deeply this intimate union between Our Lady and the Holy Ghost that makes them share the same name. 1) Our Lady is the Immaculate Conception Our Lady at Lourdes said : "I am the Immaculate Conception". How is this possible ? As we have seen, Fr. Kolbe meditated on these words all his life. Here then is what he says about them in this last of his meditations here below.
These words, he says, came out of the mouth of the Immaculate Herself. They must indicate, then, with the greatest precision and in the most essential manner, who She is.

And he goes on to explain how this name applies uniquely to Our Lady, and contains her essence in the strict scholastic sense of the term since it gives her genus and species :
Who are you, O Immaculate Conception ?
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— SK 1318.

Not God, for he has no beginning, not an angel created without any intermediary from nothing ; not Adam formed out of the dust of the earth, not Eve taken out of Adam, neither the Word incarnate, who existed from eternity already and thus is conceived rather than a conception. The children of Eve did not exist before their conception, thus they can be called conceptions, but You are distinguished from them all, because they are conceptions stained with original sin, but You are the one, unique Immaculate Conception.

2) The Holy Ghost is also an Immaculate Conception In the second part of this text he explains how the name Immaculate Conception can be applied as well, nonethess, in a certain way, to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost. He begins by posing a principle, namely, that everything that exists outside of God has imprinted in it a certain resemblance to its Creator, since everything in it comes from Him. But this Creator, this God that all creatures resemble, is, as our faith teaches us, the Most Holy Trinity. Thus he writes :
All the perfections found in creatures (…) are nothing but a multi-natured echo, a hymn of praise in multicolored tones of the first and the most beautiful mystery, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

But if this is true, if all creatures must necessarily resemble their Creator, the Most Holy Trinity, then this must be true as well for the created reality that we call "conception", for, as Fr Maximilian writes :
Here, there are no exceptions at all.

So the conceptions of life that we see in the universe — and we must remember that life itself is one of the highest things in creation, and its conception is the most wonderful thing there is about life — these conceptions must be a reflection of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. But of what are they a reflection exactly ? Of the procession of the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, answers Fr. Kolbe, the procession of the Holy Ghost. He explains :
Who is the Holy Ghost ? (He is) the fruit of the love of the Father and the Son. The fruit of created love is a created conception. The fruit, then, of that love that is the prototype of this created love is also nothing else than a Conception. The Holy Ghost, therefore, is an uncreated, eternal conception, and the prototype of all conceptions of life in the universe (…) The Holy Ghost is a most holy conception, infinitely holy, immaculate.

The Holy Ghost, then, can also be called Immaculate Conception, this name which, as we saw previously, distinguishes Our Lady from everything else in the universe — everything else but, as we see now, the Holy Ghost. In the final and third part of his meditation Fr. Kolbe explains the intimate union between Our Lady and the Holy Ghost that makes them share this name. 3) The union between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Again he starts by stating a principle :
In the universe, he says, we find everywhere an action and a reaction equal to that action but contrary [to it, a going out and a coming back, a distancing and a drawing close, a division and a unification. But the division is always for the unification, which is creative. This is nothing but an image of the Most Holy

Trinity in the activity of creatures. Unification is love, creative love.

This physical law of action and reaction, then, is just another reflection of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Although he doesn't spell it out, it seems evident that what Fr. Kolbe means to say here is that action reflects the procession of the Son from the Father and reaction the procession of the Holy Ghost that follows this action but in the opposite direction. By the procession of the Son God, as it were, goes out from Himself and then by the procession of the Holy Ghost He comes back to Himself by the
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love that unites the Father and the Son. He then goes on to say that in a similar way, when God creates the universe there is a sort of action by which He goes out of Himself which is followed by a reaction by which the creatures He has made return to God by trying to perfect themselves and thus become similar to Him .
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And it is not otherwise that proceeds the activity of God outside of Himself. God creats the world — this is like a separation. The creatures, then, by the natural law given them by God, perfect themselves, they become similar to God, they return to Him, and the rational creatures consciously love and by this love unite themselves more and more to Him, they return to Him.

At the head of this movement of return to God, however, is the most perfect of creatures, the Immaculate Conception, the creature who most resembles God and comes back to Him in the most perfect fashion and leads all the rest of creation back to Him.
But the creature, he says, completely full of this love, of the divinity — is the Immaculate, without even the slightest stain of sin, She who never deviated in anything from the will of God, united in an ineffable manner to the Holy Ghost as His Spouse, although in a sense incomparably more perfect than what that word expresses among creatures.

The Immaculate Conception is an image, then, of the Holy Ghost, she does in creation what He does in the bosom of the Trinity. The Holy Ghost, the love uniting the Father and the Son, is the reaction in the Most Holy Trinity that responds to the action that is the procession of the Son : Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, is the reaction of creation, returning by love to its principle by perfecting itself, which corresponds to the action of God by which it was originally created. Thus Fr. Kolbe writes :
In the union of the Holy Ghost with [the Immaculate], not only does love unite these two beings, but one of them is all the love of the Most Holy Trinity and the other is all the love of creation, and thus in their union heaven is united to the earth, all of heaven with all the earth, all Eternal Love with all created love. It is the summit of love.

This union, he explains, is eminently interior : it is the life of love of the Holy Ghost in the soul of the Virgin :
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— "Exivi a Patre" as Our Lord says : "I came out, I exited from the Father" (Jn 16 : 28). St. Thomas, in his commentary on this text, refers it to the eternal procession of the Son from the Father. 2 — In some notes, written a few years earlier, he says : "God said : « Fiat » and creation existed. A creature, Mary, said : « Fiat mihi » and God became present in Her. Also the creatures repeat : « Fiat ». They accord their will with the will of the Immaculate. Action and reaction of love." (SK 1283 before the end of 1937)

What is this union like ? It is above all interior, it is the union of Her being with the being of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost dwells in Her, lives in Her and does this from the first moment of Her existence, always and forever. In what does this life of His in Her consist ? He Himself in Her is love, the love of the Father and the Son, the love by which God Himself loves Himself, the love of the Whole Blessed Trinity, a fertile love, a conception. (…) The Holy Ghost lives in the soul of the Immaculate, in Her being, and fecundates it and this from the first moment of Her existence throughout Her whole existence, that is, eternally. The Eternal Immaculate Conception immaculately conceives in the soul of Her who is His Immaculate Conception divine life 1.

And thus he concludes, saying that all this explains why Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, is called "Immaculate Conception".
If in creatures the spouse receives the name of her spouse because she belongs to him, is united to him, becomes similar to him and, in union with him becomes a creative agent of life, how much more the name of the Holy Ghost, Immaculate Conception is the name of She in whom He lives by a love that is fertile in the entire supernatural order.

[16134]

Appendix The following text from the commentary of St. Thomas on the Sentences of Peter Lombard is helpful in understanding the invisible missions of the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Super Sent., lib. 1 d. 15 q. 4 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum, quod sicut in exitu rerum a principio dicitur bonitas divina in creaturas procedere, inquantum repraesentatur in creatura per similitudinem bonitas divina in ipsa recepta; ita in reductione rationalis creaturae in Deum intelligitur processio divinae personae, quae et missio dicitur, inquantum propria relatio ipsius personae divinae repraesentatur in anima per similitudinem aliquam receptam, quae est exemplata et originata ab ipsa proprietate relationis aeternae; sicut proprius modus quo spiritus sanctus refertur ad patrem, est amor, et proprius modus referendi filium in patrem est, quia est verbum ipsius manifestans ipsum. Unde sicut spiritus sanctus invisibiliter procedit in mentem per donum amoris, ita filius per donum sapientiae; in quo est manifestatio ipsius patris, qui est ultimum ad quod recurrimus. Et quia secundum receptionem horum duorum efficitur in nobis similitudo ad propria personarum; ideo secundum novum modum essendi, prout res est in sua similitudine, dicuntur personae divinae in nobis esse, secundum quod novo modo eis assimilamur; et secundum hoc utraque processio dicitur missio. Ulterius, sicuti praedicta originantur ex propriis personarum, ita etiam effectum suum non consequuntur ut conjungantur fini, nisi virtute divinarum personarum; quia in forma impressa ab aliquo agente est virtus imprimentis. Unde in receptione hujusmodi donorum habentur personae divinae novo modo quasi ductrices in finem vel conjungentes. Et ideo utraque processio dicitur datio, inquantum
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— He goes on : " And Her virginal womb [is] reserved to Him and in Him conceives in time — as all that is material happens in time — also the divine life of the Man-God. And thus the return to God, the equal and opposite reaction, goes along the opposite road from creation. In creation, it goes from the Father through the Son and the Spirit but now by the Spirit the Son is incarnate in Her womb and through Him love returns to the Father. And She, inserted in the love of the Most Holy Trinity becomes from the first moment of Her existence for always, for eternity, the complement of the Most Holy Trinity."

est ibi novus modus habendi. He often made visists to the Blessed Sacrament. (…) He remained immobile and very attentive. (PSV I, p. 53 Rev. Fr. Pignalberi) The devotion of the Servant of God for the Blessed Sacrament was something more than a special devotion. He visited in the chapel the Blessed Sacrament at certain determined hours of the day and night, established by himself with exactitude. During the school year, while he was teaching theology to the seminarians, at every recreation he went to the chapel for a brief adoration, teaching by his example this practice to the seminarians. (…) He celebrated Holy Mass with great piety and recollection. This piety of his had nothing eccentric about it. (PSV II, p. 108 Rev. Fr. Czupryk) He always prepared himself with great care for Holy Mass and he celebrated the Mass itself observing with precision the rubrics and the liturgical rules, with very great recollection and a profound comprehension of the mystery of the Most Holy Sacrifice. He made thanksgiving after mass for at least 20 minutes. (…) He prayed very often before the Blessed Sacrament. When he taught us sacred theology, every hour he visited with us the Blessed Sacrament. When he had some difficulty or sadness, immediately he went to the church and remained a certain time before the Blessed Sacrament. (PSV I, p. 54 Rev FR. Mirochna) After Holy Mass I assisted at the thanksgiving of Fr. Maximilian — he did it with recollection and for a long time. In celebrating Holy Mass he was taken up with the sacred character of what he was doing and this influenced me very much. (PSV II, p. 123 Sister Felicitas Sulatycka) The Eucharist is the strength of the soul. (SK 982 Spiritual Exercises, 1935) Jesus wants to be more loved than adored in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar (SK 984 Spiritual Exercises, 1938) Let us offer to Her, as Her property, Holy Communion for the ends that please Her. (SK 463)

"The Death Camp Proved Him Real"
The Gestapo drove him to Warsaw, to the infamous prison of Pawiak. A witness reports the following incident which took place soon after Fr. Maximilian’s arrival in prison :
Some days after his arrival, the prison guard, a Gestapo who had the rank of Scharführer (head of a section) rushed into our cell. (…) The sight of Fr. Kolbe in his habit aroused the anger of the Gestapo. (… He) approached Fr. Kolbe and indicating with his finger the cross on the rosary asked : "You believe in this ? " "Yes, I believe" responded calmly the friar. The infidel gave Fr. Kolbe a hard slap. The Gestapo pulled violently again on the cross of Fr. Kolbe, repeating his question : "You believe in it ?" After every response by which Fr. Kolbe affirmed that he believed, the SS became more and more violent (I don't know if it was because of the calm or because of the determination of Fr. Kolbe) and again struck Fr. Kolbe in the face. Seeing, however that Fr. Kolbe remained unperturbed, he left the cell in anger, slamming the door behind him. During the incident Fr. Kolbe retained mastery of himself. I didn't remark in him the least sign of agitation. After the departure of the Scharführer from the cell, Fr. Kolbe began to walk back and forth in the room, praying. On his face could be seen red marks, caused by the blows he had received. I remained shaken by what had happened and I said something which now I can't remember. Fr. Kolbe then addressed to me these words : "Please don't be shaken. You have a lot of personal worries. And what happened is really nothing, since it is all for the Mamusia". He pronounced these words with such calm, (that it was) as if really nothing had happened. A Polish guard had been present at the incident. Later, this guard brought Fr. Kolbe a prison garment. (PSV II,p. 883, Deposition of E. Gniadek 1)

After some months in that prison it was decided to send him to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Here is the testimony of another religious who was sent in the same train, even in the same wagon :
Once the guards who accompanied us had crammed us into the wagons and had barred the doors from the outside, a deathly silence enveloped us. But as soon as the train was moving, to my great surprise and joy, somebody began to sing religious and national songs, which many of us took up and began to sing with a full voice. I wanted to know who had begun to sing, and I learned that it was Father Maximilian Kolbe, the founder of Niepokalanów. As I love to sing, and since I had been the first to join in the song, Father Maximilian also took an interest in me and I took an interest in him. The crush of people and the lack of air in the wagon produced a suffocating, fearful atmosphere. The certainty of being carried off to the concentration camp depressed us. In spite of everything, influenced by the songs and by Father Maximilian’s words, we felt ourselves revived, almost forgetting our sad fate. (PSV II, p. 879-880 Rev. L.
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— The same witness adds : "When at Dachau I learned that he had chosen to die in the place of another prisoner, I thought that that was precisely something he would do [Pensai che ciò proprio conveniva a lui]" (Nova PSV, Responsio ad Novas Animadversiones, p. 7, E. Gniadek) [Cited against objection that his life had been idealized because of his famous death. "Descriptio figurae idealis habetur quando inter enarrata et figuram, quae narrationis est obiectum, deest elementum constans" (p. 5)]

Swies)

The last document we have of Fr. Kolbe is a letter written to his mother shortly after his arrival in the camp. Its poignant simplicity is heart-rendering. June 15, 1941
Beloved Mother, Towards the end of the month of May I arrived by a railway convoy at the camp of Auschwitz. Everything is fine with me. Dear mother, don’t worry about me and my health, because the good God is everywhere and with great love He thinks of everyone and everything. It would be better not to write me before I send you another letter because I don’t know how long I will be staying here. With my heartfelt greetings and kisses.

Kolbe Raymond

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[Notes of his time at Auschwitz
Arrives in "towards the end of May" 2
"I met him already the day of his arrival in April (sic) 1941. He was placed in block 2, room 1. They assigned him to the heaviest work : cutting cane on the Sola river. Our companions managed to get themselves easier jobs, but the Servant of God responded : it is the same to me, may the will of God be done. (PSV II, p. 364, D. Ladislaus Lewkowicz)

For 5 weeks after near the end of May he is in Block 18 (PSV II, p. 561, H. Sienkiewicz) About 2 weeks in hospital (ibid.)
"I used to visit Fr. Kolbe in the hospital of the camp where he had been put following exhaustion and blows that he had received (…) 3

Then in Block 14 (for convalescents 4) (ibid.) and worked in the "Kartoflarnia" (preparing potatoes) 5]

We have many testimonies of the time spent by Fr. Kolbe at Auschwitz . Here are a few which show the height of sanctity he had attained by means of the « true devotion to Mary » « the transformation of oneself in Jesus Christ », of which Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort speaks.
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« He gave his own good pair of shoes to another prisoner, taking in exchange the other pair of shoes of less good quality. » « It was as if he had in himself an actual magnet with which he drew us to himself, to God and to the most Blessed Virgin. He often spoke to us of God and told us that God is good and merciful. The servant
1 2 3 4 5 6

— SK961. — SK 961. — PSV II, p. 889, Rev. C. Szweda. — Ibid. p. 889, Rev. C. Szweda. — H. Cyankiewicz, p. 876 and H. Sienkiewicz p. 563. — The following (unless otherwise indicated) come from the witnesses of the process of canonisation cited in the book by Father Severino Ragazzini, La spiritualità mariana de S. Massimiliano Maria Kolbe dei Frati Minori Convetuali, Edizioni Centro Dantesco, Ravenna, 1982, p. 308 and after.

of God wanted to convert the whole camp. »

He spoke to them especially about the Immaculate.
« In his conversations he guided us all towards the Most Blessed Virgin. » « He had placed all his confidence in (...) the protection of the Most Blessed Virgin and invited us to do the same. » « The servant of God said to me : “Put yourself under the protection of the Immaculate. She will help you (...) Have confidence in the Immaculate and She will manifest Her grace to you more than once.” » « The servant of God loved Our Lord and Our Lady above everything and he conquered us all with that love. » « When, with great and deep feeling, he spoke to us of Our Lady, a greater energy emanated from him. » « I remember that the servant of God, with us gathered round him, recited the Litany of the Blessed Virgin and gave us a discourse which greatly encouraged our souls. He gave this encouragement also through the sacrament of Confession. » « I personally owe to his advice and his explanations the fact that I put far from me the thoughts of suicide. Each time I came out of my confession to him, I felt that I had a buoyant soul and I saw another world before me. »

We also have testimonies of priests who were at Auschwitz. Here is what one of them said :
"I made the acquaintance of the servant of God at the occasion of a conference which he gave to us priests detained at Auschwitz on the relations of the Immaculate with the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. His discourse moved us very much and convinced us that we were in the presence of a man deeply learned in the knowledge of the Immaculate. And he did this in such a way that I do not know how to repeat it. Nobody, in fact, had ever spoken about Our Lady in that way, and all we priests who were present were in agreement on this."

I distinctly remember that he said to me : "When the Blessed Virgin Mary will have taken one of your hands and Christ the other, you will be able to go ahead in the darkness and nothing will hurt you, like a child in the arms of his parents. (PSV I, p. 74, Rev. C. Sweda) At the request of Fr. Maximilian I drew in pencil two images : one of Christ and another of the Most Holy Virgin that the Servant of God always carried with him, putting himself in great danger of receiving the severest punishment by the guards if it was noticed. (PSV I, p. 51, M. Koscielniak) One time the Servant of God received several kicks from the guard in charge of our block, Franz — his only reaction was to say : "May God pardon you". (PSV I, p. 75, A. Dziuba) The cruel Kapo (…) sometimes chose the Servant of God because he was a priest and ordered him to run loaded down with wood on his shoulders. When he fell he crushed him with wood and beat him to the

point that the Servant of God couldn't come back to the camp without help. He said to those who wanted to help him : "Don't expose yourself to danger, the Immaculate will help me". (PSV I, p. 95, Rev. C. Sweda) D. Ladislaus Lewkowicz In the camp of Auschwitz we all had the impression that the servant of God submitted himself perfectly to the divine Will and loved very much the Immaculate Mother. In conversing with us he always directed us to the Most Holy Virgin. I often met him after the evening roll call and his words gave me strength and hope in order to bear these sufferings and profound satisfaction and joy. He knew how to speak so well, that after hearing him I felt full of courage, without fear of death, although this threatened us always. He received prisoners who came to him and encouraged them and lifted them up spiritually as I myself saw. He called us in every conversation "Knights of the Immaculate" (and said that) we ought to be happy that we can suffer at Auswitch for others and that this was our mission and our apostolate. From his words and attitude it was easy to deduce that he was happy to find himself in Auschwitz (because) he could suffer and spiritually help the others. (…) I met him already the day of his arrival in April 1 1941. He was placed in block 2, room 1. They assigned him to the heaviest work : cutting cane on the Sola river. We, his companions, managed to get ourselves easier jobs, but the Servant of God responded : it is the same to me, may the will of God be done. He treated his companions in suffering with a truly fraternal love. When I manifested once to the Father my profound compassion because the chief guard beat him without mercy, he responded that he was happy to suffer, that everything comes from the Lord God and he didn't show himself full of hate towards the inhuman Germans even then. And here is a characteristic trait of the life of Fr. Kolbe at that time : while the other priests and religious spoke about hunger and how to procure a piece of bread to satisfy their hunger, and of the fear and the incertitudes of every day, the Servant of God never spoke of these things ; he lived as in another world, immersed in God in prayer. One didn't see in him anything but humility and peace and total submission to the will of God and to the Immaculate and a great compassion for the prisoners. One saw above all in the Servant of God the spirit of prayer. (…) He considered his stay in the camp as a divine permission, as an occasion to be able to offer his sufferings to Our Lady. He never rebelled, he never murmured against the conditions of life in the camp (…) Looking from a purely human point of view I saw him as being prudent ; because he never exposed himself to insults and corporal and spiritual dangers, something which easily happened to others. From the religious point of view his prudence became heroic : he gathered us together to give us helpful advice and in order to pray together and distribute Holy Communion, all of which was liable to very severe punishments. (PSV II, p. 362-364, D. Ladislaus Lewkowicz)

Dr. Rudolph Diem The Servant of God attracted my attention the first time when, at my proposal that he come to the hospital because, since he was ill, he needed treatment, the Servant of God responded that he could still
1

— This is certainly an error, since in his letter to his mother Fr. Maximilian says he arrived at Auschwitz "towards the end of May".

wait and that I should take in his place instead a prisoner that he indicated to me. (…) Since I had desired several times to put him in the hospital because the condition of his health required treatment and always indicated to me other persons whom, according to him, were in more need, annoyed 1 and surprised at this I asked him : "Who are you ?" The Servant of God responded to this saying that he was a Catholic priest. Against the background of the animal instinct of self-preservation that pervaded (the camp), a similar abnegation, such a desire to sacrifice oneself for others were surprising to me and I saw in the Servant of God a man out of the ordinary. And when I asked him if he still believed that God was watching over us, he sought to persuade me with all his fervour that God indeed was watching over us. And he invited me to speak with him during free time (…) In these conversations we touched on questions relating to the faith. I told the Servant of God that now I no longer believed, since at that time I was in a state of depression. In conversations with the Servant of God there was never manifested any hate or anger against the invader. (…) In response to my assertion that I didn't believe, the Servant of God assured me that I would believe and proposed that I go to confession to him. Then I stated that I was of the evangelical confession, upon which the Servant of God proposed to me to converse on religious subjects. (…) After the death of a martyr of the Servant of God in the lager, I heard that the prisoners all admired his heroic act. I also personally admired the Servant of God and retain to this day for him an extraordinary gratitude and admiration. (PSV II, p. 577-580, Dr. R. Diem)

Henry Sienkiewicz One time I brought, in a little box, some hosts which I had received from Mrs Kania, and I gave them to the Servant of God. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe — this I know — celebrated twice, in the greatest secret, Holy Mass two times in between the blocks, at which around thirty prisoners assisted and we all received Holy Communion from the hands of the Servant of God. (…) We all remained struck by the extraordinary virtues that we saw in that man : the faith, the constant spirit of prayer, the fraternal spirit pushed to the point that he divided with other prisoners his own rations of food 2. (…) He gathered us together for prayers in common and led these prayers ; he confessed the prisoners (…) He celebrated, in secret, obviously, Holy Masses. He administrated Holy Communion and that was threatened in the camp with very severe punishments.(…) He used to say that if we abandoned ourselves without reserve to God and the Most Holy Mother we would obtain the grace to get out of the lager. In his conferences he used to say that we should seek to
1 2

— "Accattivato"? — Another witness testifies : "Here is an event of which I myself was a witness and which testifies to the virtue and love of neighbour of Fr. Maximilian. At noon we received a bowl of soup… Each of us, extremely tired and hungry, awaited impatiently this moment when we would receive our watery food. Fr. Kolbe took his food and, making the sign of the cross, began to eat. Then some young prisoner approached Fr. Kolbe and in ignoble manner [rustico modo?] said : « You, old man, why are you eating, you have tuberculosis [durchfall?], give it to me instead ». Then with an impudent laugh he stood there waiting for an answer. And as I looked on, stupefied, Fr. Maximilian gave his soup to him who asked him for it, even though he, like all of us, was exceedingly hungry. (…) Everyone noticed [annuerunt], for this superhuman act demonstrated a holy strength of soul. Perhaps I would give a part of my food to a very dear brother or my best friend in order to save his life, never, however the whole bowl of soup." (PSV II, p. 877, H. Cyankiewicz)

gain eternal life because life on earth passes so quickly 1. If personally I resisted and got out of the lager, if I didn't despair and if I am a believer, I owe it to the Servant of God, who had infused into me a living faith and an entire hope, founded on the protection of the Most Holy Mother. (…) He often spoke to us about God and told us that God is good and merciful. The Servant of God wanted to convert the whole lager. It would be easier for me to become a rock in the fields than for the Servant of God to commit a sin. (…) When we both received ten strokes of the rod, I screamed at the top of my lungs, while from the Servant of God not even a sigh was heard, even though he certainly suffered atrociously. (…) One time one of the prisoners was beaten with a rod for having badly washed his dish. The Servant of God took care of this prisoner and washed his dish, because he had received hard blows on his hands by the head guard. The Servant of God treated like his own brother all the prisoners. (…) I received also from the Servant of God — so I believe — the following grace. After the death of Fr. Maximilian, in winter at the beginning of 1942 I had taken from the kitchen of the lager a box of margerine (15 K) — I was caught in the act and sent to the penal section from which, generally, one never came out again. I wept and prayed fervently to the Servant of God, asking for a miracle. And in fact, after two weeks, the "miracle" happened. The head of the kitchen, an SS, unexpectedly had me freed from the penal section and took me again in the kitchen. This fact was for me a miracle, because nothing like this ever happened. I owe it to the Servant of God. Similarly, every time in the lager that I was threatened by some danger, I had recourse to the Servant of God and escaped unharmed. (PSV II, p. 562-569, H. Sienkiewicz) Dr. Nicetus Wlodarski I never noticed nor heard that the Servant of God had sentiments of hatred for the Germans. (…) I know, in part, how the Servant of God lived his last moments in the penal section in Block 11, from the report of a guard, a German, of that bunker. I treated that guard and he told me about it, because he knew the facts, since he had daily access to the bunker. (…) He told me that the Servant of God lived longer than the others, that he kept up the courage of the others, that he prayed with the prisoners and the guard called the Servant of God an extraordinarily courageous man, a hero absolutely superhuman. He also emphasized that the person of the Servant of God, his calm, made a great impression of the SS who would look into the bunker. He said that for the SS it was to the point of being an actual psychological shock. (…) The Servant of God did not just love God but man also. He was very good to us, like a friend, he helped us as he was able. He lavished upon us his spiritual treasures, especially through conversations. His love of God and neighbour shone out fully when he gave his own life for that of Francis Gajowniczek. (…) In the Servant of God the virtue of chastity, in a certain way, positively radiated from him, and everyone who had contact with him became more pure and better. (…) During his time in the lager I didnt hear that he had entertained any sentiment of rebellion or that he had incited others against the rules of the lager, even though all the regulations of the lager had a character of criminal vexation. (…) He never looked for a lighter job at the lager, all the more if it would have been to the detriment of other prisoners. On the contrary, when he could, he took for himself the heavier jobs so that the other prisoners
1

