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Kolbean Reflections

The Prayer that Renews the World

 

December 2018
Bread

 

How many memories! The first steps in Poland in 1995, our frequent visits to the Museum at Auschwitz and to Maximilian Kolbe’s cell to pray. We like to watch the various groups of tourists that exited the buses in the nearby parking lot of the Camp. One day we noticed a group of Italian youth: the leaders were distributing to the young people some little containers of meat, drinks and other things. We thought of their long trip, of the fact that they didn’t know the Polish language and…that they didn’t know where or how to buy bread! We thus decided to buy some pieces of bread for their whole group, a gift. It’s not easy to describe the joy of those young people. It often happened that some poor people would knock on our door. We thought they would ask for a small offering, instead they always asked for bread, nothing else. They were children, men, women. Our heart cried while we gave them all the bread that we had. 

We know that more than once, Kolbe gave his ration of bread to a hungry prisoner and a few times was able to celebrate Mass in hiding. He would take his bread (that would have to be for the whole day of work) and would break it into many little pieces so that many would be able to have communion. He never wanted anything in return, according to a witness. Aleksander Dziuba. In the martyr’s cell, naked, with only strength coming from prayer and love, he himself became the same bread and viaticum for nine companions, for all the other prisoners, for the SS themselves, repeating in silence: “Take and eat, this is my body offered in sacrifice for you!”

Bread is a symbol of encounter, dialogue, friendship, love. It holds more than a thousand words. Bethlehem means House of Bread. At Christmas, God truly gives us Bread, his Word: Jesus is the greatest “gift.” Let us welcome him with awe and with joy!




The Missionaries of Harmeze, Poland

 



 
 
 
 

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