More on the experience of ‘eucatastrophe,’ but from the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe

I am doing my annual novena to St. Maximilian Kolbe ( a different one from the one I publish for my readers) and in it I have been reminded of some examples of ‘eucatastrophe,’ the term coined by JRR Tolkien that I introduced to you in “This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” It means a sudden reversal of fortune resulting in a great good; as opposed to ‘catastrophe, meaning something ending in disaster.

Those of you who are familiar with the Life of St. Maximilian know of these; the first example is when he had started printing his monthly newspaper. He was under orders not to incur any debt for the friary he was posted to, and yet when the bill came for the print run for the first issue, he couldn’t afford to pay it. With this catastrophe looming before him, threatening to destroy his apostolate before it even was launched, St. Maximilian turned to Our Lady and prayed for assistance. While leaving the chapel, he noticed an envelop resting upon the altar with the words “For you, Oh Immaculate.” In the envelope was the exact sum in Polish marks that he needed to pay the bill. His apostolate was largely self-supporting afterwards (which is not to say that it never incurred debt, just that the means were eventually found to pay it before disaster!)

Another time was when his apostolate was getting too large for the friary it was based in. St. Max knew that he needed a more centralized location in Poland. The friary was then located in Grodno, in eastern Poland, which is now in Belarus. He desired something more in the country’s interior, perhaps near Warsaw or Krakow. He discovered suitable land, easily near population centers and transportation hubs that was perfect for his needs. Upon approaching the owner of the land, he convinced him that the land should be donated. The property was originally for sale at a price too high for St. Max. Upon discussion, and perhaps being influenced by St. Max’s personality and charm, with no small amount of assistance from the Immaculata, Prince Drucki-Lubecki donated the land. 

These are two examples of ‘eucatastrophe,’ wherein Divine Providence reaches out to someone either in despair or great need, and suddenly they find themselves in a situation markedly different from just before, and a situation that is highly positive and beneficial.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)