— "Perchè quella terrena anche così passa presto"?

would be less burdened 1. (…) The Servant of God had an unusually profound discernment of human souls, but I don't know of any supernatural gifts in his life (…) From that guard of whom I spoke earlier I know that the Servant of God conserved right to the end a strong and heroic attitude. (…) The body of the Servant of God, like those of the other prisoners, was burned and the ashes were scattered in the fields. (PSV II, p. 571-575, Dr. N. Wlodarski)

His death
Essentially he did what his Divine Master had done, he gave himself up into the hands of the wicked who were certainly going to put him to death (…) Perhaps no one has ever given his life for his neighbour in a way that is so similar, even in its details, to the way that Jesus did. (PSV I, p. 144, Rev P. Bender, OP in Palestra del Clero, XXXVI, 1e genn. 1957) I was standing at that moment in the third row and I was able to observe well the whole thing (…) At a certain moment Fritsch chose the prisoner Gajowniczek Francis, who, consternated before death, implored to let him live, explaining that he was the father of a family and that he wanted to stay alive. At this moment a prisoner broke rank whom I recognized to be Fr. Maximilian Kolbe. The Servant of God approached Fritsch and declared in a calm voice in German that he wanted to go to death in the place of Gajowniczek Francis. Fritsch, irritated and furious because of the gesture of the Servant of God, in the first instant took his revolver and asked sharply : "Have you gone crazy ?" Fr. Kolbe, for his part, calmly repeated his request of wanting to go to death, because it seemed to him that his life was less necessary than that of this man, that is, Gajowniczek, who was the father of a family. After a brief silence Fritsch asked the Servant of God : "What is your profession ?" To which Fr. Maximilian responded : "I am a Catholic priest and religious". After another moment of silence Fritsch gave his consent and sent the Servant of God to the group of prisoners destined to die. Francis Gajowniczek, however, returned to his place in line. (PSV I, p. 123-124, Prof. M. Koscielniak) (Francis Gajowniczek) cried out in despair and sorrow that he had a wife and family and wanted to return to them, but now he had to die. At this moment Fr. Maximilian Maria Kolbe broke ranks, took off his beret and declared to the Lagerführer that he desired to sacrifice himself for this prisoner — indicating at the same time Gajowniczek — since he did not himself have a wife and children. The Lagerführer asked the Servant of God what his profession was. To which the Servant of God responded : "I am a Catholic priest". There followed a moment during which the camp authorities manifested a certain surprise. After this moment passed, Fritsch ordered Gajowniczek to return to his place in the line and to the Servant of God to take his place among the ten condemned to death in the bunker. (PSV I, p. 124, Doct. N. Wlodarski "who was beside Fr. Koble" according to the witness Doct. J. Stemler) At a certain moment a prisoner was chosen who, in coming out of the line, began to cry out in despair
1

—"Meno oberati" ?

terribly, saying that he had a wife and children and that he had to die (…) When the commandant of the lager, Fritsch, and the others were already beginning to leave Block 2 1 (from which the 10 prisoners had been chosen), suddenly from Block 2 the Servant of God, a prisoner, came forward and said to the head guard of the block that he wanted to speak with the commandant of the lager. The head guard told him to go back in line but he didn't obey, insisting on speaking to the commandant of the lager. The SS who were there near the commandant saw this and informed Fritsch, who turned toward the Servant of God and asked : "What do you want ?" Then the Servant of God responded that he wanted to go to death in the place of this prisoner who cried out so loudly in despair, because he had a wife and children. The commandant asked to which profession he belonged and the Servant of God responded that he was a priest ; then the commandant of the lager ordered him to go into the group destined to die. The Servant of God promptly joined those chosen to die and the prisoner who had cried out went back into line. (…) I saw the whole thing myself. (PSV I, p. 25, Doct. J Sobolewski)

Francis Gajowniczek himself adds a few details :
(Fr. Kolbe) came out of the rows 2, approached the Lagerfüher Fritsch and tried to kiss his hand. Fritsch asked the interpreter : "What does he want this Polish swine ?". Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, indicating myself with his hand, expressed his desire to go and die in my place. The Lagerfüher Fritsch, with a movement of his hand and the word "Out !", ordered me to leave the line of condemned men and my place was taken by Fr. Maximilian Kolbe. (PSV II, p. 885, Deposition of F. Gajowniczek) I didn't hear their conversation. I remarked only that the aide of the commandant gave a kick to a prisoner who was crying out in despair and that this prisoner then went back into line ; at the same time the aide of the commandant gave another kick to the Servant of God who, after that, joined the little group of those condemned to death 3. Immediately the condemned men, under guard, were led to the bunker and the prisoners who had been standing at attention received the order to return to their blocks. (PSV I, p. 136, A. Dziuba) Before we dispersed to go back to our blocks the ten passed before our rows and then I saw Fr. Kolbe who was staggering, supporting one of the ten condemned men who was weaker than he was and couldn't walk by himself. (PSV II, p. 880, L. Swies) The Servant of God walked at the end of the line of condemned men. (PSV II, p. 564, H. Sienkiewicz) Block 13 (…) was surrounded by a wall six metres high. Underground were the cells (…) Some had little windows and there were beds made of planks, but others had neither windows nor beds and were completely dark. In one of these, in July 1941, after the evening roll call, were led ten prisoners from Block 14. To begin with they received the order to strip themselves naked in front of the block, and, then, the poor victims were pushed into the dark underground cells mentioned above, where there were already 20
1 2 3

— This is certainly an error because H. Sienkiewicz (p. 563) says he was in Block 14, as does Bruno Borgowiec (p. 893). — "I was in the same row with Fr. Kolbe ; three or four prisoners separated us." (PSV II, p. 98) — "While they were leading him to death, Fr.Kolbe wasn''t worried about it at all when, even in that moment, he received again, as it is said, a kick from a German." (PSV I, p. 103, D. Alexander Dziuba) [P. Kolbe non se ne preoccupava affatto, quantunque, anche in quel momento, ricevesse ancora, a quanto si disse, un calcio dea un tedesco]

unfortunates, who had been condemned after a previous escape, stripped naked also 1. All the new arrivals were put into one cell. As the SS closed them in they said, laughing "Ihr werdet eingehen wie die Tulpen" (you will wither up like tulips). (…) From the cell in which the poor men were enclosed one heard every day the recitation of prayers, of the Holy Rosary and singing, to which joined also the prisoners of the neighbouring cells. During the abscence of the SS from the block, I went into the bunker to speak with them and console them. The fervent prayers and songs of these unfortunate to the Most Holy Virgin resounded in all the corridors of the bunker. I had the impression of being in a church. Fr. M. Kolbe intoned and then the prisoners responded in chorus. Sometimes they were so immersed in prayer that they didn't hear the SS who had come for inspection descend into the bunker and the voices silenced only at the loud cries of the SS. When the cell was opened, the wretched prisoners, weeping loudly, implored that they be given a piece of bread or some water, which, however, they did not receive, and if one of the stronger ones approached the door, he received immediately a kick in the stomach from the SS and falling backwards on the cement floor, died from the blow or was killed with a gunshot. The martyrdom the prisoners had to suffer was attested by the fact that the latrine pails were always empty and dry, which means that the unfortunates were drinking their own urine. Fr. M. Kolbe of holy memory kept courage, didn't ask for anything and didn't complain, encouraged the other prisoners, persuading them that the fugitive would be found and they would be released. Since the prisoners were now very weak, the prayers were just recited in a low voice. At every inspection, while already almost all the others were lying on the floor, one saw Fr. M. Kolbe on his feet or on his knees in the middle of them : he turned a serene look on those who entered. The SS, knowing about his sacrifice and knowing also that all those who were with him in the cell were dying innocent men, and respecting Fr. Kolbe, said amongst themselves : "Der Pfarrerr dort ist doch ein ganz anständiger Mensch. So einen haben wir hiernoch nicht gehabt". (But this priest is a very good man. Another like him we've never had in here). Two weeks passed in this way. Meanwhile the prisoners died, one after another, and, after three weeks, there were only four left, among whom was also Fr. Kolbe. This seemed to be going on too long to the authorities, the cell was needed for new victims, and so one day they brought in the director of surgery, a German, a criminal who had been in jail, by the name of Bock, who gave to each prisoner, one after the other, an injection of phenic acid in the vein of the left arm. Fr. M. Kolbe, with prayers on his lips, himself extended his arm to the executioner. Not being able to bear watching, under the pretext of having work in my office, I left the place. Immediately after the SS and the executioner were gone, I returned to the cell and found Fr. M. Kolbe in a sitting position, leaning against the back wall, his eyes open and his head bent to one side. His serene, pure face was radiant. (PSV II, p. 893-895 From a letter written to Niepokalanów Dec. 27, 1945)

Fr. Kolbe had the gift of knowing how to console people. His prison companions were complaining and, in desperation were shouting and even cursing. Nevertheless, after the words that Fr. Maximilian Kolbe addressed to them, they calmed down and resigned themselves to their horrible fate. When I had to take
1

— J Sobolewski (PSV II, p. 887) explains that it was already the third case of an escape from a prisoner of that block and that only three times the punishment of the death of 10 prisoners was applied. After, the punishment was to bring to the camp the father or mother or relative (at least two people) of the escaped man and, after having them stand at the entrance of the camp with a sign explaining who they were, they were consigned to die of hunger in the bunker or were shot.

out of the cell the body of Fr. Kolbe, when I opened the door I was struck by the fact that Fr.Kolbe was sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall and that his eyes were open. His body was clean and white. Anyone would have been struck by his position and would have said that he must have been a saint. His face was resplendent with serenity. I found the bodies of the other prisoners laying on the floor, dirty and with despair on their faces. The look of Fr. Kolbe remained always strangely penetrating. The SS couldn't bear it and shouted : "Schau auf die Erde, nicht auf uns !" ("Look at the ground, not at us"). One day the SS, in admiration of the strength of his life and of his look, said to each other : "A dirty priest 1 like that one, we've never seen here before. He must be an extraordinary man". (PSV II, p. 897, B. Borgowiec, verbal deposition sworn before two priests at the parish office October 31, 1946)

We can conclude with a quote from the same letter which we cited earlier where Fr. Kolbe explained his irritation at the exaggerated use of the words « after Jesus » There he also writes :
When will She take possession of the whole world ? I am of the opinion that there is no better way to hasten that blessed moment than by each of us endeavouring every day to deepen within himself his own consecration to the Immaculate. For the more we belong perfectly to Her, the more She Herself can guide us. One cannot imagine a more effective action than that 2.

A "spirituality" but the fruits indicate its validity [Quote Mt 7]
As the essential of this devotion consists in the interior which it ought to form, it will not be equally understood by everybody. Some will stop at what is exterior in it, and will go no further, and these will be the greatest number. Some, in a small number, will enter into its inward spirit; but they will only mount one step. Who will mount to the second step ? Who will get as far as the third ? Lastly, who will so advance as to make this devotion his habitual state ? He alone to whom the spirit of lesus Christ shall have revealed this secret, the faultlessly faithful soul whom He shall conduct there Himself, to advance from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, from light to light, until he arrives at the transformation of himself into Jesus Christ, and to the plenitude of His age on earth. and of His glory in heaven. (True Devotion to Mary, n. 119) Faith is a light that discovers God under the veil of creatures. One must live it very well in order to see Him through certain creatures. Nonetheless He is always there. Jesus on the cross didn't say : "Oh, how weak and wicked men are !" He said : "Father, forgive them ; or "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit". Life is completely changes when, in every situation, we know how to say : "Father". It is, in fact, very rare. In general we see the suffering, the cause or the instruments of the suffering, the means to suppress it, etc. When one has suffered oneself, one begins to understand, not only how much Jesus suffered (which is already very important) but how much, in His suffering, His look went farther than the suffering,
1 2

— "Pretonzolo" ? — SK 603.

to see nothing but Him that it glorified ; and one comprehends also how difficult it is to forget oneself and to attain to this supreme gift of self that saved us 1

1

— "La foi est la lumière qui découvre Dieu sous le voile des créatures. Il faut la bien vivre pour Le voir à travers certaines créatures. Et pourtant Il y est toujours. Jésus, sur la croix, ne disait pas : « Oh ! que les hommes sont faibles et méchants ! » Il disait : « Mon Père, pardonnez-leur » ; ou : « Mon Père, je remets mon âme entre vos mains ». La vie est complètement changée quand, en toute circonstance surtout crucifiante, nous savons dire : "Mon Père". C'est d'ailleurs, très rare. En général on voit la souffrance, la cause ou les instruments de la souffrance, les moyens de la supprimer, etc. Quand on a souffert soi-même, on commence à comprendre, non pas seulement combien Jésus a souffert (ce qui est déjà bien important) mais combien dans sa souffrance son regard dépassait la souffrance, pour ne voir que Celui qu'elle glorifiait ; et on saisit aussi combien il est difficile de s'oublier et d'arriver à ce suprême don de soi, qui nous a sauvés." Guillerand, Dom Augustin, Voix Cartusienne, 2001, p. 55.

Consecration
To "delve into the spirituality of Fr. Kolbe" is, quite simply, to delve into what he says and lives about the consecration to Mary, to the Immaculate, as he prefers to call her , because that is his whole
1

spirituality, his whole "life, death and eternity" as he says . This is certainly why Bishop Fellay
2

recommended that we do delve into this spirituality, because it is a response to this "will of God to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" revealed at Fatima . The triumph of
3

the Immaculate Heart is what Fr. Kolbe fixed as the goal of the M.I. : the day when her kingdom will come in the world and bring with the reign of Her Son and peace. Thus he writes in an article in his revue, the Knight of the Immaculate, in 1926 :
The Immaculate, Queen of heaven, must be recognized, and as quickly as possible, as Queen of all men and of every single soul, whether in Poland or beyond its borders, in both hemispheres of the earth. On this, we dare affirm, depends the peace and the happiness of individual persons, of families, of nations, of humanity. (SK 1113, Rycerz Niepokalanej sJanuary, 1926)

Similarly he cites with evident complacency the exclamation of St. Catherine Labourée after Our Lady revealed to her the miraculous medal :
"O how pleasant will it be, how pleasant will it be to hear : Mary is Queen of the whole world ! And all her children will repeat : She is the Queen of each one of us !" (SK 1043 Rycerz Niepokalanej, November 1923)

And again he concludes a text written in preparation for his book on the Immaculate at the end of his life :
Bend the proud neck of the world before the feet of the Immaculate : this is the end of the M.I., conquer the whole world and every single soul to Her, and this as soon as possible, as soon as possible, as soon
1

— "This privilege (of the Immaculate Conception) must be particularly dear to her heart, if at Lourdes She Herself willed to call Herself : « I am the Immaculate Conception ». By this name, so dear to Her heart, we want to call Her also." (SK 1210 Rycerz Niepokalanej, August 1936) 2 — There is an interesting conference that he gave at the very beginning of his apostolate in Poland, where he speaks of how certain saints (like St. Therese of the Child Jesus, for example) and even Our Lord Himself, did not see the fruits of their apostolate until after their death :

(God) often permits those who love Him to fulfill their desires (to save souls) after their death, to carry out an apostolic activity here on earth, to pray and to work for the salvation and the sanctification of souls (…) Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus said : « If I knew that in heaven, after my death, I couldn’t work any longer for the salvation of souls, I would prefer to remain here on earth until the end of the world » (…) In the same way, we also can nourrish the hope that if now we imitate these saints (…), if we burn with a desire to save souls, after our death the Immaculate will complete Her own work by using us, and even more. It is only then that we will be able to console the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus much more than we have done on earth where, while extending a hand to help others, we must be careful to not fall ourselves. (SK 1248)
So in listening to the life of this holy priest, remember that he is still living, and even much more living than before and even more desirous to « lead the whole world » to Mary, and more capable too, because now, as he says, he can work « with two hands » ! Let us ask him to help us work for this goal too. 3 — As you no doubt know, Fr. Kolbe founded the M.I. just three days after the miracle of the sun at Fatima on October 16, 1917. He never speaks about Fatima and seems not to have even heard about it, but his whole life and work is in perfect harmony with its message a harmony that is all that much more significant because it was not conscious.

as possible and the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will take dominion over the world through Her. It is absolutely necessary to conquer the whole world to Her so that the dominion of sin cease. (SK 1301 5-20/8/1940)

Already in the life of Fr. Kolbe we have been hearing much about his "spirituality" of the consecration to the Immaculate, but here we will try give a little more systematic presentation of it . We
1

can start by mentioning the fact that Pope Pius XII, in a discourse the day after the canonization of St. Louis de Montfort, said explicitly that the consecration to Mary (of which St. Louis de Montfort was the great apostle) is not limited to one spirituality but is for all. This universality of the consecration to Mary is one of the main themes of Fr. Kolbe : he wants everyone to be consecrated to Mary and that is the goal of the M.I . He conceives of the M.I. as a sort of embodiement of the very idea of the consecration to
2

Mary, so much so that if someone is truly consecrated to Mary, he belongs to the M.I. even if he has never heard of it . Also, speaking of the doctrine of St. Louis de Montfort, he says "it is all ours" as if St Louis
3 4

de Montfort himself was part of the M.I. ! . Thus he writes to a priest who is also in the M.I. :
5

You write : "It is true that it doesn't matter if the total consecration has in itself or not the spirit of the M.I." The consecration to the Immaculate can be more or less perfect, but because it belongs to the essence of the M.I. that the consecration (…) of itself be without limits, therefore every consecration participates in the spirit of the M.I. in the measure that it approaches the consecration without limits, in the measure that it is extended and deepened. There cannot exist, therefore, a consecration that does not participate in the spirit of the M.I. (SK 508 12/4/1933)

What Fr. Kolbe teaches on the consecration to Mary, then, is not just another "spirituality" that one can take or leave as one pleases : it is this universal devotion to Mary, the "true" devotion taught by St. Louis de Montfort, that is something that is for everyone. Fr. Kolbe doesn't pretend that he has some sort of monopoly on it : it is rather, on the contrary, that he pretends that his movement, the M.I. is just a name for this special devotion to Mary, this "Secret of Mary" as, again, St. Louis de Montfort puts it, that contains in itself all that other saints and writers have said about it before (which is why he can claim their writings as "ours"). Nonetheless, obviously, it is true that, as whenever a universal is embodied in a particular, Fr.
1

— [But this won't be easy because he is a true Franciscan : all over the place ! (like Fr. Jean-Joseph in thanksgiving : a volcano + St. Francis in Chesterton : "He is the wind")] 2 — Thus he complains, in a letter to his Brothers at Niepokalanów : "Not even in Poland does every one belong to the M.I. …" (SK 647 30/10/1935) [Other quotes ?] 3 — Thus in the section of his book on the Immaculate where he speaks of the M.I. he writes : "He who has known the Immaculate, has loved Her, has given himself to Her in a way that is so complete that he has reserved nothing for himself… is obviously a perfect knight of the Immaculate, even if he has never heard of the association of the Militia of the Immaculate…" (SK 1332 5-20/8/1940) 4 — SK 508 12/4/1933. 5 — He says exactly the same thing at the end of a letter to his brother about the book True Devotion to Mary : "give a glance every day to (it…) because it is truly something that is « ours »" (SK 282 2/9/1930). Of Fr. Neubert's book : My Ideal : Jesus Son of Mary,he says : "The spirit that pervades it is entirely like ours." (SK 631 12/7/1935)

Maximilian's teaching is going to have particular aspects of its own, just as St. Louis de Montfort's does, and one is free to take them or leave them. It constitutes, however, a particularly deep, penetrating insight into this "Secret" of Mary, and can help us all to penetrate it deeper ourselves and help others to do so as well : and that is not something we can afford to "take or leave", especially after what God has told the world through the apparitions at Fatima. ***

1) The Mediation of Mary The basis of the consecration to Mary is her mediation. Thus Garrigou-Lagrange writes in his book, Mary, Mother of the Saviour that the consecration to Mary is "the practical recognition of her universal mediation" . Fr. Kolbe, therefore, speaks of it very often, as one of his Brothers witnessed at the process
1

of canonization :
In his conferences he was always bringing up the theme of Mary, Mediatrix of all graces. (PSV II, p. 149)

Here are some examples.
Our dependance on Mary is greater than we can imagine. We receive all graces, absolutely all of them, from God through the Immaculate who is our universal mediatrix with Jesus. (SK 1219 Rycerz Niepokalanej, December 1937) The end of every man is to belong to God through Jesus, the Mediator with the Father, and to belong to Jesus through the Mediatrix of all graces, the Immaculate. (SK 1329 before December, 1937) The Most Holy Mother is Mediatrix of all graces without exception. … Therefore the life of grace of a soul depends on the degree of its closeness to Her. The closer a soul approaches Her, the more pure it becomes, the more lively becomes its faith, its love becomes more beautiful and all virtues, being the work of grace, are strengthened and vivified. We cannot seek grace anywhere else, because She is its Mediatrix. (K 284 19/10/1940)

He seeks to develope the understanding of this mystery by constantly coming back to it and meditating on it. He writes :
God the Father, through the Son and the Holy Ghost, does not make supernatural life descend in the soul except through the Mediatrix of all graces, the Immaculate, by Her consent, by Her collaboration. She receives all the treasures of grace as Her property and distributes them to whom She wills and in the measure that She Herself chooses 2.

1 2

— Garrigou-Lagrange, Fr. Réginald, O.P., Marie, Mère du Sauveur, p. 317. — SK 1310, notes prepared for his book.

And this makes sense since Jesus Himself did not come to us except by her consent, as he says :
As the first-born, the God-man, was not conceived but by the explicit consent of the heavenly Virgin, thus also, and not in any other way, it happens in the divine birth of other human beings, who must exactly imitate in all things their Prototype 1.

He developes at length this idea of the imitation of Jesus with relation to the mediation of Mary in a conference to his Brothers in a simple, homely way that makes it very easy to understand :
God Himself wanted to show us the way apt to lead us to sanctity. Even though He is a most perfect spirit, He couldn't do this in a better way 2 than by sending to earth His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, who took upon Himself the form of a man and lived like we live. He passed His life doing good and giving the most perfect example of an infinitely perfect man and, at the same time, of God. However how can man, who is so imperfect and weak, become perfect and like God ? The Lord God, knowing this, gave him as a model the God-Man, so that we might not find excuses for ourselves, giving as a pretext that we didn't have the means, that we didn't know the sure ways that lead to the door of salvation. We have the God-Man, who went through life working, suffering, and tiring Himself out in His apostolic life. The more one reflects in himself the image of our Lord Jesus, the more He becomes holy, the more he becomes divinized 3. Now in all of this what is the role of the Most Holy Mother ? Through whom did Jesus come into the world ? Who brought Him up ? To whom was He obedient ? The Most Holy Mother brought Him up, with Her own breast She nourrished Him. He was obedient to Her even during the three years of His apostolic life and many times He emphasized the fact that He was fulfilling the will of His Father. Our Lord Jesus was born of the Most Holy Mother, He needed Her help. She nourrished Him, brought Him up and wore Herself out for Him. What (lesson) is left for us here ? 4 To let ourselves be brought up by the Most Holy Mother according to the example of our Lord Jesus. We see, then, that the role of the Most Holy Mother is clear. (…) What is sanctification ? Sanctification is the reception of many great graces from God and the proper response to these graces. In order, then, that this work be done successfully in us, let us go to the Most Holy Mother. What happens here must be similar to what happens in an earthly family. In families we see that it is true that the father works and earns the bread and life's necessities, but who feeds the children if it isn't the mother ? The mother, distributing the nourriture, gives to each one their portion and the food that is most fitting for each. But what would become of that child who were to say that he didn't want a mother ? 5 It is the same in the supernatural family. These are echos… echos… according to which we must make parallels. The Most Holy Mother does the same thing. She distributes all graces, and gives when and what, to whom and how as is most fitting. He who would disavow 6 her would be most ungrateful. (K 25
1 2 3 4 5 6

— SK 1295, notes prepared for his book. — [??Lecz bedac najdoskonalszym duchem nie mógl tego uczyni´c w inny sposób, jak tylko zesla´c na ziemie etc.] — [ubóstwiony = "adored"? "adoring?"] — Nam cóz tu pozostaje ? — "A co by to bylo za dziecko, które by mówilo ze nie chce matki." — "Zaparl".

13/6/1933)

He appeals to the imitation of Jesus also in a letter to the guardian of Niepokalanów :`
I pray you to tell the Brothers not to be afraid at all to love the Immaculate too much since (…) they will never love Her like Jesus loved Her. Now all our sanctity consists in imitating Jesus. He who approaches Her, by that very fact approaches God, he just does it by following the shortest, surest, easiest road. (SK 542 2/11/1933)

Again, he explains to his Brothers the goal of the M.I. by speaking of this mediation of Our Lady :
What do we want to draw attention to by saying this : strive for the conversion and sanctification of souls through the Immaculate ? We want to draw attention to the fact that the shortest, surest and easiest way to conversion and sanctification is the Immaculate. And we ourselves want to progress in that way and teach others this way. St. Paul says : "I can do all things in Him who gives me strength" (Ph 4 : 15). Not "many things", not "difficult things" but "all things". There is nothing that I can't do. He is speaking of things necessary for salvation or sanctification. But we say something else still about this. We say : "I can do all things in Him who gives me strength — through the Immaculate". And we have the right to add : "Through the Immaculate". Everything that works towards conversion and sanctification is the work of divine grace. Now the Mediatrix of this grace is the Mother of God. Just as the unique mediator with the Father is Our Lord Jesus Christ, so the unique mediatrix with Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Mother of God. This is what we manifest, this is what we draw attention to, that conversion and sanctification — must be through the Most Holy Mother. What does that mean, conversion and sanctification through the Immaculate ? That means that through the Immaculate come the graces necessary for conversion and sanctification. And indeed 1, although a sinner or a soul desiring to sanctify itself doesn't think about it, what matters is that they know and recognize this mystery, that the soul truly turns directly to the Mother of God. When a soul does this, it will certainly receive the grace of conversion and sanctification ; I underline : "certainly". Ordinarily, if the sinful soul turns to the Lord God, it will receive the grace of conversion, but it can happen that the soul will not merit the grace of God because, on the contrary, it is fitting that the justice of God prevail. However, if the soul, even though it be I don't know how sinful, turns to the Immaculate, it will certainly receive grace. St. Bernard says that the Lord God kept for Himself justice, but gave mercy to the Mother of God. I don't deny that the Immaculate receives the mercy from the Lord God, but She is the personification of this divine mercy and that is why a soul is converted and sanctified if it turns to Her. Therefore we know this truth, that through the Immaculate we can become great saints and this in an easy way. In order to sincerely proclaim this truth with conviction, it is first necessary to experience it oneself. Then it will be very easy to speak of it to others. A soul that has already given up and says : "I can't go on, it is too much for me", let it try and put into practice for itself this truth and it will be convinced that it can do all things through the Immaculate. There is no heroism of which the soul is not capable with the help of the Immaculate. (K 75, 3 6/5/1937)

He helps his Brothers understand as well how this mediation is in no way against the mediation of
1

— [w rzeczy samej = ?]

