Our Heavenly Father is the first principle and ultimate end of all.
Human language and the intelligence of man, in an altogether inadequate fashion, endeavor to think and to talk of God by borrowing concepts from the environment that surrounds them. These concepts are imperfect, yet they are truthful.
From divine revelation, we know that from eternity and for ever the Father begets the Son, while the Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son. This life of the Most Holy Trinity resonates, in the most diverse and innumerable echoes, in the creatures that emerge from the hands of the Triune God, in the form of more or less distant semblances of Him. The universal principle according to which each effect is similar to the cause, has its full application here too, and it is an application even more strictly due to the fact that God creates out of nothing; anything that exists in creation, then, is all His work.
From the Father, through the Son and the Holy Spirit, descends every act of God’s love: creative acts, acts that maintain existence, acts that give life and its growth, both in the order of nature and in the order of grace. Thus, God bestows love on His innumerable finite semblances; and even creation’s reaction of love does not ascend to the Father except through the Spirit and the Son. That does not always occur in full awareness, yet it always truly occurs. Only God and no one else is the creator of the act of love of creatures, but if one of these creatures is endowed with free will, this act does not take place without his or her consent.
The highest manifestation [vertex] of the love of creation returning to God is the Immaculata, the being without stain of sin, all beautiful, all God’s. Not even for an instant did her will move away from the will of God. She has belonged always and freely to God. In her there takes place the miracle of God’s union with creation. To her, as to His bride, the Father entrusts the Son, the Son descends in her virginal womb, becoming a son to her, while in her the Holy Spirit prodigiously shapes the body of Jesus and comes to dwell in her soul. He [the Holy Spirit] permeates her so ineffably that the definition of “Bride of the Holy Spirit” is but a distant semblance of the life of the Holy Spirit in her and through her. In Jesus there are two natures (the divine and the human) and one sole person (the divine one), while here there are two natures as well as two persons, the Holy Spirit and the Immaculata. Yet, the union of the divinity with mankind surpasses all understanding.
From the moment that this union took place, the Holy Spirit grants no graces, the Father, through the Son and Spirit, infuses no supernatural life into the soul except through the Mediatrix of all graces, the Immaculata, with her consent, with her collaboration. She receives all the treasures of grace in property and distributes them unto whom and to the extent that she herself wants.
Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man, the God-Man, the Mediator between God and mankind, is the fruit of the love of God and of the Immaculata. As the Son from eternity is, so to speak, the mediator between the Father and the Spirit, so Jesus, the Incarnate Son, has become the mediator between the Father and the Holy Spirit—quasi incarnate [quasi incarnatus]—[that is,] the Immaculata, Representative, Spiritual Mother of all humanity. In no other way than through her does the love of the creatures reach Jesus and, through Him, the Father. The creatures are not always aware of this, and yet this is always the case.
In practice, souls will appeal directly and with full liberty both to the Immaculata and to the divine Spirit, both to Jesus–Eternal Word and to the Heavenly Father. Yet, the more keenly a soul understands that all acts of love are addressed to the Father, who is the ultimate goal, and that in the Immaculata such acts take up an immaculate purity—while in Jesus they obtain infinite value worthy of the Holy Majesty of the Father—the more it will blaze forth with love for Jesus and Mary.
The soul offers to the Immaculata its acts of love, not as an object delivered to any mediator, but in property, in full and exclusive property because it understands that the Immaculata offers such acts to Jesus as though they were hers; that is to say, she offers them to Jesus without stain, immaculate. Jesus then offers them to the Father. This way, the soul becomes more and more of the Immaculata, just as the Immaculata is of Jesus, and Jesus is the Father’s.
And since life within the Most Holy Trinity consists of the ebb and flow of love, so it is also between the Creator and the creature who returns to the Creator, from whom it had come.
— From the writings of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, KW 1310
Before his final arrest which culminated in his martyrdom of charity, St. Maximilian M. Kolbe was in the midst of dictating material for a projected book on the Immaculate. Such a project was apparently something he had in mind for years. Fr. Jerzy Domanski, an expert on the life and writings of St. Maximilian, who personally knew him, detected such indications in his thought as early as 1919, when he was a newly ordained priest. We find an explicit revelation of his intention in an entry of the diary of his brother, Fr. Alphonsus, recorded in the year 1928, some thirteen years before the Saint’s death:
He [St. Maximilian] projected the writing of a Mariology, indeed an entire course in dogmatic theology, in popular style, animated, vivacious. It would take account of the latest developments in science, so as to confirm theses sustained primarily on the basis of miracles whose authenticity had been recognized by competent scholars.
