Despite Nazi control of the media, Father Maximilian is able to publish his magazine, urging Poles to search for the truth.
Note: This is part of a serial fiction series focusing on the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe, following the life of a fictional character as he encounters the saint. New chapters are released every Sunday! For previous chapter(s), click here.
The printing machines were whirring with activity as Piotr and many others worked feverishly to print their single issue of The Knight of the Immaculata.
The Nazis had given them permission to print one issue, and Father Maximilian was going to make the best of it.
Piotr still couldn’t believe they were printing their magazine during a time when the whole country was on lockdown and war raged throughout Europe.
It was like he was living in a dreamworld.
After two and a half weeks, the machines stopped and Father Maximilian entered to room to inspect the magazine. He looked closely at each one and read through the articles one last time before they started delivering them.
Father Maximilian read out loud a part of the article that he wrote.
“No one can alter truth. What we can do and should do is search for truth and then serve it when we have found it.”
Father Maximilian paused and then turned to Piotr.
“What will the Nazis do, Piotr, when they read this article? They are built on lies and we are telling people to search for the truth!”
Piotr stumbled to respond.
“I-I can’t imagine they will be happy, Father.”
Father Maximilian smiled and put his hand on Piotr’s shoulder.
“We may lose our lives, Piotr, but so be it! I am ready and willing to sacrifice everything for the Truth, the One who can bring us eternal happiness! Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul … The Nazis will NEVER be victorious in this world! Their power is finite, while the Lord is INFINITE! This is why I am always happy, even in the face of death.”
Piotr understood what was said, but for the first time, he realized that the Nazis would likely be knocking at their door in the coming days.
He already had a suspicion, as strange figures would be seen in the shadows of their monastery, writing things down in notebooks. He didn’t know for sure, but he believed Nazi spies were watching their every move, ready to pounce on them.
Piotr was surprised they had lasted this long!
Father Maximilian stepped away and addressed everyone in the printing office.
“Brothers, now is the time I have been eagerly waiting for. We will distribute these 120,000 copies of The Knight of the Immaculata. The Nazis will be watching our every move and have control of the postal service. If we send the magazine through the mail, they will burn every copy. Our task now is to hand-deliver these copies to the clergy and the people in Poland.”
After Father Maximilian’s speech, Piotr and the others started to load the magazines onto their vehicle. A few of the brothers were given the weighty task of delivering the magazines to their former subscribers. They knew the addresses well, but were worried that they might get stopped by the Nazis for a surprise inspection.
Over the next few days Piotr grew nervous as the brothers had not returned. Were they stopped? Are they in prison?
Unexpectedly he heard their vehicle coming down the road and Piotr rushed out to meet them, overjoyed at seeing they were safe.
“Were you successful? Are all the magazines delivered?”
One of the brothers came out and smiled, relating to Piotr the results of their campaign.
“Every last one was delivered! You should have seen the faces of the priests and families who received a copy! They were so happy to see our faces again and to read a magazine that wasn’t Nazi propaganda! It was difficult to leave them as I could see they were starving for truth! The Nazis control all the modern means of communication, radio, film, newspapers. The Nazis are ready and willing to censor anybody who does not agree with their agenda … this magazine was a beacon of light to the Polish people!”
His words were true, and in the subsequent days and weeks, the monastery received letter after letter praising the magazine. Many of the Polish people were overjoyed to read the magazine and wrote back patriotic slogans, such as “The Dawn of Liberty Arises.”
Father Maximilian was thrilled by the response and began preparations to request permission to print a second issue.
Piotr approached Father Maximilian and asked him about it.
“Father, how could the Nazis possibly give us permission for a second issue? They barely gave us permission for this issue!”
Father Maximilian smiled and said, “If God wills it, it will happen. I am not afraid, even though I am certain I will not live through this war…”
Piotr noticed Father Maximilian close his eyes as if he was praying. A seriousness washed over his face, but then he looked back up to Piotr and smiled.
“Don’t worry if I am arrested and taken away! It will be nothing — only the changing of the guard!”
A few weeks later the Gestapo knocked on the monastery’s doors …
Come back next Sunday for the next chapter!