Jesus, as the Protestants (and often Novus Ordo Catholics) say. In one conference he starts by speaking of the garden work the Brothers were doing at that time (it was April), working the ground and preparing it to be seeded. Similarly, he says, in the spiritual life, we must hoe the weeds of our soul by examination of conscience, the chapter of faults, etc.
But, he goes on, it is not enough to always hoe and weed. One must sow the flowers so that they might grow and blossom. The development of the flower requires sun and dew. If there is no sun or dew the little flower will not grow (…) In the soul it's the same. So that it might grow spiritually the sun must warm it and it must have the dew of grace. But this sun and this dew are nothing else but the Immaculate and Her alone, for She is the Mediatrix of all graces. Not everyone understands this, because it seems to them that Our Lord Jesus is something else (apart from) the Mother of God ; that Our Lord Jesus is one end and that the Mother of God is another ; and that if one turns toward the Mother of God in everything that one honours Jesus too little. This is an erroneous way of thinking, for Jesus is God incarnate in the Immaculate (…) This is a mystery that surpasses our understanding, which is why we cannot comprehend it. We won't learn it in a book but only on our knees. Sometimes writers get troubled and err and make distinctions, as if Our Lord Jesus was one thing and the Mother of God another. But this happens because they don't know the Mother of God. The expression "Mother of God" is composed of two words : "Mother" and "of God". That is why, in order to understand who She is, it would be necessary to comprehend God, which is impossible for our limited understanding. We know perfectly well that the purpose of all devotions is the Lord God. In the same way devotion to the Immaculate is a means to this end. We must seek Our Lord Jesus through Her and nowhere else but through Her. With one we proceed into the other and not from one to the other 1. In order that flowers blossom in the soul, they must receive the warmth of the light of the Immaculate. Just as a child understands and feels instinctively that he will develope by being with his mother, that he must suck his nourrishment from her breast so that he might live, so also the soul does not develope in any other way but by being with the Mother of God. And we feel this ourselves in practice, that when our relationship with the Immaculate grows cold, we go down spiritually. The devil knows this well, which is why he strives by every means to take us away from devotion to the Mother of God. He will propose other very holy devotions, as long as they aren't to Her, because then he will be able to get what he wants. Let us, however, offer ourselves without limits to the Immaculate, let us not put any restrictions to our love for Her, and then will be verified what is written in Holy Scripture : "She shall crush your head, but you will lie in wait for her heel". The devil can only lie in wait for us, but the final result will always be : "She shall crush". I exhort all of you, then, very much to this devotion. (K 71 25/4/1937)

Again, along the same line, he says to his Brothers :
All our perfection depends on the close union of our will to the will of the Immaculate. As soon as we are united to the Most Holy Mother, to Her will, to Her desires, to Her affections, then immediately we can have no doubt about our spiritual progress. The more we are with Her, the more we will be Her, God
1

— "Z jednego przechodzimy w drugie, a nie od jednego do drugiego."

Himself, if I may speak this way, because then our will, our actions, our progress will not be ours but Hers, and therefore divine, for the Immaculate is so closely united to God that whatever is Hers is, by that very fact, divine. The way we must follow is with the Most Holy Mother to Our Lord Jesus and with Our Lord Jesus and the Most Holy Mother to the Most Holy Trinity. One can go to Our Lord Jesus or the Most Holy Trinity directly, not excluding, however, the Most Holy Mother, for to tend toward God without Mary, if it is with an express exclusion of Her, is pride and something diabolical, and the essence of sin is always pride, that is, non-conformity with the will of God and the will of God is this, that we go to Him by this road, that is, through the Most Holy Mother. Let us suppose someone wants to go to Danzig and he says : will I go to Danzig or will I go to the train ? Certainly, by the train to Danzig. Or someone wants to go on the roof ; so he says : will I go on the roof or on the ladder ? Obviously, by the ladder onto the roof. Thus we also do not have a surer and easier road to heaven than the Immaculate 1. Let us strive only to belong to the Immaculate, to be Hers, completely Hers. If we give ourselves to Her, She Herself will lead us to the Heart of Jesus, to the Blessed Sacrament, to the Most Holy Trinity. When we approach Her, then truly will we know and love Our Lord Jesus. Precisely for this reason do we sit on the train so that we can go to Danzig. (…) In various periods of Christianity there have been various religious sensibilities. The present period is the epoch of the Immaculate. We see this clearly and without (need for) proofs. (K 25 13/6/1933) 2

This mediation of Mary, however, even though it is absolutely vital, is not well known :
The words "through the Immaculate", he says, are a mystery and not everyone manages to understand them. (K 92 10/8/1937) He who wants to live the supernatural life clings to the Mother of Divine Grace. He who wants to convert and sanctify himself must have recourse to the Mother of God, for She is the Mediatrix of all graces. This mystery, that we receive everything through the Immaculate, is still little known. That is why we must propagate it ; more, we must conquer the whole world to the Immaculate. (K 101 4/9/1937)

Whence comes Fr. Kolbe's surprising zeal for the conversion of the whole world to the Immaculate. Thus he writes :
The end of the M.I. (is) to conquer to the Immaculate the whole world and every single soul that now
1 2

— Cf also SK 643. — In the same conference he responds to the question a Brother had posed about why some saints don't speak about Our Lady but went directly to Jesus : "You know, I've studied the lives of the saints and I know that the Most Holy Mother intervenes in all of them. No saint has ever said that he wants to go to Jesus without the Mother of God or sanctify himself, although he didn't necessarily speak constantly of Her. It is also evident that the better something is understood, the less one speaks of it and draws attention to it. When we enter into the refectory, for example, we don't think about the tables which are standing there, and if someone asked whether we expect tables to be in the refectory, we would answer with amazement that we can't even imagine the refectory without them. Also we can't imagine, for example, the printing of the Knight without the machines, because if we want to print it we need to have the proper machines.That is why also in advance it is supposed that although some saints didn't constantly speak of the Most Holy Mother, nonetheless they didn't want to omit her and that it couldn't be otherwise. We eat on the tables, we sit on stools, but we don't even think of this, because the more a thing goes without saying, the less one draws attention to it. Let us never fear to pray directly to Our Lord Jesus, to the Most Holy Trinity ; precisely the more we are given up to the Most Holy Mother, the more boldly will we do this, for we have Her (to pray) for us."

exists and will exist in the future. It seems to me that in so far as She is "Mediatrix of all graces" she does not just desire to give sometimes and in some places the grace of conversion and sanctification, but She wants to regenerate all souls (…) (SK 343 6/6/1931)

So souls must come to know this mystery, this secret of Mary, and put it into practice for, as the saint boldly writes
Devotion to the Immaculate is a secret that many don’t know yet, or rather they know it but they practise it only superficially, when in reality it is, by the will of God, the substance of all sanctity. (SK 687, letter to Fr. M. Mirochna, November 11, 1936)

Which brings us to our second section, the consecration to Mary : for the way to do this, to practise the secret of the mediation of Mary, is by consecrating oneself to her. *** [3788]

2) The Consecration to Mary Fr. Kolbe explains the connection between the mediation of Mary and consecration to her very clearly saying ::
Supernatural grace is indispensable for the sanctification of souls. Since, then, the Immaculate is the Mediatrix of all graces, the more closely one approaches Her, the more exuberant becomes one’s spiritual life. But without any doubt the most perfect form of approaching (someone) is the total consecration of one’s self (to them). (SK 637 8/8/1935)

Thus, as Garrigou-Lagrange says, we see that the consecration to Mary is just the "practical recognition of her universal mediation". Fr. Kolbe explains more precisely this "approaching" to the Immaculate through the consecration to Her :
It is a matter, he says, of the approaching of the will, the fusion of our will and the will of the Immaculate, just as Her Will is united most perfectly to the Will of God. Besides this, nothing else is necessary.( SK 1212 Z Zycia Niepokalanowa, 7/12/1936) It is certain that the more our will approaches Her, the more we also approach Her. If we are attached 1 to Her will we can tell ourselves that we belong to her very much. (K 284 19/10/1940)

We will have the occasion to speak of this more when we speak of the role of the virtue of obedience in the spirituality of Fr. Kolbe, but for now we can simply note how he insists on the absolute
1

— Przywiazany : attached ; devoted.

necessity of our will. This goes, first of all, for the spiritual life in general, as he tells his Brothers :
The first and most important condition above all is to want to sanctify oneself (…) If someone doesn't want it, nothing can help him. The Lord God gave us free will and he is not going to take it away. (K 260 26/8/1940) 1 St. Scholastica asked one time her brother St. Benedict what one has to do to become a saint. He answered her that one had to will it. When someone wills to sanctify himself, God gives him grace. Thus he becomes a saint who wills to become a saint. But we receive the grace for sanctification through the hand of the Most Holy Mother and only through Her hand. (K 32 30/8/1933)

And this applies also to the consecration to Mary :
Not even She will subsititute for us, he writes his Brothers at Niepokalanów. It is we that must want to renounce ourselves and consecrate ourselves to Her. (SK 878 22/8/1939)

Similarly he concludes a discussion of a certain subject in a letter to his provincial saying :
At any rate, the Immaculate knows everything and directs everything, on the condition that we let ourselves be guided perfectly by Her (…) (SK 698 29/12/1936)

This is the necessary condition : "that we let ourselves be guided perfectly by Her". And if it is absent, if our free will refuses to cooperate, it becomes a formidable obstacle to our union with Mary. Thus he writes in an article in the Knight :
Even if we see clearly the intimate exchange of thoughts, sentiments, desires and aids that the Immaculate grants us, still we always remain free, since we have a free will. We are the property of the Immaculate but, in spite of that, there remains a very subtle self-love that, in practice, renders impossible the exercise of the rule of Mary over us. We possess an individuality too great to accept willingly all the projects that the Divine Mother has for our lives (which in practise is manifested in an evident manner when someone, for example, decides to commit a sin). (SK 1219 Rycerz Niepokalanej, December 1937)

To overcome this obstacle, Fr. Kolbe even counsels his Brothers to ask the Immaculate to "force" them to become saints :
Let us pray the Immaculate that she might force us, that she might even take up a stick immediately when we want to resist Her.… If we only want it, the Immaculate will force us to become zealous and holy and She will not respect our free will. The Lord God gave us free will and we can freely dispose of it, but the Immaculate, once we have prayed to Her about it, will override our will and do as She thinks best (…) May She do as She pleases, without giving reasons or explanations, whether we want it or not. (K 29 July 1933)
1

— Also he tells his Brothers in another conference : "For religious formation the efforts of the teacher and the superior are very praiseworthy, but the most important formation depends on us ourselves. If I don't work on myself and if I don't reflect seriously — all is for nothing" (K 100 3/9/1937). Cf also the whole conference K 286 : "Free will and its consequences".

He similarly encourages the clerics at the seminary in Cracow to strive to let the Immaculate operate freely in them and through them :
Let us permit Her, he writes, to do in us and through us whatever She desires and She will surely accomplish miracles of grace… She will conquer, through us, the whole world and every single soul. Let us hasten this moment by deepening our consecration to Her by an ever more perfect obedience, an assimilation of our will and Hers, a union that is so intimate that it succeeds in almost eliminating the differences between our will and Hers. (SK 556 8/2/1934)

But all this effort must never make us lose our peace, as he writes a zealous, but somewhat scrupulous brother in Japan :
We can exert ourselves, make efforts, write, pray, but without ever losing our peace in the complete gift of ourselves to Her. (SK 738 13/9/1937)

And if we do give her our will, then She will lead us, as he says :
Because we have given ourselves to Her without limits, therefore, for Her part, She leads us. (SK 339 29/4/1931) *** [4713]

3) Explanations of various points Fr. Kolbe — and this is his great gift and the value of his writings for those who want to live their consecration to Mary in an ever deeper way — excels at explaining different points about it in great detail and depth. Let us see first what he says about the importance and even the necessity of the consecration to Mary by developing an idea that St. Louis de Montfort speaks of as well, namely, that because of our unworthiness we must approach God, not directly, but by Mary.
Our acts, he writes, even the most holy of them, are not without faults, and if we wish to offer them to Christ pure and without stain, we must present them directly to the Immaculate alone and give them to Her as her property, in order that She offer them, as Her own, to Her Son. (SK 643 10/10/1935)

For indeed, as he writes in some notes for a conference for his Brothers :
Through the Immaculate our acts of love become without stain, since they belong to Her, just as we do. (SK 1298 First months of 1940)

And in another place he explains this more deeply :
If we belong to the Immaculate, then everything we have belongs to Her also and Jesus accepts everything that comes from us as if it came from Her, as if it belonged to Her. In this case She cannot

leave these actions imperfect, but renders them worthy of Herself, that is immaculate, without the least stain (…) That is why Satan wants absolutely to separate souls from union with the Immaculate, because He knows that a soul who excludes the mediation of the Immaculate offers to Jesus gifts that are so full of imperfections that they are more worthy of chastisement than recompense. And the worst of it is that these gifts are poisonned with pride, because one believes that one has no need of the Immaculate. (SK 1301, notes prepared for his book 5/20/1940)

And in fact, deep down, we all know that we need a mediator with Jesus . That is why the consecration
1

to Mary can help us to have confidence in spite of our sins. The saint writes :
Sometimes we have doubts : so often it happens that we have not been faithful to grace, with the result that we are no longer worthy of the help of God. But that is precisely why God has given us the heavenly Mother to Whom He has confided the entire order of His mercy 2, so that He might, as it were, hide us from His justice. Therefore we have a way to go, through which we can always obtain the grace of God. We can never say that now it is no longer possible to obtain the grace of God. Without regard for whatever sins we have on our conscience, we can rise up from them, if only we will turn to the Immaculate. If someone falls, let him turn to Her with full confidence. (K 183 2/8/1938)

He explains this point again in a brochure on the M.I. prepared for distribution to the faithful.
What are the conditions to belong to the M.I. ? (…) He who desires to offer his own contribution to the work of sanctification of others must begin, obviously, with himself. He must himself, then, approach always closer to the Immaculate in order to obtain from Her the graces to help him love God always more perfectly and concretely in his everyday life. The most perfect form of approaching (someone) is the total gift of oneself, the consecration (to them of oneself) as (their) thing and property. This, then, is the first and essential condition in order to belong to the Militia of the Immaculate, the total consecration of oneself to the Immaculate. Such a consecration does not at all require that one abandon at the same time the world and one's family and that one enter a monastery. No ! One can very well continue to occupy oneself in all the legitimate affairs in which one is involved 3, only from now on it will not be just we ourselves who offer these daily affairs to God, but it will be She, the Immaculate, of whom we have become the property, who will present them to God. Mary, then, offers all this not as if it were ours, full of faults and imperfections,
1 2

— Cf fioretto about the two ladders SK 461, 643; 647 etc. — Allusion to the first phrase in the act of consecration : « … to Whom God has confided the entire order of His mercy ». He concludes an article he prepared on St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (but which was never published) saying : « Let us also (be little flowers of the Immaculate) and She will teach us an unlimited confidence in the merciful love of God, of which She is the personification. » (SK 1263) And similarly in his notes for the book he was writing : « The dispensatrix of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus (…) is the divine mercy personified in the Immaculate. » (SK 1331) 3 — Fr. Kolbe wanted to make the consecration to Mary something possible for everyone and so he would insist on it not being something too difficult. In an article in the Knight, for example, in 1925 he invites his readers, who already, normally, were members of the M.I., to encourage others to join : "Make them understand, he writes, that it doesn't take a lot of time to give oneself forever to the Immaculate, to wear the miraculous medal and repeat once a day the little ejaculatory prayer ("O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for all those that don't have recourse to thee, especially the Freemasons"). Let them do at least something for the Immaculate and slowly She will enter their heart, purify it and enflame it with love for the Heart of Jesus, a love that brings with it joy" (SK 1088 R.N. February 1925). Similarly in the next issue he begins an article intitled : "How can one become a member of the M.I. ?" with the words : "It's very easy" (SK 1090). This aspect of this movement also gives it an affinity with Fatima : it is for everyone and it isn't hard !

but as Her own personal property, since we, along with all that is ours, belong to Her.… The Immaculate, however, cannot offer to God anything that is stained with sin. We see, then, that in Her immaculate hands our imperfect actions become pure, without stain and, therefore, incomparably more precious. (SK 1226 Brochure March 1938)

And again, in an article in the Knight, he writes :
The soul offers to the Immaculate its own acts of love not as one consigns an object to just any intermediary, but as Her property, as Her complete and exclusive property, since it understands that the Immaculate offers to Jesus these acts as if they were Her own, which means that She offers them without stain, immaculate ; Jesus, then, offers them to the Father. (SK 1310 5-20/8/1940)

And again, in a conference :
We give to Her as Her property, everything, whatever we do. We give Her as Her property all that we are and all that we do. Then She gives it to Our Lord Jesus as Her own. These are very deep things, but we learn them in humble prayer. (K 36 23/6/1936)

END OF CONFERENCE [5653]

[At the beginning of next conf : we have to go over and over these things as Fr. Maximilian says :]
In order to maintain our consecration to the Immaculate and progress in it, we must constantly renew these truths in ourselves and our relationship with Her either by suitable books, or meditations, etc. But what is most important the Immaculate Herself will dictate to us in humble prayer. (K 60 1936)

So we must pray, above all, so that what we hear or read about Our Lady during this retreat might help us know and love her more deeply. This is a grace, a very special grace, and we must pray for it. Fr. Kolbe writes to one of his Brothers :
Thank the Immaculate that She has given you the grace to understand practically her mystery — as Blessed Grignion says — and pray that She deign to concede this grace also to the others. In fact, it is not so much with our limited intelligence, as by the grace of the Holy Ghost that the conviction of these sublime mysteries penetrates our hearts and developes there. But here it is indispensable to have much, very much humility. (SK 654 November, 1935)

And he writes in the introduction to the book he was preparing :
Human language must serve merely to make the soul approach Her, because it will be She Herself Who will manifest Herself more and more clearly to the soul… Approaching directly to Her heart you will attain a greater knowledge of Her and be inflamed by a greater love for Her than all the human words

together could teach you 1. (SK 1317 (5-20/8/1940)

It is, as I said, hard to systemize his doctrine because it is at the same time very simple and very diffuse. He was not at all a complicated man, as we have seen in his life : he just had a very special grace of love for Our Lady that he was able to communicate to others. Br. Ferdinand Kasz, one of his Brothers at Niepokalanów, witnessed at the process of canonization :
When one reads his articles (on Our Lady), sentiments of love for the Immaculate are awakened in one's heart along with the desire to practise a more particular devotion to Mary. His attitude toward the Immaculate had something indefinable about it that was somehow infantile : there was nothing affected about it, but rather showed a great simplicity and childlike affection. (PSV II, p. 133)

So let us continue speaking about his doctrine on the consecration, as best we can, remembering always that if at times it seems complicated, it really is very simple. Father Vayssière, a saintly French Dominican of the first half of the twentieth century who had a great devotion to Our Lady, would speak great and profound things about her, but when things got too metaphysical he would just look at his interlocutor and say : "Marie est une maman : elle nous aime comme une maman : elle veut que nous l'aimions comme une maman". "Mary is a mother (or a "mom", but that doesn't quite have the same flavour) ; she loves us like a mother : she wants us to love her like a mother". Fr. Maximilian is exactly the same. When he spoke of Our Lady the word he used in Polish was "Mamusia", which is very difficult to translate because it is a diminutive of a diminutive : the Italian translator puts : "Mammina", the diminutive of "Mama" which is already a diminutive of "Madre". In English that would make : "Little Mommy", which is ridiculous, but even in Polish it was shocking, so much so that the provincial told him it shouldn't be used before visitors at Niepokalanów but just among the Brothers . A priest who knew him
2

very well said of this expression in his testimony at the process :
"In the mouth of others it seemed strange but in him it was so natural and sincere that one saw that it sprung from his deepest experience." (PSV II, p. 109)

Let us just give a couple of quotes from his conferences that show how he emphasized this with his Brothers :
It is not a matter here of kneeling down a long time and praying, but of this relationship of a child to his mother. A loving glance at her statue, the frequent repetition of the name « Mary », even if it be just in our hearts. Different prayers and formulas are good and beautiful, but the essential thing (…) is this simple relationship of a child to his mother, this sense of our need for this mother, the conviction that without her we can do nothing. (K 31 28/8/1933) If there be difficulties, in spite of them go on and approach even closer to the Immaculate — babble to Her like a little child. Give everything over to Her will — whether she wants to give us sweets or nourrish us with dryness — be close to Her by our will, in Her arms. The way of the Immaculate, even though it be
1 2

— SK 1317. — SK 992A 31/8/1933.

strewn at times with crosses and suffering, is not, nevertheless, all that burdensome and obscure. We always feel this maternal affection. (K 41, 25/7/1936)

Also, in one of his letters he writes :
"Let us endeavour, also, like a little child, to recognize our total dependance on Her and, consequently, cling to Her, like sons to their mother." (SK 605 10/11/1934)

And to some Brothers at Niepokalanów who had compiled a book on the Immaculate, after complimenting them on it, he responds to a question they had addressed to him:
You ask (me) for a weekly program of the "Son of the Immaculate". Ask a weak little baby for the weekly program of his relations with his mother. (SK 605 after 10/11/1934)

* [6633] We were speaking of the explanations Fr. Maximilian gave on various points about the consecration to Mary. In many of his conferences to his Brothers he answers the difficulties that they present to him in the practical living out of their consecration. Here is an example of one such difficulty no doubt presented to him by his Brothers :
This is our ideal, he says. But how must we see this in practice ? During all our actions must we remember our consecration, that everything that we do is for the Mother of God ? — No, it suffices that if we have once made this act of offering and if we have never consciously retracted it, then it exists, even though we may not think about it. A practical example : a carpenter makes a table on order (for someone). Even though he doesn't constantly think about the fact that he is making the table for the one who ordered it, nevertheless he is making this particular table for him. When we have once given ourselves to the Immaculate as Her property, this offering will always be valid, even if we don't always think about it. (K 36 23/6/1936)

When he is in Japan a Brother writes him who is very troubled by the fact that he cannot reconcile in himself his consecration to Mary and the devotion he owes to Jesus. In a long response Fr. Kolbe very patiently reponds to each of the brother's doubts and, in doing so, gives a wonderful exposition of the consecration to Mary and refutes the objections against it. The whole letter would merit being quoted, (also as a witness of the great charity it shows in the soul of its author) but time doesn't permit this so we will give just the beginning :
Dear son ! I respond according to the order of your letter, but with a prodigious delay, because I have a lot to do. I reread your letter not just once but many times and I understand you completely. And, to begin with, how could I not remember good Br. Matthew ? You write : "I can't manage to harmonize in my soul the fact of loving in the same moment Jesus and Mary". But could you love together your father and your mother and besides that also your Brothers and sisters ? Certainly, our end is God, the Most Holy Trinity, but that doesn't stop us from loving God the

Father as God the Father, God the Son as God the Son, the Holy Ghost as the Holy Ghost, Jesus as Jesus, the Mother of God as the Mother of God and then our father and our mother, our relatives, the angels, the saints and all humanity. And obviously not one after another, but all together. Only we cannot think of them all at the same instant, but that doesn't stop us from loving them truly all and simultaneously. You write : "I go before the tabernacle, I pass time speaking with Jesus, etc." and then you ask : "But where is Mary, She without whom it is difficult to approach Jesus… She who is the shortest way ?" I must add for you that it is not only "difficult", but impossible to approach Jesus without Mary. Why ? Even leaving aside the fact that it was She that gave birth and nourrished Jesus for us, approaching Jesus is undoubtedly a grace and all graces come to us passing through Her, in the same way that Jesus Himself came among us through Her. Now you could say to me : "Well then, can I speak directly with Jesus when I'm not thinking about Mary ?" My dear brother, it isn't a matter of what you have to feel or think, but uniquely of the fact that this is precisely the reality of things, even if you don't think about it at all. If you truly love Jesus, then, above all, you want to accomplish in all things His Will and, consequently, also to receive grace in the way He has established. If you have such a disposition, then you may freely, nay, you even must address yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the conviction that you will obtain all you ask. If, however, someone was to say to himself : " I don't need the mediation of any one, I don't need the Most Holy Mother ; I am capable of adoring and rendering hommage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus alone and asking Him for what I need", would not Jesus be right in refusing him because of such unbearable pride ? You write : "She must also receive something from me, I must respire Her, live by Her, consecrate myself totally to Her… But, but Jesus, it is He who is the fountain of grace and Love, He invites us to Himself, He gives Himself in Holy Communion. In this Mary only helps." My dear brother, certainly the fountain of all good, in whatever order, be it natural or supernatural (that is, the order of grace), is God the Father who always works through the Son and the Holy Ghost, that is the Most Holy Trinity. It is true that the unique Mediator with the Father is the Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, God and man at the same time, through whom our homages addressed to the Father from being human become divine, from being limited acquire an infinite value and in this way become truly worthy of the majesty of the Father. It is true that we love the Father in the Son, in Jesus Christ and that we must offer to Him all our love, in order that in Him and through Him the Father might accept all our love. Nonetheless, it is a fact 1 that our acts, even the most holy ones, are not without defects and, if we want to offer them to Jesus Christ pure and without stain, we must address them directly only to the Immaculate and give them to Her as Her property, so that she might offer them as her own to Her son. Then these acts of ours will become pure, immaculate. Also, having received an infinite value through the divinity of Jesus, they will worthily adore the Father. [Also the correspondance to the graces that creatures have obtained through the Son and the Holy Ghost, return also to the Father along the same path, namely through the Holy Ghost and the Son, that is, through the Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and Jesus, united hypostatically to the nature of the Son. But in practice ? My son, you may not even know these beautiful truths at all, you may not understand them, you may not remember them at all and not be capable, with your limited intelligence and with your imagination, of even succeeding in constructing for yourself some notion of them in a human way, but if
1

— "Ciò nonostante, è proprio vero che…"

you want to always accomplish the Will of God (that is, the Will of Jesus, the Will of the Immaculate), then give yourself freely to all the devotions to which you feel yourself attracted. On the contrary, precisely because we are consecrated without limits to the Immaculate, with all that much more boldness, in spite of all our wickedness, let us approach the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In reality, therefore, we are entirely, completely and exclusively consecrated to the Immaculate with all our actions, and in Her and through Her we are consecrated always entirely, completely and exclusively to Jesus Christ ; in Him, then, and through Him we are consecrated entirely, completely and exclusively to our celestial Father.] (SK 643 10/10/1935)

* [7922] Finally he explains concretely to the faithful what their consecration really means practically in their lives. He writes, for example, in the Knight :
We can consecrate ourselves to Mary using whatever expression we want as long as we renounce our own will in order to adhere to Her commands, which are presented to us in the commandments of God and the Church, in the duties of our state and in interior inspirations. (SK 1220 Rycerz Niepokalanej, December, 1937)

In the book he was preparing he goes into more detail about this practical aspect of the consecration :
You are Hers : 1. Let yourself be led by the Immaculate : all that doesn't depend on your will, surely She permits it for your good, even if it comes from the bad will of others. It is She who wills that it happen to you.

