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Wednesday, August 14, 2002

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St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Ezekiel 9:1-7; 10:18-22
Psalm 113
Matthew 18:15-20

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quite a "character"

"Pass through the city [through Jerusalem] and mark an X on the foreheads of those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within it." —Ezekiel 9:4

Thousands of years before the end of the world, the Lord revealed to Ezekiel some of the most important matters about the world's end. For example, He told Ezekiel that the only people who would be spared destruction were those with a T-shaped mark on their foreheads (Ez 9:4). John in the last book of the Bible referred to this, quoting an angel: "Do no harm to the land or the sea or the trees until we imprint this seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God" (Rv 7:3).

This mark or seal is what the Church has traditionally called the "character," that is, the invisible mark received at Baptism (Catechism, 1272). The Church teaches: "The faithful Christian who has 'kept the seal' until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life 'marked with the sign of faith,' with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God — the consummation of faith — and in the hope of resurrection" (Catechism, 1274). To be spared the destruction of the end of the world and to be spared damnation, we must not only be baptized (see Mk 16:16) but also be living our Baptisms (see Rm 6:3).

Therefore, let us live the baptismal mark, seal, sign of the cross by sacrificing ourselves totally to the Lord. Let us escape destruction and live forever with the Lord.

Prayer:  Father, I renew my baptismal promises by rejecting Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises. I believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Promise:  "Again, I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by My Father in heaven. Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst." —Mt 18:19-20

Praise:  St. Maximilian was canonized by a fellow Pole who had been indirectly blessed by his ministry, Pope John Paul II.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002