Kolbe understood the need to provide a solid speculative or “theoretical” framework to arrive at the most accurate and secure knowledge of Our Lady. He was well aware that the attempts of so many, even among those of good will, to downplay Marian devotion “stem from the fact that they do not know Our Lady well enough.” Having obtained doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology, he himself was well prepared to expound the mystery. He exhorted his confreres at Niepokalanów to likewise engage in serious studies of the mystery:
We should also think about deepening our knowledge of the Immaculata.
Knowledge of her relationship to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, to the whole Most Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, to the angels and to us men, so that such knowledge may become brighter and brighter, through humble studies enlivened by prayer. That material is inexhaustible.
Subsequently, the results of this preliminary research should be offered to all men and to each individually through words, the press, the radio, etc.
However, St. Maximilian also knew that it is not sufficient to gain a merely theoretical knowledge of the Immaculate. One must also and, above all, gain a practical knowledge, i.e., a personal knowledge that is saving. How is this practical knowledge to be gained? The Saint offers a particularly revealing insight in another of his writings:
How little is still known about the Immaculata in theory and even less in practice! How many preconceptions, misunderstandings, difficulties agitate minds! May the Immaculata enable her Niepokalanów to shed light on such darkness, to dispel these cold fogs and revive, rekindle love toward herself without limitation with full freedom, without those vain fears that hamper and chill hearts! So that we may start looking for the King not near this palace, but within it, inside, in its inner rooms.
In order to find God, the Saint invites the reader to enter mystically into the “palace,” that is, the womb of the Blessed Virgin. There—not near, but within the palace—all the “vain fears,” the “preconceptions, misunderstandings, difficulties” about Mary, about Jesus, about God, are dispelled. There, knowledge is transformed into love, because it involves entering into communion with the Most Holy Trinity:
Essential knowing of the truth, i.e., communion with the truth itself, is therefore the real entering into the interior of the Divine Trinity, and not only an ideal touching of the Trinity’s outer form. Therefore, real knowledge, knowledge of the truth is possible only through the transubstantiation of man, through his deification, through the acquisition of love as the divine essence. He who is not with God does not know God. In love and only in love is real knowledge of truth conceivable.
Where there is communion with God, there one is immersed in divine love. By God’s design, Mary is the Mediatrix of divine love in souls, because “in her there takes place the miracle of God’s union with creation.” This “palace,” the Mother of God, carries within herself the very life and love of the Trinity. Rightly, therefore, does the Church in her liturgy apply these words from the Book of Proverbs to the Virgin Mary: “He who finds me finds life” (Prov 8:35).
This is the subject St. Maximilian’s reflections in number 1310 of his writings. In the course of a few short paragraphs he sketches a portrait of man’s sublime calling to enter into the very life of God, of the Trinity, illustrating how Mary is the necessary gateway to this life.
To make his point, he turns to empirical science. He draws an analogy from the world of mechanics (physics)—Isaac Newton’s law of action and reaction—to explain the ebb and flow of divine love: an eternal “ebb and flow” at the very heart of the Trinity which is true Life.
This ebb and flow of divine love is reflected in God’s act of creation. “The life of the Most Holy Trinity,” he writes, “resonates, in the most diverse and innumerable echoes, in the creatures that emerge from the hands of the Triune God.” All of creation comes to participate in that mysterious ebb and flow of love—even without “full awareness.” But for creatures endowed with free will, their participation requires that they give their “yes” to the divine action: “Rational creatures love Him consciously and unite themselves to Him more and more through such love: they make their way back to Him.”
This “reaction” of creation occurs in a reverse order with respect to God’s creative act. “From the Father, through the Son and the Holy Spirit, descends every act of God’s love: creative acts, acts that maintain existence, acts that give life and its growth, both in the order of nature and in the order of grace. Thus, God bestows love on His numberless finite semblances; and even creation’s reaction of love does not ascend to the Father except through the Spirit and the Son.”
And so, there is an “opposite” reaction. But is it an “equal” reaction? Can it be?
God himself makes this possible, the Saint answers:
God lowers himself toward his own creature and joins himself to them with a love that absorbs all that infinite space: he takes them into his own family, makes them his own children.
Man is finite, but he is capable of placing a personal act in loving the infinite God as his supreme good and in willing all that God wills. Moved by divine love that “absorbs all that infinite space,” he can enter into communion with the Holy Trinity.