On this point he says in a conference to his Brothers :
When the soul reflects on the fact that it has given itself to the Immaculate, (and) that whatever happens to it occurs by Her will, it is filled with a very great peace." (K 99 1/9/1937)

He adds a section on falls, a section which, given the sinful nature of all of us, is eminently practical for us.
7. Seek to conserve your conscience pure ; be careful not to fall, but if you fall, do not delay to get up. 8. She will preserve you from falling, if you put your confidence in Her and do not trust at all in yourself and, for your part, do what is possible, with Her help, not to fall. 9. The cause of a fall is confidence in one's own strength, while the truth is that, by ourselves, we are nothing and are capable of doing nothing ; without Her, the Mediatrix of graces, one doesn't persevere in not falling 1. 10. In the case of a fall, offer yourself immediately to Her together with the whole affair of your fall and ask for pardon : "Dear little Mother, pardon me and obtain pardon from Jesus". Seek to accomplish your next action in order to procure the greatest possible pleasure to Her and to Jesus and be certain that this act of love will completely annul that fault. In your first confession you will accuse yourself of this fall, but
1

— About being "capable of doing nothing", in a conference to his Brothers he says :"You, by yourself, can do nothing, if rely on your own strength. If we rely on the Lord God, we can do everything. Is the Lord God limited ? Can He do little things but not great things ? As soon as we rely on the Lord God we are giants. We can be sanctified ! We can conquer and our soul and the whole world to the Immaculate, but with Her help, obviously." (K 29 July 1933)

She, Jesus and the Father will have already long forgetten it. 1

He then goes on to speak about the duties of state :
12. Don't forget that sanctity consists, not in extraordinary actions, but in accomplishing well your duties towards God, yourself and others. 13. Nothing, not even the most holy state of life, assures the sanctification of your soul if you neglect the duties that derive from that state. Try to see in your duties the certain will of the Immaculate, the accomplishment of which demonstrates your love for Her and, in Her and through Her, for Jesus and the Father. Even prayer, penance and works that are good in themselves are not pleasing to Her if they are an obstacle to accomplishing well your duties. Precisely in them, in fact, is found Her will. (SK 1334 5-20/8/ 1940)

* [8461] At the same time as being very practical in his teaching about the consecration to Mary, Fr. Kolbe could also reach mystical heights in certain of his conferences or letters about it. The most famous instance of this is his statement that by the consecration to Our Lady we are 'transubtantiated" into her. Such an expression obviously needs some explanation ! To finish our treatment of Fr. Kolbe's doctrine on the consecration, then, let us speak a little about this mystical aspect of his teaching. We can start by citing a couple phrases from St. Louis de Montfort's book : The Secret of Mary, to show that the doctrine of Fr. Kolbe is not completely new. St. Louis de Montfort writes :
We must have recourse to the Most Holy Virgin and unite ourselves to her and to her intentions, even though we don’t know them ; we must unite ourselves through Mary to the intentions of Jesus Christ, that is to say, put ourselves like an instrument in the hands of the Most Holy Virgin, in order that she act in us, with us and for us, as she thinks best (…) 2

One glimpses at the end of this quote the mystery about which Fr. Kolbe often speaks, namely that by this consecration, the soul obtains that Mary herself begins to act « in us, with us and for us ». St. Louis de Montfort speaks of this more explicitly a little later in the same book saying :
This devotion (that is, the consecration to Mary), faithfully practised, produces an infinity of effects in the soul. But the principal one is to establish here below the life of Mary in the soul, with the result that it is
1

— [ DONT INCLUDE THIS NOTE IF "LIFE" OR "DISCOURAGEMENT" IS DONE TOO : ] Fr. Kolbe himself gives an example of this in a letter to his Brothers in Japan : "Writing the letters in Japanese I gave in to a thought of pride, namely that I succeed, to a certain extent, in expressing myself in this language. But immediately I felt that the bond of love towards the Immaculate had grown cold. I am sitting before Her little statue and it seems to me that She wants to reprove me, that She is angry !.Most beloved sons, do not ever accept such a feeling. When you feel yourself to be at fault, even if it is a sin that is fully conscious, grave and repeated many, many, many times, do not let yourselves be fooled by the devil into consenting to discouragement. But when you feel yourself to be at fault, offer your whole fault, without analyzing it and examining it, to the Immaculate as Her property, pronouncing the sole name of "Mary", as I just did a moment ago, and worry yourselves about pleasing Her with the action that immediately follows, as I am doing in this moment adding for you, most dear Sons, these few words." (SK 505 9/4/1933) 2 — The Secret of Mary, n. 46.

no longer the soul that lives, but Mary in her, or the soul of Mary becomes her soul, as it were 1.

To say that "the soul of Mary becomes our soul" is already pretty strong ! Let us see now what Fr. Maximilian says exactly. We will simply quote, in chronological order, the different passages we have found where he speaks of this. First of all there is a PS in a letter in 1931 to Fr. Koziura, Guardian of Niepokalanów, where he speaks of the expansion of the M.I in the whole world and how the heresies and schisms will be destroyed, etc. After all this, perhaps feeling he has been carried away a bit, he adds this little Post Scriptum :
She alone, however, will do all this 2. (SK 382 2/12/1931)

Some months letter, he writes the Brothers in Niepokalanów :
Let us disappear in Her ! May She alone remain, but us in Her, a part of Her. But is it licit for us, such wretched creatures, to rave in this way ? Nonetheless this is the truth, this is reality. (SK 461 27/10/1932)

Shortly after, in a letter to the clerics at Cracow, he writes :
Let us open our heart to Her, let us let Her enter there and let us generously give Her our heart, soul and body and everything without any restriction or limit (…) in order to be Her servants, Her sons, Her thing and Her unconditional property in such a way that we become, in a certain way, She Herself living, speaking, acting in this world. (…) She Herself is the Immaculate Conception. Therefore She is such also in us and She transforms us into Herself as immaculate (…) When we shall have become Her, than also all our religious life and its sources will be Hers and She Herself. (Our) supernatural obedience will be Her will ; chastity, Her virginity ; poverty, Her detachment from earthly goods. (SK 486 28/2/1933 Letter to clerics of the OFM Conv.)

At that same time, there is a short phrase in an article written for the internal review of the province :
She Herself wants to love this Heart (of Jesus) in (souls) and through them, be them themselves and make them become Herself. (SK 1168 3/3/1933 article in the Wiadomosci)

Then comes the famous text with "transubstantiated", which appears in a letter to a good friend, Fr. Antonio Vivoda, who was the editor of the Knight of the Immaculate in Italy. The letter was written on the boat going to Italy on the way to the Provincial Chapter in July 1933 and in fact was never posted or delivered, since it has no signature and the original is found in the archives at Niepokalanów . Perhaps
3

Fr.Maximilian himself thought he went a bit too far… At any rate, one must remember that it is a casual
1 2

— The Secret of Mary, n. 55. — In some notes written before May 1939 (SK 1291) he writes : "Mary Herself does everything". [But the Polish doesn't have this… ? However it does have an equivalent phrase in a letter to a priest, member of the M.I. : "She will do everything" (SK 464 15/11/1932). Cf also : Tu sola interemisti cunctas haereses in universo mundo"] 3 — Cf SK 508 n. 9.

letter to an intimate friend and co-member of the Militia : no doubt he would never have spoken so freely to an outsider. And the expression never appears again in his writings or conferences : and yet it is one of the few things everyone knows about him ! Anyway, he writes :
She is of God. She is perfectly of God, even to the point of being, as it were, a part of the Most Holy Trinity, although She is a finite creature … And then we are Hers, of the Immaculate, Hers without limits, most perfectly Hers, we are, as it were, She Herself. Through us She loves the good God. With our poor heart She loves Her divine Son. We become the means through which the Immaculate loves Jesus and Jesus, seeing us Her property, a part, as it were, of His Most Beloved Mother, loves Her in us and through us. What exceedingly beautiful mysteries ! … We have heard of persons who are obsessed, possessed by the devil, through whom the devil thought, spoke, acted. We want to be obsessed in this way, and even more, without limits, by Her : may She Herself think, speak and act through us. We want to belong to such a point to the Immaculate that not only nothing else remain in us that isn’t Hers, but that we become, as it were, annihilated in Her, changed into Her, transubstantiated into Her, so that nothing remains but She Herself. That we might be Hers as She is God's.(SK 508 12/4/1933)

During the same trip, a few days later, still on the boat, he writes in his journal similar thoughts :
M.I. Realize the goal of the M.I. as soon as possible, that is, conquer to the Immaculate the whole world. (…Moreover) deepen incessantly in souls love for the Immaculate, tighten the bond of love between souls and Her, so that they become one sole thing with Her, She herself ; so that She Herself live and love (act) in them and through them. As She is of Jesus and of God, thus each soul, through Her and in Her, will become of Jesus and of God, that is, in a way that is much more perfect than without Her and not through Her, if that were possible 1. (…) When will all this happen ? The divinisation of the whole world in Her and through Her ? The first essential condition : those who have the duty to work must themselves give the example ; in order to understand this spirit they must themselves impregnate themselves with it ; in order to become an instrument of the Immaculate, in such a way that it be She Herself who acts, they must themselves give themselves to Her without any limit. They must they themselves, before everything else, belong to Her, deepen their unlimited gift of themselves to Her, tighten the bond of love with Her, become She Herself, so that She might act through them and in their souls. This is a most essential 2 condition. She will act through them only in the measure that they belong to Her. Nothing, therefore, can remain (that comes) from themselves. (SK 991 Q 23/4/1933 Notes in his private journal)

Then in a conference he gives at Niepokalanów during his visit back in Poland he says :
She Herself must conquer our soul. (We must) give ourselves to Her alone to be led, permit Her to lead us, so that She Herself — Herself acts. Someone says : no, I also will act and may the Mother of God help me. No, no. May She Herself act. Let us just have recourse to Her (…) In the same way the Most Holy
1

— "… e non attraverso Lei, se poi ciò fosse possibile". I.e. if it were possible to belong to them at all without her (which it isn't). 2 — Essenzialissima.

Mother has everything from God and She knows it. (K 29 July 1933)

Then, six months later in a letter to the clerics at Cracow, he writes, responding, apparently, to an appeal to help them know and serve the Immaculate :
Neither do I know in theory, and even less in practice, how one ought to serve the Immaculate be Her instrument, servant, son, slave, property and, and… She Herself. She alone must instruct each of us every moment, She must lead us, transform us into Herself, so that it no longer be we who live but She in us, just as Jesus lives in Her and the Father in the Son. Let us permit Her to do in us and through us whatever She desires and She will surely accomplish miracles of grace : and we ourselves will become saints and great saints, very great, since, becoming really like Her, She will conquer, through us, the whole world and each individual soul. (SK 556 8/2/1934 to the clerics at Cracow)

A year later he writes to a cleric in Cracow again :
(We must) belong to the Immaculate as servant, son, slave, thing, property and so on : in a word, belong to Her under every aspect. Annihilate oneself and become Her. The fundamental element of such a transformation consists in conforming, in fusing, in uniting our will with Hers. (SK 579 18/4/1934)

In some notes around this same time he writes :
M.I.3 : unlimitedness of the gift ; therefore also heroicity of action and unlimited perfection ; become like Her in a way that is always more perfect ; become Her as She is of God (in a Catholic sense), (divinisation in Her and through Her). Union, perfect accomplishment of Her will. The perfect M.I. (SK 1272 around 12/6/1934)

Then a couple short remarks in conferences at Niepokalanów after his return from Japan :
We must tend towards this, that we love Our Lord Jesus as She loves Him ; that our love be directed towards this summit, that it be the love of the Immaculate Herself. (K 36 23/6/1936) The soul of the Immaculate must live in us and work in us. (K 55 8/11/1936)

Shortly after his return to Poland he writes a priest at Mugenzai no Sono :
Dear son, let us love the Immaculate more every day, always more and more. On this point there is not and cannot be any limit, while She will purify our hearts more and more from naturalism and transform us into Herself. Devotion to the Immaculate is a secret that many don’t know yet, or rather they know it but they practise it only superficially, when in reality it is, by the will of God, the substance of all sanctity. (SK 687 11/11/1936)

In an article in the Knight at this time he explains the ideal of the association of the M.I.
The association, in fact, is above all "I", that is "Immaculatae", of the Immaculate. Be Hers without any restriction, irrevocably, for always. And become Hers always more and more, in a way that is always more

perfect, become like Her, unite oneself to Her, become, in a certain way, Her Herself, so that She take possession always more and more of our soul, take total possession of it and so that She Herself in it and through it think, speak, love God and neighbour and act. This is our ideal : become Hers, become "of the Immaculate" "Immaculatae", "I". (SK 1211 Rycerz Niepokalanej, December, 1936)

Then in a couple of conferences to the Brothers he touches on the same point.
I will say something more and I will say it boldly : if we are given up entirely to the Immaculate, if we constantly strive to be so, then our bad works — although perhaps not done with bad will, but still bad — She will repair them and even more : She will turn them into a greater good. And She will even work miracles, if it be necessary, because for the Immaculate to work a miracle is not something great. And then our works and efforts will not be ours but Hers and they will have a value that is not our own but of the Immaculate. We will just be her instruments, like a shovel in the hand of a gardener. The shovel digs, but it isn't its work, but the gardener's alone 1. What a great consolation this is for us, then, already in this world but all that much more in the next. (K 62 20/1/1937) The more perfectly we allow ourselves to be led by the Mother of God, the better we will be, the more we will be like Her. The ideal of perfection in Niepokalanów is to give oneself to Her always, day and night, so that She suffers and works through us. This is the summit of perfection because the Mother of God most perfectly imitates Jesus. If we want to grow closer to God let us let ourselves be led by Her. We here are in the M.I. We must show this in practice — by our own lives. If we ourselves are not instruments in Her hands, how can we teach this to others ? Let us let Her lead us, so that others, seeing us, might learn what it looks like concretely to be Her knight. To arrive at this ideal we must dwell in Her soul, think with Her thoughts, etc., so that there be no difference between her ideas and ours, just as there is no difference between Her desires and the will of God. This practical teaching of our neighbour is our task at Niepokalanów. (K 195 24/11/1938)

Then, finally, he writes in a letter to the Brothers in Japan, with which we can conclude :
May you approach Her more and more every day, every moment, may you know Her always more perfectly, love Her always more and more, let yourself be penetrated more and more by Her thoughts, Her sentiments, Her intentions, her love for Jesus (…) in a word, may you render yourselves always more and more like the Immaculate… How sweet will be the death of him who will have truly become Her property in practice, in real life, and not just in theory, in the repetition of the act of consecration ! Then you will be capable of doing much for the happiness of the souls of your compatriots, because it will not be you who prays, suffers and works, but She Herself in you and through you. (SK 757 4/11/1937 letter to the Brothers at Nagasaki) ***** [10968] He who has given himself to the Immaculate according to the spirit of the M.I. has the vivid impression
1

— This seems to show that "become Her" = be Her instrument so that She acts. Similary "a perfect action of the H.G. = Her action —› gifts of the H.G . where literally He acts.

of depending in everything on Her, to no longer belong now to himself but to have become truly Her property, of the Immaculate, the Mother of God, the true and aimiable Queen of heaven and earth. (SK 1333 5-20/8/1940) We will never offer Her the love She merits, that with which She loves us. (SK 461 27/10.1932) Our ideal is to present to the Immaculate at every instant the offering of our life. (K 247 16/6/1940) He who loves will know the Immaculate much more than a philosopher or a theologian. (SK 983 Spiritual Exercises, October, 1937) Humility and obedience. Conquer the world to the Immaculate. (SK 982 Spiritual Exercises, September, 1935) He who loves the Immaculate will gain a sure victory in the interior combat. (SK 742 September, 1937)

[Three degrees separated by two infinities : GOD

∞ ∞

JESUS

THE IMMACULATE]
The Immaculate enables us to bridge this gap 1].

[11142]

1

— « The Immaculate is a ship across infinity. » (SK 1284)

DISCOURAGEMENT / CONFIDENCE
DISCOURAGEMENT His own discouragement :
[Fr. Fordon at Grodno] encouraged me to continue the work for the Immaculate when, in anguish and almost demoralized I went to see him. (SK 165 7/3/1927) I realize personally that I neglect many good things and accomplish good things badly and that I am not exempt from evil, but hope is in the Immaculate, who is able to repair everything and transform it into a greater good. (…) O how many times does it seem to me that I have no longer neither faith nor hope and that I don't feel any love either : the devil then insinuates the question : "Why did you come here from so far away ?" (SK 315 30/1/1931 to Fr. Czupryk ; cf K 70 18/4/1937)

He responds to a letter of good wishes for his feast day sent by one of his young priests by expressing sentiments of gratitude for the mercy of the Immaculate :
Dear Son ! May the Immaculate bless you generously for the good and ardent sentiments that your heart poured out in your letter (…) The Immaculate is good, really very good, so good that She doesn't get discouraged about any one of us, in spite of our numerous faults ; on the contrary, although She is the Immaculate Herself, nevertheless She doesn't disdain to use instruments stained by sin in order to advance her work of conversion and sanctification, that is to infuse and develope supernatural life in souls (…) Let us permit Her to act always more freely in our souls. (SK 911 17/10/1940)

His encouraging of others :
Dear Brother ! After a long silence your letter made me rejoice. You must not worry at all about me being very busy, but freely write as soon as you feel the need (…) With regard to our personal weaknesses, they must not discourage us at all, but, on the contrary, the more an instrument is wretched, so much more is it fit to manifest the goodness and power of the Immaculate.(…) Discouragement would grieve the Immaculate (…) Can someone be sad who is the property of the Immaculate ? Which doesn't mean never to stumble, but if we happen to fall, we must conduct ourselves as true knights of the Immaculate and not get discouraged. (…) Dear son, don't be sad, don't be troubled. The Immaculate knows and directs everything. Let us only let ourselves be led by Her always more perfectly and She Herself in us and through us will do the maximum possible for the salvation of souls, to conquer them to Herself and, through Her, to the Heart of Jesus. With the help of the Immaculate we can do everything. (SK 609 28/12/1934 to a Br. at Niepokalanów)

And again in a conference to the Brothers at Niepokalanów :
Falls must be a step to greater sanctity. We must never abandon ourselves to pusillanimity. We can do all things through the Immaculate. After a fall, let us thank God that we did not fall deeper and let us begin

again, as if nothing had happened. On Judgment Day we will rejoice over our falls for they will serve for the greatest glory of the Mother of God and of Jesus. We will strive, therefore, to reveal all our weaknesses and falls and show the power of the mercy of God, which is manifested by our falls. Only the proud become discouraged. Without the grace of God I would be capable of committing all the sins that exist in the world. This is the truth, but with the grace of God, I can do everything. (K 94 28/8/1937)

And this letter to his Brothers in Nagasaki as he leaves them to go to the Chapter in 1933 :
Writing the letters in Japanese I gave in to a thought of pride, namely that I succeed, to a certain extent, in expressing myself in this language. But immediately I felt that the bond of love towards the Immaculate had grown cold. I am sitting before Her little statue and it seems to me that She wants to reprove me, that She is angry . Most beloved sons, do not ever accept such a feeling. When you feel yourself to be at fault, even if it is a sin that is fully conscious, grave and repeated many, many, many times, do not let yourselves be fooled by the devil into consenting to discouragement. But when you feel yourself to be at fault, offer your whole fault, without analyzing it and examining it, to the Immaculate as Her property, pronouncing the sole name "Mary", as I just did a moment ago, and worry yourselves about pleasing Her with the action that immediately follows, as I am doing in this moment adding for you, most dear Sons, these few words. Dearly beloved. Every fall, even if it be very grave and repeated, serves us always and only as a little step towards a higher perfection. For this alone, in fact, the Immaculate permits a fall, in order to heal us of our self love, our pride, in order to lead us to humility and render us in this way more docile to divine graces. The devil, on the contrary, tries to inject despair and interior despondency, which are nothing else but a new sign of pride. If we knew well our wretchedness, we would not wonder at all at our falls, but rather we would wonder and give thanks, after the fall, for not have fallen still lower and more often. There does not exist, in fact, a sin so grave into which we cannot fall, if divine grace, that is, the merciful hand of the Immaculate, does not sustain us. We don't want either to continually feel the sweetness of the devotion to the Immaculate, because this would be spiritual greediness. Let us permit Her to lead us as it pleases Her, not as it pleases us. It is not always the time for sweet tendernesses, even if they are very holy. We also need trials, aridity, abandonments and so on. Let us, then, permit Her to use with full liberty the means of our sanctification. One thing alone must always be present and be deepened always : let ourselves be led by Her, conform ourselves always more perfectly to Her Will, obedience to Her Will in holy Obedience. (…) I finish, because it is already past 10 PM and tomorrow perhaps I will not have any more time. (SK 505 9/4/1933)

CONFIDENCE Now the other side of the coin : confidence. Along with humility, this is one of the virtues that shines most brightly in Fr. Maximilian. Many of the witnesses at his process of canonization speak of it :
According to our way of seeing things, says Fr. Kita, a classmate at Rome, his way could seem like temerity, but in fact he was supported by a faith and a hope that were unshakeable. It seemed that he never became discouraged. On the contrary, he used to say that the more there were difficulties, the more

one had to put one's confidence in Our Lady. (…) He had difficulties. He certainly didn't confide in himself because he was weak and had tuberculosis 1. He also had difficulties from his confrères who were frightened by the extent of his enterprises and the expenses they would entail. But he opposed to all these difficulties an unlimited confidence in Our Lady, saying that She would take care of everything. (…) He inspired also in others confidence in God, even more, he infused it by his own example. (PSV II, p. 20-21)

Fr. Pignalberi, one of the founding members of the M.I., uses exactly the same expression :
Fr. Kolbe, he says, not only showed himself to be full of confidence in Our Lord, but more than that, he infused it into others. (PSV II, p. 47)

Fr. Koziura, who became Guardian at Niepokalanów, testifies :
I must attest that with regard to the theological and cardinal virtues he absolutely shone. Above all, he drew others along with his unlimited confidence in the protection of the Most Holy Virgin. (…) When there were difficulties he calmed everyone down. (…) There were very many difficulties (…) ; by confidence Fr. Maximilian triumphed over everything ; help arrived in time. And this confidence communicated itself to the other Brothers ; they were no longer afraid of anything. As for myself, when I first was tranferred definitively to Niepokalanów, for some days I was incapable of eating or sleeping out of fear that this enterprise shake to pieces by the very ardour of its pace. However, as time went by, I became so accustomed to the unusual way of doing things of Fr. Maximilian that I followed this impetuous rhythm, like the others. Fr Maximilian, harassed by apparently insurmountable difficulties, used to exclaim several times : "Oh ! What will I do ?" The moment after he would regain control and smile, saying : "Finally, what is there to worry about ? Let the Virgin Mary take care of it. As for me, I will get down to work". (PSV II, p. 85)

In one of his conferences we see how he would communicate his peace and confidence to his Brothers also by his words : and also how the key to his peace was his pure intention.
In reason of the present financial difficulties certain Brothers, as one can remark, have declined spiritually. "What will happen ?" [they ask themselves]. It is certain that such thoughts can come and that it is difficult to chase them away so that they don't come. What was it like in the beginning [of the M.I.] ? At one time there was nothing to print [the Knight] with, everything was still done with the printing press of the tertiaries at Cracow. Then there came to me different thoughts. But then I thought : "Why are you tormenting yourself, since [the M.I.] isn't yours ? If it's the Immaculate's, and She wants it to fail, let it fail. It's not ours. It's Hers. As the Immaculate wants : [if She wants] it to develope, let it develope. If She wants there to be persecutions, let it be so. What are we speaking of here? From the beginning, She is the Owner. And we don't want anything else, this alone : what She wants, as She pleases. This is certainly what is more perfect and will lead to the conquest of the whole world. We must understand well who the owner is of Niepokalanów, of the printing press, and of ourselves. For our part we must collaborate, do everything we can, but let us not lose our peace. She is directing this. We must turn to Her in difficulties and find our calm again. (K 105 2/10/1937)
1

— "Quasi tisico".

He speaks again of this point of intention in another conference :
He who has a pure intention will never lose interior peace. And although exteriorly there will be great activity, great sacrifices, and all around us storms and hurricanes will rage — nevertheless in the depth of our soul there will reign an unalterable silence, a deep peace… If we want to know whether we have this intention, let us ask ourselves whether we are striving to fulfill the will of the Immaculate, or rather do we want to content ourselves. Here the fundamental thing is to seek nothing else but only Her will, and therefore fulfill it as She Herself desires. (K 109 6/11/1937)

A bishop who was in charge of the press in Poland while Fr. Kolbe was there says :
Humanly speaking his enterprises should not have been able to continue, but he showed such certainty in the intervention of divine assistance that he pursued them in complete tranquillity. (PSV II, p. 81)

A close priest friend in the order says :
He loved the Immaculate and placed his confidence in her intercession to the point of recklessness 1.

