FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD: St Maximilian and the Eucharist
by Fr Jerzy Domanski OFM Conv
(Franciscans of the Immaculate, 2005, 160pp, $8.00. Available from AD Books)
For the Life of the World presents a concise survey of St Maximilian Kolbe's spirituality, with its focus on the Eucharist and Mary.
The book was first written at the time of Maximilian's canonisation by John Paul II in 1982. The English translator, Fr Peter D. Fehlner, states as the book's aim, "to clarify and promote what is central in this Saint of the Immaculate". This involves "total consecration to the Immaculate" and "total identification of one's own will with hers, of one's own fiat with her fiat". This in turn centres on Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, "a mystery prolonged for us in the Eucharist."
Fr Felix Rossetti, in his Preface to the original 1982 edition, explains St Maximilian's approach as follows: "Perfect devotion to Mary coincides with adoring love for Christ really present, in His divinity and in His humanity, under the eucharistic species. To love Mary is the equivalent of loving and praising her Son, Jesus. St Maximilian's love for the Immaculate was in direct proportion to his love for his eucharistic Lord."
For the Life of the World includes a chronological outline of the life of St Maximilian and then draws on his writings as well as the recollections of those who knew him to provide well- rounded examinations of his spirituality. Included are sections devoted to the priesthood, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration and the role of Mary.
This little book makes for inspirational reading at a time when many Catholics' understanding of the Eucharist has become distorted or secularised, with a consequent loss of reverence towards the real presence.