Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Unassuming Max

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (August 14)

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15)

One of St. Maximilian Kolbe's greatest virtues was his complete and total obedience to the will of God, and in particular, as God's will was made manifest to him through the directions of his superiors. His obedience calls to mind the saying of St. Teresa of Avila, El que obedezca nunca se equivoca, "He who obeys never makes a mistake."

The obedience of the saints undoes the disobedience of Adam and Eve to the only injunction God gave in the Garden of Eden. The one thing forbidden was the fruit of that one tree. Everything else was fair game, carte blanche, do as you like. Living in history since the Fall in the Garden, we find ourselves with all sorts of unruly desires that make us want all sorts of things that are not good for us, or even want good things, but in all sorts of bad ways. Before the Fall, it was easy to be good. Since the Fall, it has been very hard. Being good often feels like following a bunch of rules. Being good requires frequent self-sacrifice, and the most difficult self-sacrifice of all is the sacrifice of our free will. We are not speaking here of brainwashing or other techniques to rob somebody of his free will by force. We are speaking of a person voluntarily saying, "Not my will, but thine be done, Father," as Jesus did in another Garden the night he was betrayed (Mt 26:39).

The Blessed Virgin Mary, preserved from the moment of her Immaculate Conception from every taint of sin, was in the perfect position to be perfectly, easily obedient to God. Her sinlessness did not hamper her perfect freedom, but made it possible. She was still free at every moment to reject sin or to reject God. Yet she always obeyed. What drug addict is so free, free to either do drugs or not? Sin makes slaves of us, our Lord teaches (John 8:34). St. Paul explains how this enslavement, like the drugee's addiction, works toward death (Rom 6). Mary, who was free of from sin, was also free from its wages (Rom 6:23). Her uncorrupted soul found expression in her uncorrupted body.

We must pray daily for the grace, the life of God in us, to live obedient to God's will, seeking first the kingdom (Mt 6:33), and casting aside every encumbrance that holds us back from persevering in obedience (Heb 12:1). Having cast off the dead wait of sin, especially with the help of the prayers of the Great Mother of God, we will have nothing to prevent us from also being assumed into heaven.

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