He spoke of this confidence to his Brothers in his conferences, emphasizing that it begins with the recognition of our own weakness :
But someone will say : I don't have the strength for this, to progress in this way, others can do it but not me. That is precisely what it is all about, that we don't have the strength. And if someone feels this way, it is thanks to the Most Holy Mother. If someone feels he has the strength, then let him pray the Mother of God not to feel he has the strength because then, if someone relies on himself, he is truly in danger of falling. Your whole point of support must be the Immaculate. We must never have confidence in ourselves. We must simple say to the Immaculate : if You abandon me, then I will drag also others along to hell with me ; there is no sin of which I am not capable, nothing so criminal that I could not commit it. If, however, You extend me Your hand, then I will bring the whole world to You and I will become a saint, a great saint. (K 29 July 1933) 2

We see this confidence expressed in his writings as well :
At times, he says in his 1919 conference at Cracow to the M.I., we will taste the joyful serenity of the little child who, abandoning himself without any reserve in the hands of his own mother, worries about nothing, fears nothing, confident in the wisdom, goodness and power of his good mother .At times the storm will rage around us, thunderbolts will fall, but we, consecrated without limits to the Immaculate, will be sure that nothing will happen as long as our good little Mother doesn't permit it, and we will rest peacefully, working and suffering for the salvation of souls. (SK1248 15/11/1919)

He writes some advice to a young priest he has left back in Nagasaki :
Previously I used to "fight" against difficulties, but then I became convinced that they all turn out in the end for a greater good in favour of the cause of the Immaculate. (SK 739 14/9/1937)

And to a Brother there he writes :
With regard to the Fathers for the missions, let us stay in peace. The Immaculate has Her time for each thing. Soon our seminarians will begin to receive priestly ordination. With the help of the Immaculate,
1 2

—P. Treece, op. cit., p. 68. — Cf SK 988G Oct 7, 1919 in his journal where he says this precise thing about himself to Our Lady.

then, the missionaries will come. Let us conform ourselves to Her will. Let us permit Her to act as She pleases. We can make efforts, undertake things, write, pray, but without ever losing our peace in the complete gift of ourselves to Her. (SK 738 13/9/1937)

And to his Brothers in Japan shortly after his definitive departure :
Above all, never let yourselves be troubled, never be frightened, never fear anything. The Immaculate, in fact, is She perhaps not aware of everything ? If this were case, it would really be a great big mess 1. No one can do us any harm if God does not permit it, that is if She doesn't consent to it. Everything, then, is in Her maternal hands. Consequently, let us only let ourselves be led by Her more every day, more every instant. This is all our philosophy. (SK 755 4/11/1937)

One last thing : a little phrase from a letter of his spiritual director that he copied and recopied and recopied again in his retreat notes over the years, right up until his death.
"Abandon yourself every day more and more in the hands of the Lord and of the Virgin with unlimited confidence and trust." (SK 982 Ex. spir. 1935)

1

— "Se così non fosse, sarebbe un gran bel pasticccio."

MISSIONARY SPIRIT / ECUMENISM
MISSIONARY SPIRIT
The real scoundrels, those with malicious intentions, who sin with full advertance, are relatively few 1. The Saviour Himself excused before His celestial Father even those who were crucifying Him because — as Jesus said — they didn't know what they were doing. These poor people, therefore, need light, much supernatural light, much supernatural energy ; they are unhappy, malcontent, because they consider as ultimate end that which is only a means and therefore, after having attained the happiness they aspired to, don't find what they were looking for. And they continue to search with a disillusioned heart, with bitterness in their soul. How can we not extend a hand to them ? How can we not help them to pacify their hearts, to raise their minds above everything that passes towards the unique ultimate end, God ? Love of neighbour pushes the souls who have already found the true ideal of life not to forget their brothers that surround them. (SK 1237 Calendar of the Rycerz Niepokalanej, I939) When I was in Nagasaki, sometimes there were difficult moments that bordered on discouragement. One evening, when I was on the tram, the question came into my mind : "Why did you come to this foreign people, who have their own ends, who get by as they can. What is this for, what good does it do ?" 2 When, however, I went back and looked at the letters, the correspondance, I saw that these pagans are looking for happiness and ask us to show them what they must do to attain it. Neither paganism, nor Protestantism is what they are looking for and in us they sense what is true happiness. Every man : pagan or faithful, learned or unlearned, rich or poor, old or young desires to be happy. And happiness different people seek it in different ways, some in riches, some in glory, some in earthly pleasures, but they don't find it because when they possess what they desire they aspire to something greater. And man cannot be happy by the possession of these things because they are finite, they have their limits but the human heart seeks something infinite. And it is something so great that finite things cannot it fulfill it. (…) Missionaries, therefore, who go to distant countries, are apostles of true happiness. (K 70 18/4/1937) Many souls still live far from the sheepfold of Christ uniquely because they are not instructed. What (a cause for) sorrow ! (SK 583 after 10/5/1934)

We show the greatest love for the Immaculate, then, if we transmit Her love to our neighbour (…) (K 129,4 15/2/1938) It is a matter of this, that the Immaculate be more and more loved, and not only that we love Her. And we offer our own love as fervently as possible, but our end is to spread the love of the Immaculate
1 2

— Cf PSV II, p. ? and also K ? — Cf SK 315 30/1/1931 to Fr. Czupryk which evidently refers to this tempation : "O how many times does it seem to me that I have no longer neither faith nor hope and that I don't feel any love either : the devil then insinuates the question : « Why did you come here from so far away ? » "

throughout the whole world. (K 314 10/2/1941) But he who loves the Immaculate disinterestedly, that is, who loves Her not for himself, but for Her alone, doesn't content himself with just loving Her, but will take action so that others will love Her as well (…) (SK 634 28/2/1935)

On the occasion of the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady he writes to the members of the M.I. :
We, her knights, who are part of Her bodyguard, we cannot let this day go by without offering Her our best wishes. But what can we wish still for Her who, exalted above all creatures in heaven and on earth, has become the Mother of God and now reigns eternally in Paradise ? She is the Queen of heaven and earth, She is the Mediatrix of us all ; through Her hands each grace flows upon the earth.

Then, without noticing it, he begins to pray :
What must we wish to You, then, O most illustrious and most sweet Lady ? … Many still do not know You… because they were born in paganism, or brought up in Judaism or imbued with the deadly principles of the Protestants. Many know You but… flee from You or… have abandoned You and now sink in the mud of immorality ! Well, then, O Queen, in this dear day of Your feast, we wish You with all our hearts and souls that You might take possession as quickly as possible and completely of our hearts and the hearts of all and of everyone in particluar without exception, be they Catholic, schismatic or Protestant, Jew or pagan, good or evil. O reign over all of us and in all of us, poor inhabitants of this terrestrial globe that flies through space in the heavens (…) We, for our part, accompanying our wishes with our work and paying personally the price of our efforts, our goods, our health, our reputation and our life, and with Your powerful help (for alone we can do nothing) we will liberate for You the maximum number possible of souls from the slavery of the devil, of the world and of the flesh and, having been made happy, we wll offer them to You as Your property, until we will meet with You, little Mother, in Paradise… (SK 1037 Rycerz Niepokalanej, September, 1923)

The Immaculate will conquer, through us, the whole world and every single soul. (SK 556 8/2/1934) Fr. Kolbe ardently desired the spreading of the faith (…) He said that the world must come back to God and that this had to happen through the Immaculate. (PSV II, p. 54) He had at heart the conversion of everyone, especially heretics, schismatics and Freemasons (…) He took advantage of every occasion : in the train he would begin to speak about Our Lord and Our Lady. To us it seemed almost indiscreet, but in the meantime he attained his end. (PSV II, p. 19, Fr. Cyril Kita, classmate at Rome) The diffusion of the Catholic faith and the conversion of heretics and those in error constituted the essential point of his life. (PSV II, p. 61, Fr. Joseph Palatucci, classmate at Rome)

At the top [of the friary] there is a statue of the Immaculate that reigns over all this purely pagan suburb of Hongochi. The pagans who pass by on the public road look at it, but She also looks and attracts them. Thus a little while ago a pagan woman in despair was making her way to the nearest lake to drown herself, but she was drawn by the goodness of the Immaculate and looking at Her statue came and rang our bell. Now she is with a Christian family and is studying catechism. (SK 487 28/2/1933)

In the month of May we celebrated the second anniversary of our arrival in Nagasaki. During the meal there was sitting beside me a young man by the name of Amaki who was converted with us. We were speaking of how the Immaculate guided us and planted us in Japan in Nagasaki. Then the young man said : "Anata gata kimasen deshitara, watakushi wa mata shinja ni naranakatta desho", that is : "If you had not come, I would still be pagan". There was such sincerity and gratitude in these words, towards the Immaculate and ourselves, Her instruments, that even involuntarily the thought came into one's mind that even if no one else converted besides this young man, it was worth it to undertake all the past toils and bear all the sacrifices endured and also much, much more, because here what was at stake was a soul. (SK 1266 February, 1933)

During the first three months of this year the Japanese Kishi has "fished" for God through the Immaculate a good 36 souls and has directed them to their respective missionary parishes. These souls are already more or less predisposed to the faith : glory to the Immaculate ! (SK 668 24/4/1936) There are so many souls here that don't even know who Jesus and Mary are. Some days ago when I asked someone who had come to see us if they knew who Jesus and Mary are he responded : "kikimasen deshita", that is "I haven't heard (of them)". (SK 465 15/11/1932) * [1370]

ECUMENISM He speaks of a certain Japanese philosopher, Nishida Tenko, called "the Japanese St. Francis" who established a sort of village where his disciples lived and published a revue which spoke quite favorably of Mugenzai no Sono. Mr. Tenko came to visit the friary and Fr. Kolbe returned the visit :
I was received very cordially, he writes in an article about it. On one point, however, we did not manage to agree because of the fact that I obstinately maintained that the truth cannot be anything but unique and, consequently, that there can be only one true religion. Five years have gone by since. They send their revue to us regularly and we send them the Kishi. Some months ago on the train (… I met) one of the collaborators of Nishida Tenko. We exchanged mutual questions and responses about health, our activities and so on and at the end we touched again on the question of religion. "You must certainly look down on us, considering us to be inferior beings" he said to me.

"No, absolutely not, I appreciate and respect all those who seek the truth but… the truth is always and only one." "On the little table of Mr. Nishida Tenko there is always the little statue of the Immaculate that you sent us." We had by this time arrived at the station where he had to get off, so we interrupted our conversation and said goodbye. Nonetheless, the news that the Immaculate, from Her little statue, turns Her look upon the founder of that village consoled me very much. (SK 1206 Rycerz Niepokalanej April, 1936)

A note of the editor informs us that Mr. Tenko died February 29, 1968 at the age of 96 and that before dying he was baptized by a Conventual Franciscan priest .
1

Over and over again we see in his journal and his writings that when he discussed religion with non-Catholics, the first point he tried to make with them was that there can be only one true religion. To give just one example, he writes to his provincial from Japan :
During these days three pagan bonzes visited us and we discussed a long time about religion. They agreed that there can be only one true religion ; moreover they were not at all capable of demolishing the divinity of Jesus. May the Immaculate obtain grace for them. (SK 458 26/10/1932)

This is obviously not the sort of dialogue in vogue since Vatican II ! Similarly, just after his return to Poland after ordination, he recounts a conversation with a Jew on the train to one of his colleagues at Rome :
I didn't tell you yet about a discussion I had on the train between Roma and Bologna with a Jew about the Catholic religion : that the Messiah has come, that this Messiah is Jesus Christ, that Blessed Mary is a virgin, etc. At the end he promised to wear the miraculous medal that he had received from me, asked me to pray for him and, according to what I had advised him, said also that from that day he would pray the Blessed Virgin Mary so that, if she is Immaculate and the Mother of God, she convert him. (…) Here is his name and address. (SK 29 25/9/1919)

His attitude towards Protestants was equally "intolerant", as a letter to his brother Fr. Alphonsus shows :
Several occasions have presented themselves to me to act as a member of the M.I. : in conversation and in action ; for example, during the trip to Zakopane I tore down a poster of the independents of America [i.e. Protestants] that was glued on the window of the train. I tore it up and threw it out the window. (SK 45 10/9/1920)

This is not exactly what Dignitatis humanae teaches — and the poor editors of the Scritti are at times obliged to add some corrective notes. In particular there is one text where Fr. Kolbe laces into all the Protestant and Orthodox sects, explaining that they were caused by the sins and vices of their founders ("the drunkard Michael III, Bardas", "Martin Luther (…) breaks his vows and pulls a religious from her convent to marry her", "Henry VIII (…) who changed wives as if they were gloves") and says :
These,then, are the origins of the schisms from the Church of Christ. (SK 1131 Rycerz Niepokalanej
1

— SK 357 4/8/1931 n. 2.

September, 1926)

This is really too much and the editor can't help but intervene in a note and say :
The causes of the schisms of the Church are certainly much more complex and articulated. The ecumenical movement has permitted, in the last decades, to consider the historical facts to which Fr. Maximilian alludes, with a greater critical serenity and objectivity than in the past 1.

But Fr. Maximilian doesn't mince his words when it comes to Protestantism. He concludes, for example, a letter to an association in Poland to help missionaries saying :
It suffices to walk down the street and see the pagans who pass by in order to inflame one's zeal for the salvation of these poor souls who so often go looking for the truth and fall, getting trapped by the loud Protestant propaganda. (SK 393 5/2/1932)

And to a letter to Niepokalanów he adds a PS suggesting that some of the Brothers who have returned from Japan try to gather addresses for the Kishi of Japanese who pass through Poland to Germany because, he says,
These poor people get infected by Protestantism. (SK 437 11/6/1932)

And to Fr. Koziura he writes :
The Protestants are presently organizing in Japan a three-year plan of propaganda and they have allocated for this purpose a sum of 30,000 yen. We cannot compete with them, nonetheless with the help of the Immaculate will be printed 25.000 copies of the December issue of the Kishi, while they have the intention to print 20,000 copies of their periodical (which is perhaps a weekly). Glory to the Immaculate ! (SK 299 9/12/1930)

To combat this propaganda, in the Kishi he writes articles explaining, using Scripture, that there is only one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, built on Peter and his successors the popes.
Therefore, he concludes, the other Churches, built outside of this rock are not at all the true Church of Christ. (SK 1200 Mugenzai no Seibo no Kishi September, 1935) 2
[2441]

1

— Ibid. n. 1. In the new edition this note is reduced to a single phrase a little less strident : "The causes of the schisms in the Church are more complex and articulated and involve also political, social, juridical, economic and also ecclesiastical aspects". 2 — Cf also SK 1038 where he explains again that "every other church not founded on this rock (…) will never be the Church of Christ". Obviously Fr. Kolbe would never have accepted the subtle theory of "subsistit in" !

Obedience
Obedience is a very important virtue in the spirituality of Fr. Kolbe, one could even say that is the key virtue. [Fr. Ricciardi says etc.cf beginning of "Life"] The reason for this is certainly the fact that the basis of his whole life was his consecration to our Lady, which consecration consists essentially in the union of our will with her will, and this will is known, precisely, by obedience. Let us look at some texts which illustrate this and show us his teaching about obedience and how he put this teaching into practice. We can start with the idea of the consecration to the Immaculate, since this is the basis of everything for him. He writes to some Brothers at Niepokalanów :
Let us not forget that the essence and the perfection of our consecration are neither the sentiment nor the memory but the will. Therefore, in the case where one doesn't experience at all the sweetness of intimate familiarity with Her (although commonly it is the opposite) and one is incapable of remembering Her and thinking for a long time about Her for whatever reason, if his will remains beside Her, if he does not revoke his consecration, but on the contrary, as far as he can renews it, then let him be at peace, because She reigns in his heart. And the will, we can control it easily. Let us be careful only to conform it always more perfectly to Her will and accomplish this will of Hers always more perfectly. This is everything. (SK 605 10/11/1934)

Similarly he writes in an article in the Knight :
Let us imagine that we are the brush in the hand of an infinitely perfect painter. What must the brush do in order that the painting be as beautiful as possible ? It must let itself be guided as perfectly as possible (…) By the act of consecration we have offered ourselves to the Immaculate as Her absolute property. Without doubt She is the most perfect instrument in the hands of God, while we, for our part, must be instruments in Her immaculate hands. When, then, will we combat against the evil in the entire world in the most rapid and perfect manner ? When we let ourselves be guided by Her in the most perfect way. This is the most important thing, the only important thing. I said : "The only important thing". In all truth, each of us must occupy himself solely at harmonising, conforming, melting, as it were, completely his own will with the Will of the Immaculate, just as Her will is completely united to the Will of God, Her Heart to the Heart of Her Son Jesus. (SK 1160 Rycerz Niepokalanej, May, 1932)

And again, to his Brothers :
Let us try hard all day to accomplish Her will. Let us offer the key of the bastion of our will to Her so that She might conquer it to Herself as quickly as possible and then, through us, She will conquer others. (K 37, n. 5 26/6/1936)

We could go on citing many texts on this point : for Fr. Kolbe "everything", "the only important thing" is the union of our will to the Immaculate. But how do we know what that will is ? He tells his

Brothers in a conference :
How can we know that the Holy Mother is asking something from us ? (…) How must we know where is revealed to us the divine will, the will of the Immaculate ? In holy obedience. Our Lord Himself, although He was infinite Wisdom did not choose for Himself any other way but obedience. He, being God, knew much better than the Holy Mother how to do this or that thing, but nevertheless He was obedient (to Her), because He saw in this the will of the Father. (K 31 28/8/1933)

And again, in another conference :
Often we forget about the practical offering of ourselves to the Immaculate. What does this practical offering consist in ? In the accomplishment of Her Will. In the union of our will to Her Will, as Her Will is immersed in God's Will. We know that the Will of God is made known to us in supernatural obedience. This is, as spiritual writers say, a sort of mystery of the faith. (K 167 1/5/1938)

In a conference he gave to seminarians of his Order in Cracow just after his return from Rome he developes this point at length.
We are an instrument in the most loving hands of the Immaculate and only in this way can we attain our ultimate end : the glory of God, not just a greater glory but the greatest glory possible. All our sollicitude, therefore, must be : let ourselves be led, so that we do nothing according to our own ideas, but everything that She desires and as She pleases. But from what source will we know the Will of our Queen, of our Leader ? On this earth there is only one sure way : holy obedience to the representatives of God, whose will is everything that the Immaculate desires, with this difference, however (if humanly we can express ourselves in this way), namely that God directs everything according to justice while the Most Holy Virgin, precisely because of the fact that She has been given to us as a Mother, can shelter us, nullifying the blows of justice, under Her maternal mantle of mercy. This is why St. Bernard also affirms that God has reserved for Himself the economy of justice, while he has confided mercy to the Most Holy Virgin Mary.

He explains this point again in a letter to Fr. Koziura, Guardian of Niepokalanów :
I underline repeatedly the "Will of the Immaculate" because we are consecrated to her without limits, therefore She directs us. But, if one can put it thus, the Will of God and the Will of the Immaculate are not exactly the same thing, because the Will of the Immaculate is the will, not of the justice, but of the mercy of God, of which the Immaculate is the personification. We, then, in so far as we are instruments in her hand, are at the service not of the justice that punishes but of conversion and sanctification, which are the effect of grace — and therefore of the mercy of God — and they pass through the hands of the Mediatrix of all graces. Consequently, as She is a most perfect instrument in the hand of God, in the hand of divine mercy, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, thus we are an instrument in her hand. And thus, through Her, we are an instrument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is of the mercy of God. Therefore our motto is : "through the Immaculate to the Heart of Jesus" (SK 339 29/4/1931)

He goes on in the conference we were citing :
Moreover, sometimes we can know Her intentions also by means of interior inspirations, but alone we

are almost never capable of being sure whether they come from Her or from our self-love or from Satan who, with the splendour of an angel, can sometimes insinuate things that are even very holy in themselves but which would be good for someone else, while God can not want that particular thing from us. Even if the Most Holy Virgin Mary in person appeared to us and confided us the most sublime mission, how woul we be sure that it is truly She who is speaking to us and not some illusion or deception of the devil ? (…) So also in this case the most sure proof is obedience, that is the manifestion of what we think to the superior in the appropriate forum, either internal or external, and the blind execution of his commands. If he forbids, but the Immaculate wills something, then, as in the manifestation of the miraculous medal, She will know how to attain her goal. Sometimes, nonetheless, God permits such obstacles precisely in order to consolidate his work ; but if the inspiration does not come from Her, let it be gone ! Therefore not only through the orders of superiors, but also through their authorization to put into practice interior inspirations, we come to know the commands of our Queen. Our whole life, each thought, word and action are in Her hands : may She direct everything as She pleases. (SK 1248 15/11/1919) 1

He speaks of this fundamental point very often and helps his Brothers understand it. For example :
Obedience, then — this is the consecration to the Immaculate — accomplish it as She Herself desires of us. (…) Let us deepen in ourselves every day (the knowledge) of this truth by spiritual reading, by mediation, by conversations during recreation and especially in practice in our lives, in order to unite our will to the will of the Immaculate and by Her will sanctify our will. (K 31 28/8/1933) The Immaculate often, to increase our merit, veils the horizon to us with clouds of discouragement, doubt, worry etc. If the will does not give in to these thoughts, even if they last a long time, then we approach closer to the Immaculate. Everything depends on this, that at every instant, in every circumstance we let Her lead us. The test of this is obedience. (…) We must be careful that there be no conflict between Her will and ours. We have offered Her everything — therefore whatever is ours is Her property and Her affairs are ours. Her virtues, her merits are ours. Everything depends on this : how we will. Extraordinary prayers and mortifications aren't necessary, but just : let oneself be led." (K 41 5/7/1936)

This does not at all mean that we must be passive : on the contrary, as he explains again to his Brothers :
We must execute our obedience willingly and with joy, in order to prove that we have truly consecrated ourselves to the Immaculate, and not be like "one who has to be pushed" : [who says :] "there where they put me, there will I stay". Rather we must add energy and effort on our part in order to execute in the best
1

— [He goes on to say that it is only by obedience that we can be strong enough to resist all the obstacles that will present themselves against the works of God : " Nonetheless there will be difficulties and adversities to overcome. Every good thing that has happened on this earth, in fact, the more it has been grand and good, the greater have been the difficulties encountered. … Upon what foundation must one base oneself in such cases ? In order that a foundation be unshakeable it must have something stable, immutable, in a word something divine, which for us is uniquely holy, blind obedience to the Immaculate, who manifests Her own will through the superiors. Placed upon such a foundation, then, we will not fear any storm. All the wicked and all the good will rise up against us by word and by action, the body will languish, weighed down by fatigue, the intellect will be obscured, the will will waver and become discouraged, within and without everything will conspire against us, hell will be enraged with all its fury, the entire world will be turned upside down and everything in it will be in turmoil, but we will despise all that, not trusting in ourselves at all but without limits in God through the Immaculate, we will be sure that we are acting in Her omnipotent hands. This is truly and uniquely the rock of granite against which all the foaming waves will break. (…) All these adversities are very useful, necessary and even indispensable, because they clarify the whole cause, fortify and habituate the will to fatigue and become fountains of merits for heaven."]

way the task confided to us. (K 31 28/8/1933) We must all let ourselves be directed, but we ourselves must go forward — like an automobile. No one pushes the automobile from behind. If the Immaculate commands to work here — then we must put all our energy, enthusiasm, and talent into it ; if She commands us to rest — then rest ; or go to recreation — then go to recreation. A soul who fulfills this perfectly does very much for the cause of the Immaculate. (K 84 16/6/1937)

He often uses examples like this to get across his point, as, for example, in another conference where he says :
If someone were to ask a soldier what he must do in war to do the most for his country he would answer that it would be by obeying in the most perfect way his commander. If he orders to fight, then fight, if not, then not : if he orders to march, then march, if quickly, then quickly — if to the rear, then to the rear. For what would happen if a soldier, who doesn't always know the plan of the commander, began to act on his own and open fire, when he must remain silent and hidden or march forward when he must retreat. And what is more : the difference between the scope of the military knowledge of a soldier and his leader is limited and his leader can make errors. The will of God, however, is infinite and infallible. (…) He, then, who perfectly accomplishes the will of God does something infinitely great for the happiness of souls. And this is the most perfect way because Jesus Himself showed us this way. If there had been another more perfect He would have certainly shown us that way. Behold, for thirty years he was obedient to the Most Holy Mother and St. Joseph and He said that He always fulfills the will of His Father (Jn 8 : 29). (K 70 18/4/1937)

He often emphasizes that our obedience must be supernatural, as in a conference to his Brothers that the editors have entitled : "The perfection of obedience is the perfection of the love of the Immaculate".
One of the Brothers wrote me and asked me to write back to him and tell him how I love the Immaculate because he wants to love Her in the same way. (…) I [recently] said that the perfection of obedience is the essence of love 1. What does that depend on ? On sentiment perhaps ? Sentiment isn't the essential thing. Sentiment is a passing thing. It can even be or not be. Love does not depend on sentiment. We mustn't be worried if it is absent (…) Often sentiment is taken for love. If it is a matter of love for the Immaculate one can permit oneself a lot (of sentiment). Sentiment, then, also is good. However, above all is the perfection of obedience, the fusion of our will with Her will. It is necessary to deepen always this supernatural obedience. We easily confound supernatural obedience and natural obedience. Often a soul is persuaded that she is supernaturally obedient when in fact it is shown that she is naturally obedient. How can we know when obedience is supernatural ? Let us consider some examples : a Jew will obey when what is said is wise and to his profit ; an infidel when what is said is in accord with his convictions ; someone else, again, will obey because he will be praised for doing so. To obey in this way, even a pagan can do.
1

— In another conference he says, for example : "The fulfillment of the will of God is love and love is the essence of sanctity. Merit and the essence of sanctity, then, is not in mortification, nor in prayer, nor in work, nor in rest but only in obedience." (K 35 23/4/1936)