But there is another condition for this reaction to be constituted “equal”: the creature must never move “away from the will of God… not even for an instant.” If, as we know from our own experience, man “imperfectly reciprocates such [divine] love with love,” is there a creature to be found who does so perfectly? Yes, the Saint answers: the Immaculate, the one who is “woven into the love of the Most Blessed Trinity”:
The Holy Spirit dwells in her, [he] lives in her, and that from the first moment of her existence, always and eternally. What does this life of the Holy Spirit in her consist of? He himself is love in her, the love of the Father and of the Son, the love with which God loves himself, the love of the whole Most Holy Trinity.
By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the most perfect way possible among creatures, whereby “the love of the whole Most Holy Trinity” is found in her—the grace of the Immaculate Conception—she is rendered capable of returning that love most perfectly. And she actually does, because “not even for an instant did her will move away from the will of God.” In virtue of this grace, she places this act of love, not only on her own behalf, but on behalf of all creation:
In the union of the Holy Spirit with her, not only does love unite these two Beings, but the first one of them is all the love of the Most Holy Trinity, while the second is all the love of creation. Thus, in this union Heaven meets earth, all of Heaven with all of the earth, all Uncreated Love with all created love: it is the highest expression of love.
The “fruit” of this action-reaction dynamic of love is that the Immaculate “becomes Mother of God. Christ, God-Man, is the fruit of the love of the One and Triune God and of Mary Immaculate.”
St. Maximilian thereby does not deny, but affirms the truth that Jesus Christ is the One Mediator (1 Tim 2:5) between God and man. He insists, however, that the power of Christ’s mediation is unlocked by the “reactive” loving consent of the Virgin Mary to the Father’s act of love. This is the “miracle of God’s union with creation.” As St. Teresa of Calcutta once put it with great simplicity: “no Mary, no Jesus”—meaning that Jesus and His work are dependent not only upon the person of Mary, but also upon her loving consent.
As the Second Vatican Council states, Our Lady’s mediation of all graces “rests on [Christ’s] mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.” But if Our Lady’s mediation is dependent upon and subordinate to Christ’s one mediation, it is no less true, in the mind of St. Maximilian, that our salvation depends upon her mediation, “because there is no other way de facto whereby the Son comes to us and we go to the Son.” “From the moment that this union [of the divinity with mankind] took place,” writes the Saint, “the Holy Spirit grants no grace, the Father, through the Son and Spirit, infuses no supernatural life into the soul except through the Mediatrix of all graces, the Immaculata, with her consent, with her collaboration”; and “in no other way than through her does the love of the creatures reach Jesus and, through Him, the Father.” This truth, confirmed by the Church’s magisterium, was reiterated by Pope Benedict XVI:
She, the Tota Pulchra, the Virgin Most Pure, who conceived in her womb the Redeemer of humankind and was preserved from all stain of original sin, wishes to be the definitive seal of our encounter with God our Savior. There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady.
Thus, “the aim of each man is to belong to God [the Father] through Jesus, who is the Mediator with the Father, and to belong to Jesus through the Mediatrix of all graces, the Immaculata.” But in order for one to truly belong to the Father, it is necessary for that one to be holy and immaculate in the Father’s sight. This, too, does not and cannot happen apart from the maternal mediation of Our Lady. Or, to refer again to Kolbe’s analogy, there is no “equal” reaction to the Father’s loving action apart from belonging “to Jesus through the Mediatrix of all graces.”
What then is distinctive of [Mary’s] maternal mediation is the sanctification or purification of the Church and her members; whereas the quasi-infinite worth of the Church and her members since macula, sine ruga [without spot or wrinkle] (Eph 5:27), such that the Father sees in his adoptive children what he has always beheld in his only-begotten Son, stems from the infinite character of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But that quasi-infinite worth is mediated by His Mother, and without her mediation no one can appear in the Father’s sight as his son.
God sees all the love of creation in the Immaculate. Hence, the more we belong to Mary, the more our “reaction” of love is purified and enfolded into her “reaction,” which is made in the name of all creation. This is, in effect, the essence of living out total consecration to Our Lady. “The soul offers to the Immaculata its acts of love, not as an object delivered to any mediator, but in property, in full and exclusive property because it understands that the Immaculata offers such acts to Jesus as though they were hers.”
[The Knight of the Immaculata] knows that, in him and through him, she will love Jesus in a way incomparably more perfect than he himself might strive to do with any other means.
He knows that, just as any grace from God the Father through Jesus and the Immaculata descends into his soul, so by no other way is any response to such grace, any exchange of love for love, able to and allowed to rise up to the Father, except through her and Jesus.
