Carbolic Acid, a Prayer to Prisoner #16670

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Auschwitz Birkenau (source: wikipedia)

You are one of ten 20th century Saints portrayed
Above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey
What could cause men who do not know you be so swayed
That they would wish to look up and your face see?

A woman I do not know, doesn’t think you are a Saint
She hasn’t forgiven you yet, she’s holding a grudge
A man I have never met, thinks there is on you some taint
Accuses you of prejudice or false intentions, he won’t budge.

A girl I hardly know doesn’t recognize Saints at all
Thinks we Catholics are horribly confused
She told me I will go to Hell if I pray to you, or call…
…for your assistance, doesn’t understand why I am amused.

Others who shall remain nameless ridicule you, laugh
They spit on you, with words and epithets plenty
A safe practice given that you are dead enough
And can’t make them miracles or give them any bounty.

Such are the trials and tribulations of Saints and Martyrs
Such is the price you pay for Sainthood, for Veneration
Terrible the world we live in, when even self sacrifice causes stirs
When one questions who one died for, from what nation.

Apparently it is not enough that you gave your live for a man
Not enough that you gave Mass and Communion to the interned
I have no clue what was in your mind or your soul, then
Except that you never cried out or complained.

But some people would like to question what is in your heart
I know only that Franciszek Gajowniczek lived
Because you were ready to give your life for him and depart
To that realm of the Virgin Mary, whom you so loved.

Maybe it was the time you spent in Japan, in Nagasaki
Maybe you were supposed to shame Karl Fritzsch
Maybe it was because you were meant to start that monastery
Maybe my uncle was supposed to feel your touch.

I know only that you are close to my heart today
In the world so terrible and so full of horrid prophecy
I know only that if I write these words, I feel less grey
I know only that you Saint Maximilian Kolbe can look and see…

…all of us sinners standing around full of doubt and anger
Give us this day our daily communion with wine as you did so well
And maybe you can repeat for us that feat of hunger
You so patiently endured at the Auschwitz starvation cell

And then if we doubt some more, as I am sure we must
Ridicule your Sainthood, laugh at the notion of you being better
Doubt that the cures of Francis Rainer and Angelica Testoni will last
Demand you explain yourself , answer if you were a bed-wetter.

Or if some things you said in folly in your youth
Misheard by witnesses who doubt you could really be a Saint
You know, all of it, again and again, this time the real dirty truth
I mean, you have to have some flaws, there is no such thing as a saint.

Maybe then some people will forgive you for being so arrogant
That you could stand up and give your life for another
Maybe then some people will let it slide, a few rules will be bent
So that maybe some people can be excused, it won’t bother.

Maybe then you can lift up your arm patiently, with calmness
And smile at those murderers who knew not what they did
And let the Nazi’s inject you again, and again, to redress
Everyone’s doubts with that needle filled with carbolic acid.

April 21, 2011 – Konrad Tademar

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