In order that obedience be supernatural it must not proceed from reason but from faith. Holy Scripture says : "My just one shall live by faith" (Rm 1 : 17). The distance between faith and reason is infinite. The supernatural order is founded on faith. The soul, then, who bases itself on faith does infinitely more than a soul based on reason. It follows then, that if we want our work for the conquest of souls to bear fruit, we must conform ourselves more to the Will of God, or, in our language, to the Will of the Immaculate. When can we be sure that our obedience is supernatural ? When in our obedience there are less natural motives. When our superior isn't perfect and perhaps is even disagreeable and if then we accomplish the order with the same contentment as if it proceeded from a virtuous and wise man, then our obedience is supernatural. If, instead, the opposite is true, then there is room for much improvement. (…) The perfection of obedience, then, is the perfection of love for the Immaculate. If, in spite of disagreeable feelings, or a lack of sentiment, we receive the order with the same contentment, then our obedience is perfect and one can say that it is supernatural obedience. If one thinks otherwise, if one is of another opinion, but one goes against this, then there is supernatural obedience. This doesn't mean that one must not give one's reasons when there is a need. If someone neglected to give his reasons that would not be a perfection. On the contrary, then, one can and must give one's reasons. It is simply a matter of the fact that both on the side of the inferior and on the side of the superior there be the liberty to speak. The fact of giving one's reason from one's side is not an imperfection of obedience. Nevertheless, if the superior considers the reasons and, nonetheless, commands that the order be accomplished, one must leave aside one's reasons and do what obedience commands. The more we follow this road of supernatural obedience, the more the Immaculate will be able to direct us. Let us deepen, then, the perfection of supernatural obedience. (K 169 7/5/1938)

To his Brothers in Japan, just before leaving on a trip to India to explore the possibilities of founding a new Niepokalanów there, he gives a long conference on obedience.
Since I am going to leave, I would like to leave you something, but what ? What you already know, what I have already spoken to you about, holy obedience, the unique means of sanctification, the unique end towards we must aim ; obedience, the union of our will with the will of God is the essence of sanctity. Supernatural obedience : not because that which is ordered is reasonable or unreasonable, agreeable or disagreeable, but because it is the will of God, we obey because of that and only because of that. It happens also that we are obedient because that which is ordered is truly opportune and prudent, so even though we feel a certain repugnance in executing it, since it is prudent and precisely what we think [ourselves], we do it : such an obedience is not religious obedience. One must be so disposed that even if our reason were to say exactly the opposite, even if the order is not intelligent and illogical — one can always gives one's reasons, of course, because often the superiors don't know everything —but when we have given our reasons if, in spite of that, we are told to do what had been ordered, then we must blindly obey. In obedience one must not just obey exteriorly but be convinced with one's whole being that what is commanded me is certainly the will of God and if I willingly do what is ordered but interiorly, in my heart, am convinced otherwise, that obedience would have no merit. In obeying let us remember that if Our Lord Himself were in our place He could do nothing more perfect than to be obedient. In obeying our superiors we act with a power that is infinite, with a wisdom that is

infinite, because it is divine. Before such a power, how can we resist ? Thus it is not surprising that people are amazed and cannot understand how our work developes, they are incapable of understanding how this happens. But we know perfectly well that everything works through obedience and that it is not surprising that there are results since it is the Lord God Himself who is working 1. And what should we do when we don't have the strength for the execution of what obedience commands ? Prayer, then, fervent, heartfelt prayer to the Most Holy Mother, even if it just be by the short invocation "Mary", and She will understand what we want to say, She will give strength to carry out [what is commanded], we must have recourse to Her like a child to his mother. When we fall, let us turn to the Immaculate, and she will lift us up, She will give us strength for the combat to come. Let us have complete confidence in Her, dear Brothers, let us let ourselves be led by Her and She will surely lead us to the happiness of heaven. (…) Someone might think that [I speak] too often about obedience, but what can be done when there is no other way to sanctify oneself than by fulfilling the will of God ? And even if someone were to perform I don't know what virtues, if there wasn't obedience, all that would be useless. (K 8 29/5/1932)

Fr. Kolbe obviously considered as very important this idea of what he calls "blind obedience" because he comes back to it constantly. What he means by this is not that we should renounce our intelligence and our judgment (and even less that we should blindly accept to do something against faith or morals under the pretext that someone commands it ) for he is careful to say that we can always give
2

our reasons" if it seems right to do so. What he means is simply that our motive in obeying must be supernatural and based on faith, not on reason : we obey because of the authority of God in our superior not because what is commanded is agreeable or seems good to us. Thus in another conference he says :
We must let ourselves be led by Her. The closer our union with Her will be, the better will be the fruits. So let us strive for this one thing, that we be Hers more and more. It isn't a matter here of strength of will, or fortitude, it is a matter of this, that She reign in us more and more, more and more delicately, so that we do not want to know why something is thus and not otherwise, so that for us are sufficient the words : She wills it. A priest was telling me how, during a retreat of the Province, the superior, in sending him to another friary, explained to him the motives for doing so (this priest was already an old man) in order to lessen the sadness occasioned by the move. This priest, however, stopped him, in order not to lose the merit of obedience. The soul who loves the Immaculate doesn't want to know reasons. It is enough for it that the Immaculate wills it so through the superiors. (…) It is a matter of this, that She reign within us. We must pray for this supernatural love of Her. (K 286 22/10/1940) 3 * [3604]
1 2

— [Story about priest who looks back and sees that what he did "in his own" ended up disappearing after a few years.] — He says this explicitly, for example, in a letter to his brother : "Love manifests itself through the realization of the Will of God, which is revealed to us through the will of the superiors, as long as this not be openly and certainly contrary to the law of God (explicitly or implicitly) — indeed, there exists also a subordination of laws and superiors". (SK 51 7/10/1920) 3 — ["Ce ne sont pas les hommes qui font les choses mais bien Dieu qui connaît mieux que nous ce qui nous convient et qui arrange tout pour notre bien" (St. Jean de la Croix à la fin de sa vie en réponse à ceux qui s'indignaient de la façon dont ses supérieurs le traitaient]

So much, then, for his teaching on obedience. What about his practice of this virtue ? If he spoke about it so much and so well, we would expect that he exhibited it in a particularly exemplary fashion, and, in fact, that is precisely what all the witnesses at the process for his canonization testified. We have already seen many examples in his life, and will see more, but we can add a few specific ones here as well. For example Bishop Gawlina gave the following testimony at the process :
One time a politic prelate who was responsible for watching over the press, managed to influence a bishop in a sinister manner against Fr. Kolbe. Both of them came to Niepokalanów and informed Fr. Kolbe that his daily newspaper "Maly Dziennik" was to fall under their direction, this having been decided by the Episcopal Commission for the press. Fr. Kolbe received this news with great respect and asked for a prorogation of the execution of the order. In the meantime he came to see me and asked me if this corresponded to the truth, that is, that the Episcopal Commission had decided this, showing himself ready to execute the order. I responded that it wasn't true but rather an arbitary decision of the Prelate. Moreover I counseled him to report all of this to the Apostolic Nuncio, who sustained the rights of the religious. And thus Fr. Kolbe continued his work. In this whole episode Fr. Kolbe didn't manifest any resentment or aversion for the persons who were trying to take over his newspaper for their political ends 1.

Fr. Pal, his companion at the seminary in Rome and his lifelong friend, testifies :
He was extremely observant (observatissimo) even of the smallest prescriptions of the Rule, of the regulations and at the smallest sign of the Superior and of the bell he went immediately and in silence there where obedience called him ; he cut himself off in the middle of a word and promptly left the person he was speaking with, even if they were important people, as he did once, in my presence with Bishop Jaquet. (PSV II, p. 820)

We see Fr. Kolbe putting into practice his teaching on detachment in a letter to a priest in Nagasaki shortly after his definitive return from the mission to Poland in July 1936 :
In your letter (…) you write that the Japanese were displeased to know that "Fr. Korube" didn't come back. Reassure them, dear Father, that it was the Immaculate Herself who disposed things in this way because I had no desire at all to leave Mugenzai no Sono, on the contrary I desired to leave my bones there at the foundation of the mission, but (…) my will was not done but that of the Immaculate. (…) From the beginning, in fact, even before the Chapter, I had manifested to Most Reverend Fr. Provincial my disponibility to return to Mugenzai no Sono, nonetheless the Immaculate had other plans. I still don't understand them completely, but little by little, according as it is necessary for me to act. (SK 687 11/11/1936)

On this same topic he writes the new superior in Japan :
I recall with pleasure the activity in missionary territory : moreover I desired to leave my bones there as a foundation to stabilize the outpost, but the Will of the Immaculate is over everything, even over
1

—PSV II, p. 79-80, Bishop Joseph Gawlina. The same bishop witnesses : "My first impression of Fr. Kolbe was very favourable, because I saw him with a smile on his lips, in a very humble attitude, meek, speaking little and in a low voice. (…) When I visited Niepokalanów I was able to observe that Fr. Kolbe sought not to show himself off as superior, but rather to remain on a lower level, so much so that the first time he gave me a tour of the friary, accompanied by a confrère, I thought that it wasn't he who was the superior but the other Brother." (Ibid. p. 78)

missionary activity. (SK 688 11/11/1936)

Several times also we see Fr. Kolbe giving the example of "giving his reasons" to his superiors, but remaining completely disposed to accept their decision. He writes, for example, to his provincial :
As for the noviciate, I will say frankly what I think, which is that it would be a very good thing the Fr. George come [to Niepokalanów] with the novices (…)

And he goes on to give all the reasons why. But then he concludes :
I am very afraid to be an obstacle to the Immaculate with my letters, when I only want to know and accomplish the Will of the Immaculate and not impose my own will. Therefore I insistently pray you, Most Reverend Father Provincial, not to take into account at all my will and to consider with all liberty my arguments written only as ideas or thoughts that I am just presenting ; nontheless, I want to accept with equal satisfaction your "yes" or your "no" to them, because in holy Obedience alone is the Will of the Immaculate. For my part, I will continue to write with all frankness, since this is your will, Most Reverend Father Provincial, and therefore the Will also of the Immaculate. (SK 34O 30/4/1931)

Sometimes, it is true, his missionary zeal gives his "reasons" rather pointedly, as in the following case. He had spent great efforts in trying to establish a new Niepokalanów in India, and thanks to these efforts and, as he thought at least, the grace of God, he had managed to have everything prepared to do so. All that was wanting was the approval of the superiors but, at the last minute, they decide to suspend the project. He writes to the Superior-General in Rome who took this decision :
I have heard that the cause of the « Immaculatum » in India is to be suspended. I don't know, however, whether it is known to you that after I reported to Fr. Provincial (…) that you told me that you were not opposed to the acceptation of Amalam (the Indian « Immaculatum » ), that it is something for the Province to decide, and that, however, we can't separate acceptation from occupation, Fr. Provincial decided to fulfill the condition of occupation, but seeing that the former Archbishop had died, made me ask if his successor did not have a different opinion about the matter. (…) After having made the official steps of asking the consent [of the bishop] by the Province, (…) the granting of the consent by the Ordinary, and then, after again a long delay, once again a query about whether the Ordinary had not changed his favourable disposition towards us, and having received that he hadn't (…) we were to say no, what will the Archbishop and his counsel think of us, of our Order ? It seems to me that it would be not a little compromising for the Order. I write as I think, because you told me to say clearly what I think. (…) May the Immaculate Herself direct everything for the good of the poor pagans. (SK 595 12/7/1934)

But his much more usual tone was as in the following passage of a letter, again, to his provincial in which he had given his opinion on a number of important matters :
P.S. A very important thing : I insistently implore you, Most Reverend Father Provincial, do not pay any attention to these scribblings of mine, if you so judge opportune, because I am very afraid of influencing in anything in a determining manner, to exercise pressure, when I want that the Will of the Immaculate alone be done completely. I write and I will write freely, but I conjure you, Most Reverend Father Provincial, not any less freely not to pay any 1 attention to my projects if you consider things in a different way. I will be
1

— The word "any" is underlined six times.

equally content 1. (SK 395 19/2/1932)

Fr. Rosenbaiger, another confrère, gives the following testimony :
He not only obeyed the will of the superiors but sought after it. (…) He never tried to elude obedience. (PSV II, p. 5)

Another witness, a Brother from Niepokalanów, gives a perfect example of this, and adds a detail that reveals that Fr. Maximilian's death was, in fact, a direct result of his obedience and, in a way, its crown.
When in 1939 the Conventual Francisans of Poland divided into two provinces and our authority took up residence in Warsaw, Fr. Maximilian rejoiced saying that now it would be easier to know the Will of God because Fr. Provincial would reside so near Niepokalanów. I heard from the Brothers in Niepokalanów that in 1940 it was already practically certain that Fr. Maximilian would be arrested by the Gestapo. In the beginning, Fr. Maximilian wanted to hide somewhere in order to let the danger pass, but he didn't want to decide alone. He addressed himself to Warsaw to the Father Provincial, asking him his opinion. Fr. Provincial responded that it would be better if he stayed at Niepokalanów. This sufficed so that Fr. Maximilian abandoned any idea of leaving although shortly after he was, indeed, arrested. (PSV II, p. 152)

[Authority is necessary : man is a social animal (priest≠"home aloner"+ survivalists, americanitis)] *** [5063]

Appendix : Fr. Kolbe as a superior
As a superior he was strict but very paternal. In the process of canonization the Promotor of the Faith (the so-called "devil's advocate") tried to accuse Fr. Kolbe of being excessively strict, but the Postulator of the cause easily responded by citing two witnesses, firstly Fr. Morochna who said :
He was certainly very strict (strictissimus) in the observation of laws, but he always treated the Brothers with great charity. All of us said that not even our parents could have treated us with such great love 2.

Another, Br. Gerard, affirms :
In his government he was very meek and mild, in such a way that I felt him to be a better father than my own father. But he was not indulgent to his subjects and led them by a strict regime 3.

Fr. Kolbe himself speaks of this paternity in a letter written to his community in Nagasaki during a
1

— Fr. Maximilian feared in general to do his own will, even when with regard to his inferiors, as one of his Brothers witnessed at the process : "The Servant of God feared very much above all else his own will. For this reason even in small things he often asked counsel of the Brothers and from those in charge of certain sections. Very often he would ask me what he should do in such or such a case." (PSV II, p. 661) 2 — Nova Positio super Virtutibus, Roma, 1967, Responsio ad Animadversiones RR. PP. Suffragatorum, p. 76. 3 — Ibid.

short abscence :
My dear sons ! For love of the Immaculate I renounced having a family and sons according to the flesh, but the Immaculate, who never lets Herself be surpassed in generosity, granted me a great number of sons, because all of you, who have consecrated your entire life and eternity to the Immaculate, are spiritual sons and She has made me your spiritual father. And believe me : she has communicated to me such a tenderness and such a love for all of you (both here in Japan and also in Poland), truly similar to the tenderness of a father and a mother for their beloved son. (…) But you will recognize immediately that I would not be for you, my dear sons, an authentic spiritual father, if before everything else and above all I did not take care of your souls ; do not then promise yourselves at all to find joy at every step, since I would [then] be your spiritual traitor, but rather — according to the method used even by a saint like St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus 1 — I will do all I can not to be indulgent, but to deprive you of your own will and bury it completely, so that you might live only and exclusively by the Will of the Immaculate. (SK 329 17/3/1931)

One can sense this paternal, or even maternal affection in the following letter written during his trip back to Poland in 1936 to the priest in charge of the community during the abscence of Fr. Czupryk and Fr. Kolbe :
Be very careful that the Brothers don't work in the sun without wearing hats, especially those who suffer more from such things (as, for example, Br. Celestine). Also don't let Br. Romuald get too tired (…) He should go as rarely as possible into the city (…) and sleep a lot in order to conserve longer his capacity to work. He is a brother of gold. (SK 674a 25/5/1936)

In one of his conferences at Niepokalanów he gives a long instruction to those who are in positions of authority in the community which merits to be quoted at length.
Superiors. Our holy Rule says that superiors must be the servants of all the other Brothers. It doesn't say that they must be princes, as is the custom in the world, but just servants, that is instruments (… 2) in the communication of the will of the Immaculate. They must distribute Her will alone to the inferior Brothers and ensure, at the same time, that the Spirit of God flourishes in all its fullness and that the will of the Immaculate be accomplished as conscientiously as possible. They must, therefore, diligently take care that in their orders and instructions there not be felt anything of distant, absolute superiority. For by nature men are inclined to this and even without realizing it they deviate from the right road. An absolute equality must be the mark of all of us, because in the eyes of the infinite God we are all equal, and only our functions, like roles played in a piece of theatre, are different. Greatness before God is not measured by our occupations, or dignities, or functions but uniquely by virtue and by the most faithful fulfillment of the will of God that has been assigned to each by holy obedience. The duty of a superior, however, is to watch over the religious spirit ; whenever he remarks a fault in religious observance, he must intervene with all firmness so that the will of the Immaculate be observed everywhere. If the admonitions of the superior have no effect and the fault is repeated again, then he has
1

— When asked, during the process of canonization of her sister Thérèse, if there were any faults she might accuse her of, she responded that perhaps she had been too severe with the novices. 2 — and, as it were "szafarzami" ? [ szafarz = "sommelier" ? ; szafarzka = femme de menage]

the duty to report it to a higher authority. No one can say to himself : "I can't do anything about it" or "What difference does that make to me ?" or "My admonitions don't do any good", for in that case all the later harmful subsequent effects will fall on the conscience of this superior and he will have to give a rigourous account to God for them. A recommendation for superiors : superiors must be sure to pray for their inferiors and ask grace for themselves and for them 1. By charity and goodness, by firmness and gentleness, let them strive to inspire them and bring them closer to the Immaculate 2. Each person must answer to God, but the superiors must also answer for their subjects. "Woe to the dogs who do not bark" (Is : 56 : 10) says Holy Scripture. Superiors, then, must watch over their subjects as a dog watches over sheep. Woe to him who must bark if he doesn't bark. This truly is a very unpleasant duty and often difficult, but one mustn't neglect it. Here there is need for much tact and prayer so that the Immaculate might teach us how to do it. Certain Brothers who are superiors would like to liberate themselves from the duty of being a superior, imposed on them by holy obedience. This is completely legitimate and entirely justified. For the more one understands the responsibility before God in the exercise of superiority, the more apprehension and fear arise in one's soul. Nevertheless here also one must conform oneself to the superiors. If it is the will of the Immaculate that we fulfill the duty of being a superior in a certain sector, we must accept it with great peace and willingly bear the weight of it ; the instant it is put on our shoulders by holy obedience God always accords also the grace necessary (to carry it). (K 53 16/10/1936)

A Brother gives the following witness of Fr. Maximilian's disponibility as a superior :
When he fell sick [once] and some Brothers hung a sign on his door asking people to stay out and let him get some rest, he discovered the sign and handed it to someone saying : "Take this away, please ; anybody can come to me any hour of the night or day always : I belong to them" 3.

* One last word on obedience : some advice he gives in a letter to a cleric in Nagasaki, a former student. He writes :
If it is permitted to add some words, I would propose two things : 1) obedience, that is the easiest, shortest and most sure way to sanctity ; more, supernatural
1

— Fr. Kolbe, as superior, asked his subjects to pray for him as well, as in this letter to his Brothers at Niepokalanów : "Pray often for me, that I as well might let myself be led by the Immaculate and succeed in guiding you, dear Brothers, to Her, according to Her Will". (SK 748 14/10/1937) 2 — A Brother witnesses about Fr. Kolbe's way of acting in this way : "The characteristic trait of Fr. Maximilian was to admonish, to beg, to exhort — but not to punish. He succeeded in having all the friars willing to try to keep all the precepts of the Rule because of his goodness and fatherly care" (Treece, Patricia, A Man for Others : Maximilian Kolbe Saint of Auschwitz in the Words of Those Who Knew Him, Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1982, p. 41). Another Brother adds : "If a friar couldn't handle his duties, Fr. Maximilian listened with kindness to his difficulties and took account of his problems. He was not just human but indulgent in such matters" (Ibid.). Another Brother witnesses on this point : "In practical matters, the Servant of God was very comprehensive and delicate, and it was rare that he refused what was asked for. And if he refused he did so in such a way that those who had asked were content even with the refusal" (PSV II, p. 157). 3 — Treece, P., p. 40.

obedience, the union of our will with the divine will, constitutes the very essence of sanctity, that is to say, perfect love ; and 2) filial love, devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. She will teach you perfect supernatural obedience ; She Herself will obtain and give you the strength to advance on this road, more, as the best of mothers, She will carry you most securely in her arms, pressing you lovingly to Her Immaculate Heart, in the most difficult passages of the way. These are just some words, imperfect, but you will succeed in understanding much more by personal experience. Always your brother in the Heart of the Immaculate. Maximilian Maria Kolbe 1

[6415]

LETTERS AND ARTICLES

1

— SK 428, 30/5/1932.

Let us let ourselves be led, then, let us be peaceful, peaceful, let us not attempt to do more than that which She wills or more quickly. Let us let ourselves be carried by Her, she will think of everything and take care of all our needs, of the soul and of the body ; let us give every difficulty, every sorrow to Her, and have confidence that She will take care of it better than we could. Peace, therefore? Peace, much peace in an unlimited confidence in Her. The whole M.I., it is not we who made it and neither do we know it nor can we lead it forward. If it is something of Our Lady, the obstacles will make it stronger, if it isn't, then let if fail : why should it get in the way 1 ? If also the (Blessed) Mother didn't want the M.I. to continue any longer, and was satisfied with what has been done up to now, it is She who is Our Lady, let us do what seems best to Her. (SK 56 26/1/1921)

My dear sons ! For love of the Immaculate I renounced having a family and sons according to the flesh, but the Immaculate, who never lets Herself be surpassed in generosity, granted me a great number of sons, because all of you, who have consecrated your entire life and eternity to the Immaculate, are spiritual sons and She has made me your spiritual father. And believe me : she has communicated to me such a tenderness and such a love for all of you (both here in Japan and also in Poland), truly similar to the tenderness of a father and a mother for their beloved son. (…) But you will recognize immediately that I would not be for you, my dear sons, an authentic spiritual father, if before everything else and above all I did not take care of your souls ; do not then promise yourselves at all to find joy at every step, since I would [then] be your spiritual traitor, but rather — according to the method used even by a saint like St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus 2 — I will do all I can not to be indulgent, but to deprive you of your own will and bury it completely, so that you might live only and exclusively by the Will of the Immaculate. (SK 329 17/3/1931)

If it is permitted to add some words, I would propose two things : 1) obedience, that is the easiest, shortest and most sure way to sanctity ; more, supernatural obedience, the union of our will with the divine will, constitutes the very essence of sanctity, that is to say, perfect love ; and 2) filial love, devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. She will teach you perfect supernatural obedience ; She Herself will obtain and give you the strength to advance on this road, more, as the best of mothers, She will carry you most securely in her arms, pressing you lovingly to Her Immaculate Heart, in the most difficult passages of the way. These are just some words, imperfect, but you will succeed in understanding much more by personal experience. Always your brother in the Heart of the Immaculate.

1 2

— He says this same thing many times : e.g. SK 943, 58, 343. — When asked, during the process of canonization of her sister Thérèse, if there were any faults she might accuse her of, she responded that perhaps she had been too severe with the novices.

Maximilian Maria Kolbe 3

Let us open our heart to Her, let us let Her enter there and let us generously give Her our heart, soul and body and everything without any restriction or limit… in order to be Her servants, Her sons, Her thing and Her unconditional property in such a way that we become, in a certain way, She Herself living, speaking, acting in this world. (…) She Herself is the Immaculate Conception. Therefore She is such also in us and She transforms us into Herself as immaculate (…) When we shall have become Her, than also all our religious life and its sources will be Hers and She Herself. (Our) supernatural obedience will be Her will ; chastity, Her virginity ; poverty, Her detachment from earthly goods.…(SK 486 28/2/1933 Letter to clerics of the OFM Conv.)