He knows that that is the only way to achieve the easiest and most sublime holiness, to render the greatest possible glory to God.
The love of God, therefore, does not allow him to miss this opportunity, but urges him to win his own heart every day more over to the Immaculata.
By making use of an analogy, through his use of a Newtonian principle, which ingeniously brings the world of empirical science into contact with theology, St. Maximilian ably presented a truth not easy to grasp, much less to fully live out, yet one which is “so necessary for practical life, for the conversion and sanctification of souls.” Upon the acceptance of Marian mediation at the heart or summit of this dynamic of love, he was convinced, depends the renewal of religious and Catholic life, as well as the renewal of society at large. The entire program of the movement he founded, the Militia of the Immaculate, is fueled by this exigency:
We must constantly strengthen the love for the Immaculata in souls, tighten the bond of love that exists between her and souls, so that they may become one with her—become her herself; so that She herself may live and love (act) in them and through them. Just as she is of Jesus and of God, so each soul will become of Jesus and of God through her and in her, in a much more perfect way than either without her or not through her, if that were even possible.
Then souls will love the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as they have never loved Him before, because, like her, and in ways they have never experienced before, they will plunge into the mysteries of Love: the Cross and the Eucharist. Through her, God’s Love shall kindle the world, set it on fire, and lead to the “assumption” of souls through Love.
The ultimate phrase of the above citation, mystical in import—and there are many such phrases in Kolbe’s writings—brings to mind once again the image of Our Lady as the palace within which we must seek our Savior King. Evidently, the reflections of St. Maximilian are not merely the fruit of formal studies. Rather, it is clear that he himself had first entered the palace to ponder the treasures therein, only then to shed another ray of mystical light on their captivating luster.
“All the saints are theologians, and only the saints are theologians.” There is a certain primacy of what St. Bonaventure referred to as contemplative theology: a knowledge of God which is not gained by the application of human reason through study, but rather is an infused or mystical knowledge encompassed within the love of God as the supreme Good. The science of the saints helps us not only to know the Truth better, but to live it and to love it as we are called to do. They exhort us to behold the Mediatrix of Divine Love, permitting her to transform our “reaction” of love into hers—an assumption of our souls through Love.
 Jerzy Domanski, “La genesi del pensiero mariano di s. Massimiliano Kolbe,” Miles Immaculatae, Anno XX, Fasc. 3-4 (Luglio-Dicembre 1984) 254.
 Diary of Fr. Alphonsus Kolbe, 41, cited by Domanski, “La genesi” 255.
 Conference, September 26, 1937.
 KW 647. Beginning with this issue of Missio Immaculatae International, citations from the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe are taken from the two-volume English language translation, The Writings of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Lugano: Nerbini International, 2016.
 KW 603.
 Pavel Florensky, Pillar and Ground of Truth, trans. Boris Jakim (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997) 56. This work was first published in 1914. This passage by the Russian Orthodox philosopher and mystic priest (1882-1937) is remarkable for the affinity of its language with that employed by St. Maximilian in some of his writings—as, for example, the analogous use of the term “transubstantiation.”
 Cf. Lectionary of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1992. Mass no. 32: “The Blessed Virgin Mary: Mother and Teacher in the Spirit.”
 KW 1326.
 KW 1326.
 KW 1318.
 KW 1295.
 Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 60.
 P. D. Fehlner, St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, Martyr of Charity, Pneumatologist. His Theology of the Holy Spirit (New Bedford: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004) 74; cf. KW 634.
 Benedict XVI, “Homily for Canonization Mass of St. Anthony Galvão,” Campo de Marte in São Paulo, Brazil (May 11, 2007).
 KW 1329.
 Fehlner, Pneumatologist 129.
 Cf. KW 1318.
 KW 1325.
 KW 508.
 The Saint expressed this thought many times in his writings; cf., for example, KW 21, KW 627, KW 668 and KW 1222.
 KW 991/Q.
 F. M. Léthel, Connaître l’amour du Christ qui surpasse toute connaisance. La théologie des Saints (Venasque, 1989) 3, cited in P. D. Fehlner, St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, Martyr of Charity, Pneumatologist. His Theology of the Holy Spirit (New Bedford: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004) 14, footnote 18.
 Knowledge gained through study often precedes, but need not precede, even a superior mystical or contemplative knowledge of the divine mysteries. Thus, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, just to cite a couple of examples, arrived at such a superior mystical knowledge without ever having engaged in formal theological studies.