The Immaculate is taking care of me tenderly, really, very tenderly. She offers all the nourrishment indispensable to the soul at the time and in the quantity necessary, but sometimes also sweetly embraces me 2. Watching your little group getting smaller and smaller before my eyes (as the ship left shore), all that the Immaculate has deigned to do during these three years came back to my mind. When I departed the first time from this port there were only two souls living out of love for Her, who stayed in this same place, while now there were twelve apostles, without counting the disciples at various levels that the Immaculate has deigned to draw to Herself… I opened my baggage to see what you put there… and there appeared the little head of the little statue of the Immaculate. How could I not permit myself to kiss it tenderly ? Perhaps I am telling you too many things, but is it licit to hide from beloved sons that of which they also must live and of which exclusively they may live in such a way as not to perish ? Are we not one sole heart in Her ? (SK 503 9/4/1933)

Still another word for you. Writing the letters in Japanese I gave in to a thought of pride, namely that I succeed, to a certain extent, in expressing myself in this language. But immediately I felt that the bond of love towards the Immaculate had grown cold. I am sitting before Her little statue and it seems to me that She wants to reprove me, that She is angry . Most beloved sons, do not ever accept such a feeling. When you feel yourself to be at fault, even if it is a sin that is fully conscious, grave and repeated many, many, many times, do not let yourselves be fooled by the devil into consenting to discouragement. But when you feel yourself to be at fault, offer your whole fault, without analyzing it and examining it, to the Immaculate as Her property, pronouncing the sole name "Mary", as I just did a moment ago, and worry yourselves about pleasing Her with the action that immediately follows, as I am doing in this moment adding for you, most dear Sons, these few words. Dearly beloved. Every fall, even if it be very grave and repeated, serves us always and only as a little step towards a higher perfection. For this alone, in fact, the Immaculate permits a fall, in order to heal us
3 2

— SK 428, 30/5/1932. — "Ma talvolta stringe anche dolcemente al petto" literally = "but sometimes also sweetly presses me to her breast".

of our self love, our pride, in order to lead us to humility and render us in this way more docile to divine graces. The devil, on the contrary, tries to inject despair and interior despondency, which are nothing else but a new sign of pride. If we knew well our wretchedness, we would not wonder at all at our falls, but rather we would wonder and give thanks, after the fall, for not have fallen still lower and more often. There does not exist, in fact, a sin so grave into which we cannot fall, if divine grace, that is, the merciful hand of the Immaculate, does not sustain us. We don't want either to continually feel the sweetness of the devotion to the Immaculate, because this would be spiritual greediness. Let us permit Her to lead us as it pleases Her, not as it pleases us. It is not always the time for sweet tendernesses, even if they are very holy. We also need trials, aridity, abandonments and so on. Let us, then, permit Her to use with full liberty the means of our sanctification. One thing alone must always be present and be deepened always : let ourselves be led by Her, conform ourselves always more perfectly to Her Will, obedience to Her Will in holy Obedience. (…) I finish, because it is already past 10 PM and tomorrow perhaps I will not have any more time. (SK 504 9/4/1933)

She is of God. She is perfectly of God, to the point that She becomes almost a part of the Most Holy Trinity, although She is a finite creature. More, She is not only « handmaid », « daughter », « thing », « property » etc. of God, but also Mother of God !… Here the head starts to spin… as it were above God, like a mother is above and the sons are below and must revere her… The Immaculate [is] the Spouse of the Holy Ghost in an ineffable manner… She has the same Son together with the Celestial Father. What an ineffable family ?!… And then we are Hers, of the Immaculate, Hers without limits, most perfectly Hers, we are, as it were, She Herself. Through us She loves the good God. With our poor heart She loves Her divine Son. We become the means through which the Immaculate loves Jesus and Jesus, seeing us Her property, a part, as it were, of His Most Beloved Mother, loves Her in us and through us. What exceedingly beautiful mysteries ! … We have heard of persons who are obsessed, possessed by the devil, through whom the devil thought, spoke, acted. We want to be obsessed in this way, and even more, without limits, by Her : may She Herself think, speak and act through us. We want to belong to such a point to the Immaculate that not only nothing else remain in us that isn’t Hers, but that we become, as it were, annihilated in Her, changed into Her, transubstantiated into Her, so that nothing remains but She Herself. That we might be Hers as She is God's. (SK 508 12/4/1933)

Let us permit Her, he writes, to do in us and through us whatever She desires and She will surely accomplish miracles of grace… She will conquer, through us, the whole world and every single soul. Let us hasten this moment by deepening our consecration to Her by an ever more perfect obedience, an assimilation of our will and Hers, a union that is so intimate that it succeeds in almost eliminating the differences between our will and Hers. (SK 556 8/2/1934)

I get irritated sometimes when I‘m reading something and I notice that the author underlines with an excessive precaution that Our Lady is « after Jesus » all our hope. Obviously this can be understood in a proper way. Nonetheless this exaggerated worry to not omit this little clause —which is no doubt intended as a sign of veneration for Jesus — is rather, I think, personally, on the contrary, offensive to Him. Let us take an example (in our own publishing activity) : when the ordinary machines became insufficient, we added the rotary press, and we can rightly affirm that, in order to print The Knight on time, all our hope is placed in the rotary press. But if each time we said that, someone were to add, with a worried air : « (Yes, but) after the factory that constructed it », he would manifest the conviction that this machine could fail and that it would be necessary to have recourse to the factory. All of which would indicate that the factory had not constructed the machine with the necessary solidity, something which would certainly not be to the honour of the factory. How little the Immaculate is known still, in theory and even less in practice ! How many prejudices, misunderstandings and difficulties agitate many souls ! May the Immaculate grant to Her Niepokalanows to illumine this darkness, and dissipate these cold clouds and revivify souls and inflamme them with love for Her, without any limit, with full liberty, without these vain fears that restrict and chill the hearts of men ! So that the King not be sought outside of His palace but within, deeply within its interior, in its inner rooms. (SK 603, letter to the community of Niepokalanow, November 10, 1934)

Let us not forget that the essence and the perfection of our consecration are neither the sentiment nor the memory but the will. Therefore, in the case where one doesn't experience at all the sweetness of intimate familiarity with Her (although commonly it is the opposite) and one is incapable of remembering Her and thinking for a long time about Her for whatever reason, if his will remains beside Her, if he does not revoke his consecration, but on the contrary, as far as he can renews it, then let him be at peace, because She reigns in his heart. And the will, we can control it easily. Let us be careful only to conform it always more perfectly to Her will and accomplish this will of Hers always more perfectly. This is everything. (SK 605 10/11/1934) 1

Dear Brother ! After a long silence your letter made me rejoice. You must not worry at all about me being very busy, but freely write as soon as you feel the need (…) With regard to our personal weaknesses, they must not discourage us at all, but, on the contrary, the more an instrument is wretched, so much more is it fit to
1

— He adds, typically : "Let us endeavour, also, like a little child, to recognize our total dependance on Her and, consequently, cling to Her, like sons to their mother." This would be a whole other theme to develope : let us just give a couple of quotes from his conferences to his brothers. "It is not a matter here of kneeling down a long time and praying, but of this reltionship of a child to his mother. A loving glance at her statue, the frequent repetition of the name « Mary », aven if it be just in our hearts. Different prayers and formulas are good and beautiful, but the essential thing… is the simple relationship of a child to his mother, this sense of our need for this mother, the conviction that without her we can do nothing" (K 31 28/8/1933). " If there be difficulties, in spite of them go on and approach even closer to the Immaculate — babble to Her like a little child. Give everything over to Her will — whether she wants to give us sweets or nourrish us with dryness — be close to Her by our will, in Her arms. The way of the Immaculate, even though it be strewn at times with crosses and suffering, is not, nevertheless, all that burdensome and obscure. We always feel this maternal affection." (K 41, 2 5/7/1936) [+ "Mamusia" : "In the mouth of others it seemed strange but in him it was so natural and sincere that one saw that it sprung from his deepest experience" PSV II, p. 109.

manifest the goodness and power of the Immaculate.(…) Discouragement would grieve the Immaculate (…) Can someone be sad who is the property of the Immaculate ? Which doesn't mean never to stumble, but if we happen to fall, we must conduct ourselves as true knights of the Immaculate and not get discouraged. (…) Dear son, don't be sad, don't be troubled. The Immaculate knows and directs everything. Let us only let ourselves be led by Her always more perfectly and She Herself in us and through us will do the maximum possible for the salvation of souls, to conquer them to Herself and, through Her, to the Heart of Jesus. With the help of the Immaculate we can do everything. (SK 609 28/12/1934 to a Br. at Niepokalanów)

After recalling that the essence of the M.I. is the unlimited consecration of oneself to the Immaculate, he goes on, responding, apparently, to a question about studying Mariology :
It will be a very good thing to study Mariology, bu let us always remember that we know the Immaculate more in humble prayer and in the loving experience of daily life than in learned definitions, distinctions and arguments (although it is not licit for us to neglect them).She is such a sublime person, so close to the Most Holy Trinity that one of the holy Fathes doesn't hesitate to call Her : « complementum Sanctissimae Trinitatis », that is, « the complement of the Most Holy Trinity ». It is no wonder, then, if the limited intelligence of man should lose its bearings 1 when it wants to investigate Her mystery and a presumptious brain will be stupefied even more.

He then returns to the idea of unlimited consecration to the Immaculate, insisting on how it is intimately linked with the consecration we must make of ourselves to Jesus, and through Him to the Father.
Let us deepen every day our belonging to the Immaculate and, in Her and through Her, to Jesus and to God, but not beside Her. We do not serve God the Father, Jesus and the Immaculate distinctly, but God in Jesus and through Jesus, Jesus in the Immaculate and through the Immaculate. That is to say, we serve the Immaculate directly, without limits and exclusively. But with Her in Her and through Her we serve Jesus ; and with Him, in Him and through Him God the Father.

In this beautiful description of the mediation of Jesus and the subordinate, but equally universal, mediation of the Immaculate, isn't there Someone missing ? We have God the Father, and God the Son Incarnate and the Immaculate Mother of God, but where is the Third Person ? Fr. Kolbe remarks this missing link, and goes on to explain that in fact He isn't missing at all.
And the Holy Ghost ? He is in the Immaculate, as the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the son of God, is in Jesus, but with this difference : that in Jesus there are two natures, the divine and the human, and one unique person, who is divine. The nature and the person of the Immaculate, however, are distinct from the nature and the person of the Holy Ghost. This union, nonetheless, is so inexpressible and perfect that the Holy Ghost acts uniquely through the Immaculate, His Spouse. Consequently, she is the Mediatrix of all the graces of the Holy Ghost. Given that every grace is a gift of God the Father through the Son and the Holy
1

— Si smarrisce.

Ghost, therefore there exists no grace that does not belong to the Immaculate, offered to Her, at Her free disposition. Therefore, in venerating the Immaculate, we venerate in a very special way the Holy Ghost, and just as grace comes to us from the Father through the Son and the Holy Ghost, thus also the fruits of this grace ascend from us to the Father in the opposite order, that is, through the Holy Ghost and the Son, which is the same as saying through the Immaculate and Jesus. This is the stupendous prototype of the principle of action and reaction, equal and contrary, as the natural sciences affirm. (SK 634)

A Br. Matthew Spokitakiewicz, Niepokalanów Dear son !

Nagasaki, 10 X 1935

I respond according to the order of your letter, but with a prodigious delay, because I have a lot to do. I reread your letter not just once but many times and I understand you completely. And, to begin with, how could I not remember good Br. Matthew ? You write : "I can't manage to harmonize in my soul the fact of loving in the same moment Jesus and Mary". But could you love together your father and your mother and besides that also your brothers and sisters ? Certainly, our end is God, the Most Holy Trinity, but that doesn't stop us from loving God the Father as God the Father, God the Son as God the Son, the Holy Ghost as the Holy Ghost, Jesus as Jesus, the Mother of God as the Mother of God and then our father and our mother, our relatives, the angels, the saints and all humanity. And obviously not one after another, but all together. Only we cannot think of them all at the same instant, but that doesn't stop us from loving them truly all and simultaneously. You write : "I go before the tabernacle, I pass time speaking with Jesus, etc." and then you ask : "But where is Mary, She without whom it is difficult to approach Jesus… She who is the shortest way ?" I must add for you that it is not only "difficult", but impossible to approach Jesus without Mary. Why ? Even leaving aside the fact that it was She that gave birth and nourrished Jesus for us, approaching Jesus is undoubtedly a grace and all graces come to us passing through Her, in the same way that Jesus Himself came among us through Her. Now you could say to me : "Well then, can I speak directly with Jesus when I'm not thinking about Mary ?" My dear brother, it isn't a matter of what you have to feel or think, but uniquely of the fact that this is precisely the reality of things, even if you don't think about it at all. If you truly love Jesus, then, above all, you want to accomplish in all things His Will and, consequently, also to receive grace in the way He has established. If you have such a disposition, then you may freely, nay, you even must address yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the conviction that you will obtain all you ask. If, however, someone was to say to himself : " I don't need the mediation of any one, I don't need the Most Holy Mother ; I am capable of adoring and rendering hommage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus alone and asking Him for what I need", would not Jesus be right in refusing him because of such unbearable pride ? You write : "She must also receive something from me, I must respire Her, live by Her, consecrate myself totally to Her… But, but Jesus, it is He who is the fountain of grace and Love, He invites us to Himself, He gives Himself in Holy Communion. In this Mary only helps." My dear brother, certainly the fountain of all good, in whatever order, be it natural or supernatural (that is, the order of grace), is God the Father who always works through the Son and the Holy Ghost, that is the Most Holy Trinity. It is true that

the unique Mediator with the Father is the Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, God and man at the same time, through whom our homages addressed to the Father from being human become divine, from being limited acquire an infinite value and in this way become truly worthy of the majesty of the Father. It is true that we love the Father in the Son, in Jesus Christ and that we must offer to Him all our love, in order that in Him and through Him the Father might accept all our love. Nonetheless, it is a fact 1 that our acts, even the most holy ones, are not without defects and, if we want to offer them to Jesus Christ pure and without stain, we must address them directly only to the Immaculate and give them to Her as Her property, so that she might offer them as her own to Her son. Then these acts of ours will become pure, immaculate. Also, having received an infinite value through the divinity of Jesus, they will worthily adore the Father. Also the correspondance to the graces that creatures have obtained through the Son and the Holy Ghost, return also to the Father along the same path, namely through the Holy Ghost and the Son, that is, through the Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and Jesus, united hypostatically to the nature of the Son. But in practice ? My son, you may not even know these beautiful truths at all, you may not understand them, you may not remember them at all and not be capable, with your limited intelligence and with your imagination, of even succeeding in constructing for yourself some notion of them in a human way, but if you want to always accomplish the Will of God (that is, the Will of Jesus, the Will of the Immaculate), then give yourself freely to all the devotions to which you feel yourself attracted. On the contrary, precisely because we are consecrated without limits to the Immaculate, with all that much more boldness, in spite of all our wickedness, let us approach the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In reality, therefore, we are entirely, completely and exclusively consecrated to the Immaculate with all our actions, and in Her and through Her we are consecrated always entirely, completely and exclusively to Jesus Christ ; in Him, then, and through Him we are consecrated entirely, completely and exclusively to our celestial Father. Without thinking at all of this, without feeling it either, we can give ourselves freely to any devotion whatever that is approved by the Holy Church. Nonetheless, the essence of the love of god will always be not feeling sweetness, or remembering, or thinking, understanding, imagining, but exclusively fulfilling the Will of God at every moment of one's life and submitting oneself completely to this Will. Moreover, the purpose of all devotions is to help us accomplish this Will of God. Farther on you write : "Just as it is not possible to approach the Father (or rather this is a sign of lack of respect) without the mediation of Jesus, so it isn't good to approach Jesus without Mary." "Therefore, I can't converse always heart to heart with Jesus…". You can, just don't forget about Mary. "But I can't converse confidentially with both of them simultaneously ?" [you ask ?] You can deduce the answer from the clarifications that I have already given, that is, you can tranquilly forget and not be in direct relation with several persons at the same time, because only God has the possibility to think of everything in the same instant. It won't be a lack of respect either to address yourself directly and freeely to the Faather if you belong to Jesus, nor to address yourself to Jesus if you belong to the mmaculate, and it is not at all necessary that you think about this : it is sufficient that the reality in itself be so. You write that you would like " to love one person only and immerse yourself in him". It is obvious that
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— "Ciò nonostante, è proprio vero che…"

our celestial Father is He in whom we must immerse ourselves, but we won't succeed in doing so without the Son and without the Mother, because we are limited and we are sinners. "Thoughts of anguish", you write. My dear brother, these are sublime realities and sometimes we don't succeed in understanding them with our human intelligence and even less with our fantasy, but we must never lose our tranquillity because of this. God is a God of peace. Confusion does not come from God…. I believe I have now examined the whole letter. Your difficulty derives from the fact that you confuse sentiment, memory, the faculty of understanding and the will. If only the will wants that everything happen according to the Will of God, by that fact alone it happens thus, even if we don't succeed in understanding it, or remembering it or experiencing it. Moreover, in a single instant we are capable of thinking of only one thing and to orient our sentiment in one sole direction. Therefore, give yourself freely to the devotion that attracts in any given moment, but remember that the essence of the love of God consists exclusively in accomplishing at every moment the Will of God. The more difficult such an accomplishment is and the greater the repugnance and the aversion, the greater will be the demonstration of love. But neither do such difficulties belong to the essence of love, which can be the same even without them. The difficulties only demonstrate this love. Another thing : he who is entirely and without limits consecrated to the Immaculate, although he knows he belongs to Her (even if sometimes he doesn't think about it), when he goes to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, expressly offers the whole visit to the Immaculate, perhaps merely by the invocation "Mary", because he knows that by doing so he procures the greatest possible pleasure to Jesus, and show him the greatest love and he also knows that in this way it is She who accomplishes this visit in him and through him, and that he accomplishes it in Her and through Her. In the same way as well, there is no better preparation for Holy Communion than to offer it entirely to the Immaculate (doing, obviously, for our part, all that we can). She will prepare our heart in the best way and we can be sure to procure in this manner the greates joy to Jesus, to manifest to Him the greatest love. The same thing applies to numerous other actions. Nonetheless, I repeat again : we belong to Her even without always repeating this concrete offering, because we are consecrated to Her and we have never retracted our consecration. Still another thing : Jesus affirmed that the tree is known by its fruits ; Therefore, if something provokes confusion in you — to the point that, as you write, it is a cause of negligence — then it certaily does not come from God. All this anxiety of yours, therefore, is very suspect and you must seek at all times faithfulness in the most exact accomplishment of the Will of God and peace. Jesus said as well : "I leave you my peace, I give you my peace". But if something, under whatever pretext, be it even the most sublime devotion, were to draw you away from the Mother of God, consider it as suspicious trap, even if it seem to you to be something very holy. In Her and through Her we arrive with certainty to the Heart of Jesus, but without Her (in the sense that I explained to you above) everything is just an illusion of Satan, calculated to lead the soul to ruin. A beautiful illustration of this is the vision that Father St. Francis had of the two ladders, one red and the other white, on which the brothers were climbing up to heaven. I have written as the words came to my pen, without logical order. If there is something that is still not clear, feel free to write and I will answer you willingly. May the Immaculate hold you always closer to her Immaculate Heart. Fr. Maximilian M. Kolbe

PS — Even if you find some other thing written in whatever way and in whatever place, remain nonetheless certain that he who belongs to the Immaculate will not be lost, but the more he belongs to Her, the more will he belong to Jesus and the Father. The fact, then, that he might feel this within himself or even know it, this is another matter. Nonetheless, he sees that he is accomplishing the Will of God ever more perfectly and that he corrects himself of his offences against this Will. He will taste an ever greater interior peace in the middle of the storms. In due time, She will gradually reveal to him all the mysteries of the Heart of Jesus. He will become a son of Jesus. His soul will become the spouse of Jesus, the elder Brother, under the careful protection of Mary, the common Mother, and of the common celestial Father. But let not the soul be troubled, let her let herself be led, rather, in humility and peace.

In your letter… you write that the Japanese were displeased to know that "Fr. Korube" didn't come back. Reassure them, dear Father, that it was the Immaculate Herself who disposed things in this way because I had no desire at all to leave Mugenzai no Sono, on the contrary I desired to leave my bones there at the foundation of the mission, but (…) my will was not done but that of the Immaculate. (…)s From the beginning, in fact, even before the Chapter, I had manifested to Most Reverend Fr. Provincial my disponibility to return to Mugenzai no Sono, nonetheless the Immaculate had other plans. I still don't understand them completely, but little by little, according as it is necessary for me to act. (SK 687 11/11/1936)

Above all, never let yourselves be troubled, never be frightened, never fear anything. The Immaculate, in fact, is She perhaps not aware of everything ? If this were case, it would really be a great big mess 1. No one can do us any harm if God does not permit it, that is if She doesn't consent to it. Everything, then, is in Her maternal hands. Consequently, let us only let ourselves be led by Her more every day, more every instant. This is all our philosophy. (SK 755 4/11/1937)

The conversion and the sanctification of a soul has been, is now, and will always remain, the work of divine grace. (…) But grace, for ourselves and for others is obtained by humble prayer, by mortification and by fidelity in the accomplishment of our own ordinary duties, including the most simple ones. The more a soul is close to God, the more it is pleasing to God, the more she loves Him and is loved by Him, the more efficaciously she is able to help also others to obtain divine grace, the more easily and fully is her prayer heard. Consequently also the Immaculate — being without stain, totally belonging to God — is absolutely full of grace and the Mediatrix of every grace also for all other souls. And we, recognizing our weakness, our frequent falls, our separation from God, we turn to Her precisely for this : to obtain every sort of grace for ourselves and for others. (SK 925 1/12/1940) 2

1 2

— "Se così non fosse, sarebbe un gran bel pasticccio." — [Cf the parable of the talents : "Take away his talent and give it to him who has ten !" Also St. Pius X says she merits de congruo all that Our Lord merits de condigno.]

SK 971 17-22/2/1920

Regulamentum vitae (To be read every month)

1) I must become a saint, the greatest possible [saint]. 2) The greatest glory of God through the salvation and the most perfect sanctification of myself and of all those who exist now or who will exist in the future, through the Immaculate — M.I.3. 3) Peccatum mortale vel veniale deliberatum a priori exclude — Serenity with regard to the past. —
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Repair with fervor the time lost. 4) I will not leave : a) any evil without reparation (destroy it) and b) any good [undone] which I can perform, increase or to which I can contribute in any way. 5) Regula tua obedientia = the Will of God through the Immaculate. Instrument.
2

6) Do what your are doing ; don't pay attention to anything else, be it good or bad. 7) Semper quieta, amorosa actio .
3

8) Serva ordinem et ordo servabit te .
4

9) Praeparatio, actio, conclusio .
5

10) Remember always that you are the absolute, unconditional, unlimited, irrevocable thing and property of the Immaculate : whatever you are, whatever you have or can do, all of your actiones (thoughts, words, deeds) and passiones (agreeable, disagreeable, indifferent) are entirely Her property. May She do, therefore, with all this whatever is pleasing to Her (and not to you). In the same way all your intentions are Hers ; may She, therefore, change them, add to them, take away from them as she pleases (for She is incapable of acting against justice). You are an instrument in Her hand, therefore do only that which She wishes : accept everything from Her hand. Take refuge in Her in everything like a child in his mother ; entrust everything to Her. Work for Her, Her honour, Her cause and let Her take care of you and what concerns you. Recognize that nothing comes from yourself and that you have received everything from Her. All the fruit of your activity depends on your union with Her just as She is an instrument of the mercy of God. My life (each of its instants), death (where, when and how) and eternity are all Yours, O Immaculate. Do with all this whatever pleases You. 11) Omnia possum in Eo, qui me per Immaculatam confortat . (Ph 4 : 13)
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1 2 3 4 5 6

— Exclude a priori mortal sin or deliberate venial sin. — Your rule is obedience. — Always peaceful, loving action. — Keep order and order will keep you. — Preparation, action, conclusion. — I can do all things in Him, who strengthens me through the Immaculate.

12) — Interior life : "Totus primo sibi et sic totus omnibus" .
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SK 1024

Rycerz Niepokalanej I 1923, p. 5-7

(I was travelling for some days ; I had several conversations on truths of the faith with unbelievers and Catholics ; so now the Rycerz will resume in its pages at least some of these conversations. I will not hold myself to a chronological order but I will bring together the conversations rather by a logical connection. Furthermore, I invite those persons who took part in the conversations to send me their observations if I did not reproduce sufficiently the thread of the arguments) We had left Przemysl and the train was carrying us with great speed towards Cracow. Near the window were sitting, facing each other, two young men. One of them was a painter and [ritrattista] and, as the conversation revealed, a Jew. We were discussing the purpose of man and we had agreed this purpose was to become similar to God, that is, the external glory of God, and that this alone constituted the complete happiness of the creature. At a station came in to our compartment, among others, a cultivated looking person who took a seat right across from myself and immediately joined in our conversation. « But can we know that God exists ? » he began. « Certainly we can. » « One can perhaps only believe in this ; no one, in fact, can demonstrate that God exists. » « Be so good as to hear me out and I will demonstrate it to you clearly; » « On this point no one will ever be able to convince me. » « In all likelihood you refuse a priori all arguments. » « Not at all ! » « I also would like to hear a clear demonstration on this question », said a lady who was sitting beside us. « I ask you then to excuse me — I said, turning to the young men sitted by the window — I will come back later to the question we were discussing, in order to satisfy the desire of these people who have just got on the train. » « With pleasure » they responded. « First of all, pardon me for asking sir, but what education do you have ? » « I studied law at university. » « Maybe philosophy also ? » « No. But what does philosophy have to do with faith ? » « Faith must be in harmony with raison, and for this precisely philosophy is very useful, above all in the question about the existence of God. But now I must find out what we agree on, since I must start there, otherwise we would be building on a shaky foundation. Therefore, let us begin : do you exist, sir ? »
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— "First entirely to yourself and thus entirely to all".

« Yes. But I am only a part of the world. » « Please, sir, we will speak about that later ; for now I am just asking you if you exist. » « Certainly I do. » « And you, ma'am ? » « Yes, I also affirm that. » « Is there perhaps someone here present who thinks otherwise ? » Everyone agrees. « Our existence, then, is certain. » « I wouldn't say that. » « And why not ? » « Because generally we cannot know anything with certainty ; what one affirms, another denies. » « Because of that, you aren't certain that you exist ? » « I am only a little part of the matter that exists in the universe. » « I repeat, sir — for me it is not a matter of knowing what you are but of the more general fact that you exist, that is to say, of the fact that you are something, that you are not nothing. » « Obviously I'm not nothing. » « You're sure ? » « Yes. » « Do you have a watch, sir ? » « Yes », he answers, placing his hand on his watch pocket. « Does it belong to you ? » « Yes, it's mine.» « For sure ? » « Absolutely. » « Pardon me, sir, but if you had had any doubt about it, I would have asked you to give it to me and put it in my pocket (those present laugh). Therefore your premiss, according to which we can know nothing with certainty is false, since you consider your own existence as an axiom and you have no desire to put in doubt the fact that this watch belongs to you. And do I exist, perhaps ? » « …Yes. » « And this lady, and this gentleman, and, finally, all of us who are present here ? » « They too. » « You are sure about that ? » « … Yes, I'm sure. » « But why do you say that ? » « Because… my eyes clearly tell me so. » « And these fields and meadows that are passing by through the window ot the train, and the whole world and the stars that are over our heads, do they exist ? » « They too ; in short, I will admit now that what we see with our eyes must exist ; God, however,

we don't see. » « Pardon me, sir, but is there a locomotive running at the beginning of the train ? » « Obviously. » « Are you sure about that ? » « Yes I am. » « But do you see it ? » « No, but if there weren't, the train wouldn't be moving. » « Therefore, you admit now that not only can we know something by directly seeing it, but also that we can arrive to the knowledge of a given cause starting from its effect. Correct ? » « Yes. » « What would you say, sir, about a man who, with regard to his watch, would reason in the following way. "This metal case by pure chance came out of a mine [si è staccata in una miniera], melted down all by itself in a singular fashion, purified itself and took the form we see that it now has. Also the engraving was imprinted on it by pure chance. Also the crystal was melted down and fitted [si è affilato] by pure chance. Even the turning sprockets were made all by themselves. And the other parts that make up this watch were formed by themselves by the purest chance and, finally, they put themselves together as we see them now and indicate the hour without needing the help of a human mind, nor a human hand : all this by chance." If this man were to affirm all this in all seriousness what would you say about him ? » « That probably [gli ha dato di volta il cervello] his head was on backwards. » « Fine. But in nature we have organisms formed in a way that is much more mysterious than that. Certainly you marvel when you study the anatomy, the composition of even just one human eye. How many different parts there are, and how delicate, and how magnificently do they function in order to make us see ! All of nature is composed of millions and billions of organisms, that live, develope and reproduce. Could one affirm, then, that these marvels of nature happen by pure chance ? Some one might say : "All of this doesn't happen without a cause, it's true : but these causes have themselves other causes which, in their turn, have other causes of their own, and these still other causes". Nonetheless, in this series of causes, extended even to infinity, do we not have to admit perhaps a first cause ? All alone, in fact, the causes don't give any perfection, but just communicate what they have themselves received, and what interests us is the author of that perfection. A first cause must exist… and… and it is God. » « It's obvious. » On the face of this gentleman one could see a sort of wonder, by the fact that up until that moment he hadn't been able to arrive at such a conclusion ; perhaps before he never thought about this truth.

SK 1160 Our War

Rycerz Niepokalanej, V 1932

When we look around and see so much evil everywhere, we would wish sincerely, especially as members of the « Militia of the Immaculate », to apply a remedy to this evil, to bring men to the Most

Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate and thus render our brothers living in this world eternally happy already in this life. But in what consists this war ? Where is found its most important, strongest nucleus ? Where is it necessary to strike first of all ? Sometimes it seems to us that God governs the world « with too little effort ». And yet with one sole movement of His omnipotent will He could crush and smash into dust all the Calles, all the atheists in the Soviet Union, all the Spanish Church-burners, all the immoral poisoners of youth and all those like them. Thus thinks our limited, restricted mind, while eternal Wisdom, on its part, judges otherwise. Persecutions purify souls like fire purifies gold, the hands of the executioners create the armies of martyrs and more than once, in the end, the persecutors receive the grace of conversion. Inscrutable, but always most wise, are the ways of God. It doesn't follow at all from that that we should cross our arms and let the enemies of souls amuse themselves freely. Not at all. Nonethess… Nonetheless… we do not want to correct infinite Wisdom, to give directions to the Holy Ghost, but let ourselves be led by Him. Let us imagine ourselves to be a little brush in the hand of an infinitely perfect painter. What must the little brush do so that the painting will be as beautiful as possible ? It must let itself be directed most perfectly. A little brush could still advance pretexts to improve the painting done by an earthly, limited, fallible painter, but when God, the eternal Wisdom, uses us as instruments, then we will do the most, in the most perfect way, when we will let ourselves be guided most perfectly and totally. By the act of consecration we have offered ourselves to the Immaculate as Her absolute property. Without doubt She is the most perfect instrument in the hands of God, while we, for our part, must be instruments in Her immaculate hands. When, therefore, will we destroy most rapidly and most perfectly the evil that exists in the whole world ? When we will let ourselves be guided by Her in the most perfect way. This is the most important thing, the unique thing. I said « unique ». In fact, each one of us must occupy himself solely in harmonizing, conforming, blending, as it were, completely his own will with the Will of the Immaculate, just as Her Will is completely united to the Will of God, Her heart with the Heart of Her Son Jesus. That is the unique thing we have to do. Whatever we do, even if it were the most heroic act, capable of overthrowing the foundations of all existing evil on the earth, it has a certain value uniquely if, in perfoming this act, our will puts itself in harmoy with the Will of the Immaculate and, throught Her, with the Will of God. One thing alone, therefore, that is, the fusion of our will with Hers, has a certain value, or rather a total value. This is the essence of love (not sentiment, although that be beautiful too), that must transform us, through the Immaculte, and destroy, consume in it all evi. It is the fire of which the Savour spoke : « I have come to bring fire on the earth : and how I would wish that it be already lit ! » (Lk 12 : 49) After having been inflammed ourselves by this divine love(I repeat that it is not a question here of sweet tears or sentiments, but of the will, even amidst aversion and repugnance), we will set on fire the

whole world. Nonetheless, it is we who must inflame ourselves, we who must not let ourselves grow cold, but flame out always more strongly ; we must melt ourselves with, become one sole thing with God, through the Immaculate. We must, therefore, concentrate all our attention on this, uniquely on this : to unite ourselves most closely with the hand of our Mistress, our Leader, to melt ourselves into it, so that She might do with us what She wills. This is the essential condition for belonging to the M.I. : « Consecrat oueslf totally to the Immaculate as an instrument in Her immaculate hands ». Then and only then will we subject to the Immaculate, and through Her, unite, blend the whole world and every single soul with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the fire of love. I write from the land of Japan, on the day of the feast of the apparition of the Immaculate at Lourdes.

The first article , entitled simply « Immaculata », begins with a prayer to the Immaculate where he
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asks her to deign to let him praise her, in spite of his unworthiness and utter incapacity to understand her glory. Then he begins with the Most Holy Trinity and from there proceeds to creation and its return to God, which leads him to speak of the most perfect creature whose return to God is without the least fault.
God is charity. Out of the fullness of this life the Father begets the Son, the Spirit, however, proceeds from the Father and the Son. But since God loves also finite possible images of Himself, He chooses some of them and gives them real existence. These creatures, in virtue, as it were, of a reaction, perfect themselves and thus tend toward God, from Whom they proceed. Even more do men, having free will, in a like manner tend towards God, but subject to what imperfections and how at variance with the Divine Will, with the Deity ? God foresaw also from eternity a Creature that would not deviate in even the least thing, who would not lose any grace, who would not appropriate to itself anything of all that it had received from Him. The Giver of grace, the Holy Ghost, inhabited Her soul from the first moment of Her existence, took absolutely complete possession of it, and penetrated it to such a degree that the name of Spouse of the Holy Ghost is only a remote, meager, imperfect, although true shadow of this union. Neither did He permit that She be defiled by the stain of original sin. And She was conceived without stain, Immaculately Conceived. At Lourdes the Immaculate Virgin responded to Saint Bernadette who asked her repeatedly who She was : "I am the Immaculate Conception". By these clear words She expressed the fact that She was not only Immaculately Conceived, but more than that, the Immaculate Conception Itself, just as a something white is one thing and another is its whiteness alone, so also a perfect thing is one thing and its perfection another. Speaking of Himself God thus spoke to Moses : "I am Who am" (Gen. 3 : 14), that is, it pertains to My essence that by my nature I always be from Myself : without a principle. The Immaculate Virgin, however, has Her origin from God, She is a creature, a conception, but an Immaculate Conception.
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— SK 1224.

What profound mysteries are hidden by these words. And as everything in the natural and in the supernatural order descends from the Father through the Son and the Spirit to creatures, thus in a similar way also all creatures ascend by the Spirit and the Son to the Father. However the most perfect of creatures, the Immaculate Virgin, is elevated above all creatures and is, in an ineffable way, Divine. For the Son of God descended from the Father through the Spirit and inhabited Her and was made incarnate in Her and She became the Mother of God, the Mother of the Man-God, the Mother of Jesus. From that moment every grace from the Father through the Incarnate Son Jesus and the Spirit dwelling in the Immaculate — is dispensed by the Immaculate. And every sign of love of creatures, unless it has first been purged from imperfections by the Immaculate and elevated by Jesus to an infinite value and thereby made worthy of the majesty of the Celestial Father, does not come before the face of God. The union between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Virgin is so close that the Holy Ghost, penetrating the soul of the Immaculate, does not exercise His influence on souls except through Her. Whence She is Mediatrix of all graces, whence also She has become the Mother of all Divine Grace. Whence She is Queen of the Angels and the Saints, the Help of Christians and the Refuge of sinners. O how little is known still the Immaculate Virgin ! When will the souls of men love by Her Heart the Divine Heart of Jesus and through It the Celestial Father ? (SK 1224 Miles Immaculatae, I-III 1938)

He explains this again in a brochure on the M.I. prepared for distribution to the faithful.
What are the conditions to belong to the M.I. ?… He who desires to offer his own contribution to the work of sanctification of others must begin, obviously, with himself. He must himself, then, approach always closer to the Immaculate in order to obtain from Her the graces to help him love God always more perfectly and concretely in his everyday life. The most perfect form of approaching (someone) is the total gift of oneself, the consecration (to them of oneself) as (their) thing and property. This, then, is the first and essential condition in order to belong to the Militia of the Immaculate, the total consecration of oneself to the Immaculate. Such a consecration does not at all require that one abandon at the same time the world and one's family and that one enter a monastery. No ! One can very well continue to occupy oneself in all the legitimate affairs in which one is involved 1, only from now on it will not be just we ourselves who offer these daily affairs to God, but it will be She, the Immaculate, of whom we have become the property, who will present them to God. Mary, then, offers all this not as if it were ours, full of faults and imperfections,
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— Fr. Kolbe wanted to make the consecration to Mary something possible for everyone and so he would insist on it not being something too difficult. In an article in the Knight, for example, in 1925 he invites his readers, who already, normally, were members of the M.I., to encourage others to join : "Make them understand, he writes, that it doesn't take a lot of time to give oneself forever to the Immaculate, to wear the miraculous medal and repeat once a day the little ejaculatory prayer ("O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for all those that don't have recourse to thee, especially the Freemasons"). Let them do at least something for the Immaculate and slowly She will enter their heart, purify it and enflame it with love for the Heart of Jesus, a love that brings with it joy." (SK 1088 R.N. February 1925). Similarly in the next issue he begins an article intitled : "How can one become a member of the M.I. ?" with the words : "Its very easy" (SK 1090). This aspect of this movement also gives it an affinity with Fatima : it is for everyone and it isn't hard !

but as Her own personal property, since we, along with all that is ours, belong to Her.… The Immaculate, however, cannot offer to God anything that is stained with sin. We see, then, that in Her immaculate hands our imperfect actions become pure, without stain and, therefore, incomparably more precious. (SK 1226 Brochure March 1938)

The very strict connection between the truths of Christian doctrine is known to us all. For Catholic dogmas are begotten from each other and perfect each other. An example of this is how the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus, basing themselves solely on the Catholic doctrine of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the Person of the Word, proclaimed the Divine Maternity of Mary. Indeed, once the relation between Jesus and His Mother Mary was recognized, there arose the Catholic belief that holds that the Mother of the Saviour was immune from original sin. Catholics did not dare to even think that Mary remained even for one instant under the slavery of the devil. Also from the singular mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her ineffable union with the Holy Ghost (the Immaculate Conception) arose among the faithful a wonderful hope of receiving the sweet protection of Mary. Now it is evident that our relation to Mary Coredemptrix and Dispensatrix of all graces in the economy of redemption has not been perceived with the same perfection from the beginning. At the present time, however, our faith in the mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is increasing more and more every day. In this brief article we want to show what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary can contribute to the dogma of the Mediation of Mary. The work of redemption immediately depends on the Second Person of God — Jesus Christ, Who reconciled us to the Father with His blood, and rendered Him satisfaction for the sin of Adam and merited for us sanctifying grace, various actual graces and the right of entering into the kingdom of heaven. Nonetheless the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity also participates in this work, by the fact that, in virtue of the redemption carried out by Christ, He transforms the souls of men into temples of God and makes us adopted sons of God and heirs of the celestial kingdom, as St. Paul says : "You are washed, you are sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God" (1 Co 6 : 11). Descending even into our souls, the Holy Ghost, God-Charity, unites us to the other two Persons. Thus in his epistle to the Romans St. Paul writes : "We know not what we should pray for as we ought ; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings" (Rm 8 : 26). Also in the epistle to the Corinthians he says that the distribution of graces depends on the will of the Holy Ghost : "To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom : and to another, the word of knowledge (…) to another the grace of healing in one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy (…) But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will" (1 Co 12 : 8-11). However just as Jesus, in order to show us His immense love, became the God-Man, thus also the Third Person, God-Charity, willed to manifest His mediation with the Father and the Son by a certain exterior sign. That this sign is the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin is seen from the writings of the saints, especially those who assert that Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Whence, according to the mind of the Fathers, Bl. Louis Marie Grignion thus concludes : "God the Holy Ghost, being barren in God, that is to say, not producing any other Divine Person, is become fruitful by Mary whom He has espoused. It is with her, in her and of her that He produced His masterpiece, which is God made man : « The Holy Ghost shall

come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee ». It is not that we mean that our Blessed Lady gives the Holy Ghost His fruitfulness, which He, in so far as He is God, has, like the Father and the Son, although — for no Divine Person proceeds from Him — He doesn't bring it into action. But what we mean is, that the Holy Ghost chose to make use of the mediation of our Blessed Lady, though He had no absolute need of her, to bring His fruitfulness into action, by producing in her and by her the human nature of Christ 1." The Holy Ghost works all things in us through Mary also after the death of Christ. For the word of the Creator about the Immaculate to the serpent : "She shall crush your head" (Gen. 3 : 15) are to be understood, according to the doctrine of theologians, without any limitation with regard to time. It pertains to the Holy Ghost to form, until the end of the world, the new predestined members of the Mystical Body of Christ. But as Blessed Louis Grignion demonstrates, this is done with Mary, in Mary and through Mary. We are led to this conclusion, that is, that the Holy Ghost acts through Mary, by texts of Holy Scripture and by the words of the saints, who are the best interpreters of Holy Scripture : "And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever, the Spirit of truth (…)"(Jn 14 : 16-17). "But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things (…) whatsoever I shall have said to you" (Jn 14 : 26) ; "But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. (…) He shall glorify me (…)" (Jn 16 : 13-14). Blessed Louis Grignion employs words that have roughly the same meaning but applies them to the Immaculate : "We have not yet known Mary, which is why we also don't know Christ as we should. If however — as must nonetheless happen — Christ will be known and His reign come into the world, this will only be the effect of the knowledge of Mary and Her reign over us ; for Mary, who gave birth to Jesus the first time for the salvation of the world, now renders us apt to know Jesus clearly" 2. Therefore, as the Second Person of God incarnate appears under the name of the "seed of the woman", so also the Holy Ghost through the Immaculate, whom He united to Himself very closely in a way that surpasses entirely our understanding — maintaining nonetheless each of their Persons intact — externally manifests His participation in the work of redemption. It is not the same thing, therefore, as the hypostatic union of the two natures, divine and human, in the unique Person of Christ, nonetheless that does not prevent the action of Mary from being the most perfect action of the Holy Ghost. For Mary, as the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and therefore raised above all created perfection, fulfills in all things the will of the Holy Ghost Who inhabits Her from the first instant of Her conception. From all these things considered together we may conclude that Mary, in so far as she is the Mother of the Saviour Jesus, became the Coredemptrix of the human race, and in so far as she is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, participates in the distribution of all graces. Thus with the theologians we can say : "… just as
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— True Devotion to Mary, n. 20-21. Fr. Kolbe translates rather freely the last part of this text, after the quote from St. Luke (which he adds). The original text here reads : "It is not that we mean that our Blessed Lady gives the Holy Ghost His fruitfulness, as if He had it not Himself. For inasmuch as He is God, He has the same fruitfulness or capacity of producing as the Father and the Son ; only He does not bring it into action, as He does not produce another Divine Person. But what we mean is, that the Holy Ghost chose to make use of our Blessed Lady, though He had no absolute need of her, to bring His fruitfulness into action, by producing in her and by her Jesus Christ and His members (…)" 2 — True Devotion to Mary, n. 13. Again Fr. Kolbe translates freely. The original text reads : "It is with a particular joy that my heart has dictated what I have just written, in order to show that the divine Mary has been up to this time unknown, and that this is one of the reasons that Jesus Christ is not known as He ought to be. If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ are to come into the world, they will be but a necessary consequence of the knowledge and the kingdom of the most holy Virgin Mary, who brought Him into the world for the first time, and will make His second advent full of splendor."

the first Eve with true, free acts worked towards our ruin, in which she truly had an influence, so Mary by her true acts concurred in the reparation… : in this there is most clearly already a true mediation in the proper sense of the term."(Bittremieux)

SK 1248

Conference to clerics OFM Conv at Cracow 15/11/1919

…We are an instrument in the most loving hands of the Immaculate and only in this way can we attain our ultimate end : the glory of God, not just a greater glory but the greatest glory possible. All our sollicitude, therefore, must be : let ourselves be led, so that we do nothing according to our own ideas, but everything that She desires and as She pleases. But from what source will we know the Will of our Queen, of our Leader ? On this earth there is only one sure way : holy obedience to the representatives of God, whose will is everything that the Immaculate desires, with this difference, however (if humanly we can express ourselves in this way), namely that God directs everything according to justice while the Most Holy Virgin, precisely because of the fact that She has been given to us as a Mother, can shelter us, nullifying the blows of justice, under Her maternal mantle of mercy. This is why St. Bernard also affirms that God has reserved for Himself the economy of justice, while he has confided mercy to the Most Holy Virgin Mary .
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Moreover, sometimes we can know Her intentions also by means of interior inspirations, but alone we are almost never capable of being sure whether they come from Her or from our self-love or from Satan who, with the splendour of an angel, can sometimes insinuate things that are even very holy in themselves but which would be good for someone else, while God can not want that particular chose from us. Even if the Most Holy Virgin Mary in person appeared to us and confided us the most sublime mission, how will we be sure that it is truly She who is speaking to us and not some illusion or deception of the devil ?… So also in this case the most sure proof is obedience, that is the manifestion of what we think to the superior in the appropriate forum, either internal or external, and the blind execution of his commands. If he forbids, but the Immaculate wills something, then, as in the manifestation of the miraculous medal, She
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— He explains this point again in a letter to Fr. Koziura, Guardian of Niepokalanów : "I underline repeatedly the « Will of the Immaculate » because we are consecrated to her without limits, therefore She directs us. But, if one can put it thus, The Will of God and the Will of the Immaculate are not exactly the same thing, because the Will of the Immaculate is the will, not of the justice, but of the mercy of God, of which the Immaculate is the personification. We, then, in so far as we are instruments in her hand, are at the service not of the justice that punishes but of conversion and sanctification, which are the effect of grace — and therefore of the mercy of God — and they pass through the hands of the Mediatrix of all graces. Consequently, as She is a most perfect instrument in the hand of God, in the hand of divine mercy, of the Sacred Heart of Hesus, thus we are an instrument in her hand. And thus, through Her, we are an instrument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is of the mercy of God. Therefore our motto is : « through the Immaculate to the Heart of Jesus" (SK 339 29/4/1931)

will know how to attain her goal. Sometimes, nonetheless, God permits such obstacles precisely in order to consolidate his work ; but if the inspiration does not come from Her, let it collapse as soon as possible ! Therefore not only through the orders of superiors, but also through their authorization to put into practice interior inspirations, we come to know the commands of our Queen. Our whole life, each thought, word and action are in Her hands : may She direct everything as She pleases… Nonetheless ther will be difficulties and adversities to overcome. Every good thing that has happened on this earth, in fact, the more it has been grand and good, the greater have been the difficulties encountered.… Upon what foundation must one base oneself in such cases ? In order that a foundation be unshakeable it must have something stable, immutable, in a word something divine, which for us is uniquely holy, blind obedience to the Immaculate, who manifests Her own will through the superiors. Placed upon such a foundation, then, we will not fear any storm. All the wicked and all the good will rise up against us by word and by action, the body will languish, weighed down by fatigue, the intellect will be obscured, the will will waver and become discouraged, within and without everything will conspire against us, hell will be enraged with all its fury, the entire world will be turned upside down and everything in it will be in turmoil, but we will despise all that, not trusting in ourselves at all but without limits in God through the Immaculate, we will be sure that we are acting in Her omnipotent hands. This is truly and uniquely the rock of granite against which all the foaming waves will break.… All these adversities are very useful, necessary and even indispensable, because they clarify the whole cause, fortify and habituate the will to fatigue and become fountains of merits for heaven (…) At times, we will taste the joyful serenity of the little child who, abandoning himself without any reserve in the hands of his own mother, worries about nothing, fears nothing, confident in the wisdom, goodness and power of his good mother .At times the storm will rage around us, thunderbolts will fall, but we, consecrated without limits to the Immaculate, will be sure that nothing will happen as long as our good little Mother doesn't permit it, and we will rest peacefully, working and suffering for the salvation of souls. (SK1248 15/11/1919)

1) Our Lady is the Immaculate Conception
These words, he says, came out of the mouth of the Immaculate Herself. They must indicate, then, with the greatest precision and in the most essential manner, who She is.

And he goes on to explain how this name applies uniquely to Our Lady, and contains her essence in the strict scholastic sense of the term since it gives her genus and species :
Who are you, O Immaculate Conception ? Not God, for he has no beginning, not an angel created without any intermediary from nothing ; not Adam formed out of the dust of the earth, not Eve taken out of Adam, neither the Word incarnate, who

existed from eternity already and thus is conceived rather than a conception. The children of Eve did not exist before their conception, thus they can be called conceptions, but You are distinguished from them all, because they are conceptions stained with original sin, but You are the one, unique Immaculate Conception. (…)

2) The Holy Ghost is also an Immaculate Conception In the second part of this text he explains how the name Immaculate Conception can be applied as well, nonethess, in a certain way, to the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost. He begins by posing a principle, namely, that everything that exists outside of God has imprinted in it a certain resemblance to its Creator, since everything in it comes from Him. But this Creator, this God that all creatures resemble, is, as our faith teaches us, the Most Holy Trinity. Thus he writes :
All the perfections found in creatures (…) are nothing but a multi-natured echo, a hymn of praise in multi-colored tones of the first and the most beautiful mystery, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

But if this is true, if all creatures must necessarily resemble their Creator, the Most Holy Trinity, then this must be true as well for the created reality that we call "conception", for, as Fr Maximilian writes :
Here, there are no exceptions at all.

So the conceptions of life that we see in the universe — and we must remember that life itself is one of the highest things in creation, and its conception is the most wonderful thing there is about life — these conceptions must be a reflection of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. But of what are they a reflection exactly ? Of the procession of the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, answers Fr. Kolbe, the procession of the Holy Ghost. He explains :
Who is the Holy Ghost ? (He is) the fruit of the love of the Father and the Son. The fruit of created love is a created conception. The fruit, then, of that love that is the prototype of this created love is also nothing else than a Conception. The Holy Ghost, therefore, is an uncreated, eternal conception, and the prototype of all conceptions of life in the universe (…) The Holy Ghost is a most holy conception, infinitely holy, immaculate.

3) The union between the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Again he starts by stating a principle :
In the universe, he says, we find everywhere an action and a reaction equal to that action but contrary [to it, a going out and a coming back, a distancing and a drawing close, a division and a unification. But the division is always for the unification, which is creative. This is nothing but an image of the Most Holy Trinity in the activity of creatures. Unification is love, creative love.

This physical law of action and reaction, then, is just another reflection of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Although he doesn't spell it out, it seems evident that what Fr. Kolbe means to say here is that action reflects the procession of the Son from the Father and reaction the procession of the Holy Ghost that follows this action but in the opposite direction. By the procession of the Son God, as it were,

goes out from Himself and then by the procession of the Holy Ghost He comes back to Himself by the
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love that unites the Father and the Son. He then goes on to say that in a similar way, when God creates the universe there is a sort of action by which He goes out of Himself which is followed by a reaction by which the creatures He has made return to God by trying to perfect themselves and thus become similar to Him .
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And it is not otherwise that proceeds the activity of God outside of Himself. God creats the world — this is like a separation. The creatures, then, by the natural law given them by God, perfect themselves, they become similar to God, they return to Him, and the rational creatures consciously love and by this love unite themselves more and more to Him, they return to Him.

At the head of this movement of return to God, however, is the most perfect of creatures, the Immaculate Conception, the creature who most resembles God and comes back to Him in the most perfect fashion and leads all the rest of creation back to Him.
But the creature, he says, completely full of this love, of the divinity — is the Immaculate, without even the slightest stain of sin, She who never deviated in anything from the will of God, united in an ineffable manner to the Holy Ghost as His Spouse, although in a sense incomparably more perfect than what that word expresses among creatures.

The Immaculate Conception is an image, then, of the Holy Ghost, she does in creation what He does in the bosom of the Trinity. The Holy Ghost, the love uniting the Father and the Son, is the reaction in the Most Holy Trinity that responds to the action that is the procession of the Son : Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, is the reaction of creation, returning by love to its principle by perfecting itself, which corresponds to the action of God by which it was originally created. Thus Fr. Kolbe writes :
In the union of the Holy Ghost with [the Immaculate], not only does love unite these two beings, but one of them is all the love of the Most Holy Trinity and the other is all the love of creation, and thus in their union heaven is united to the earth, all of heaven with all the earth, all Eternal Love with all created love. It is the summit of love.

This union, he explains, is eminently interior : it is the life of love of the Holy Ghost in the soul of the Virgin :
What is this union like ? It is above all interior, it is the union of Her being with the being of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost dwells in Her, lives in Her and does this from the first moment of Her existence, always and forever. In what does this life of His in Her consist ? He Himself in Her is love, the love of the Father and the Son, the love by which God Himself loves Himself, the love of the Whole Blessed Trinity, a fertile love, a conception. (…) The Holy Ghost lives in the soul of the Immaculate, in Her being, and fecundates it and
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— "Exivi a Patre" as Our Lord says : "I came out, I exited from the Father" (Jn 16 : 28). St. Thomas, in his commentary on this text, refers it to the eternal procession of the Son from the Father. 2 — In some notes, written a few years earlier, he says : "God said : « Fiat » and creation existed. A creature, Mary, said : « Fiat mihi » and God became present in Her. Also the creatures repeat : « Fiat ». They accord their will with the will of the Immaculate. Action and reaction of love." (SK 1283 before the end of 1937)

this from the first moment of Her existence throughout Her whole existence, that is, eternally. The Eternal Immaculate Conception immaculately conceives in the soul of Her who is His Immaculate Conception divine life 1.

And thus he concludes, saying that all this explains why Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, is called "Immaculate Conception".
If in creatures the spouse receives the name of her spouse because she belongs to him, is united to him, becomes similar to him and, in union with him becomes a creative agent of life, how much more the name of the Holy Ghost, Immaculate Conception is the name of She in whom He lives by a love that is fertile in the entire supernatural order.

You are Hers : 1. Let yourself be led by the Immaculate : all that doesn't depend on your will, surely She permits it for your good, even if it comes from the bad will of othes. It is She who wills that it happen to you 2.… 3 12. Don't forget that sanctity consists, not in extraordinary actions, but in accomplishing well your duties towards God, yourself and others. 13. Nothing, not even the most holy state of life, assures the sanctification of your soul if you neglect the duties that derive from that state. Try to see in your duties the certain will of the Immaculate, the accomplishment of which demonstrates your love for Her and, in Her and through Her, for Jesus and the Father. Even prayer, penance and works that are good in themselves are not pleasing to Her if they are an obstacle to accomplishing well your duties. Precisely in them, in fact, is found Her will. (SK 1334 5-20/8/ 1940)

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— He goes on : " And Her virginal womb [is] reserved to Him and in Him conceives in time — as all that is material happens in time — also the divine life of the Man-God. And thus the return to God, the equal and opposite reaction, goes along the opposite road from creation. In creation, it goes from the Father through the Son and the Spirit but now by the Spirit the Son is incarnate in Her womb and through Him love returns to the Father. And She, inserted in the love of the Most Holy Trinity becomes from the first moment of Her existence for always, for eternity, the complement of the Most Holy Trinity." 2 — He says in one of his conferences to his brothers : "When the soul reflects on the fact that it has given itself to the Immaculate, (and) that whatever happens to it occurs by Her will, it is filled with a very great peace." (K 99 1/9/1937) 3 — N° 7-10 speak of falling into sin and getting up.

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