The power of Love against the dictatorship of the Self

“A single act of love makes the soul return to life”

St. Maximilian Kolbe

There was a famous rich man who was invited to one of the famous television stations for an interview. One of the interviewers asked him, “Is there anyone richer than you in the world?” The rich man replied “YES, there is someone who is richer than me.” The interviewers were shocked and astonished by his ambiguous answer. One of them asked him, “Who is that person?” Then the richer man narrated this story:

It was the time when I had nothing, the time when I had no direction and even hope to become who I am today, the time when I was not rich or famous. My work was to sell newspapers in the street. I was a newspapers vendor. One day I wanted to buy food from a vendor but I realized that I did not have sufficient money. So, I went to the vendor and told him that I want to buy food but I do not have enough money. The vendor told me not to worry; he would give me food to eat free of charge. Coincidentally, after three days, I went again to the same food vendor and told him that I was short of balance to buy food. The vendor again offered me food free of charge again.

After 25 years I became famous and rich person ever happened in the world history. I remembered that food vendor and began searching for him. After one week, I found him. I asked him, “Do you know me?” the food vendor replied, “YES, I know you”. The rich man asked him again, “Do you remember a newspapers vendor whom you gave food for free?”. The vendor said, “YES, I remember. I offered you twice”. Then I told a vendor, “I have come to you, I want to repay the help you offered me that time”. I told him that, “Ask for whatever you want in your life, tell me, and I will fulfill it.” The vendor said, “Boss, do you not think by doing so you will not be able to match my help?” The rich man asked “why?” The vendor replied, “I helped you when I was a poor food vendor and you are now trying to help me when you have become the richest man in the world.” He then added, “How can your help match with mine?” That day, the richer man realized that the food vendor was richer than him because he did not wait to become rich in order to help someone. 

We need to understand that the truly rich are those who possess a rich heart rather than trillions of money. It is very important to have a rich heart first. Do you remember that woman in Mark 12:41-44 who offered to God all that she had? Indeed, the woman had a generous heart and today she gives us a challenge on how and what we should do to others. Do not wait until you become rich in order to help someone. Helping is all about self-giving and a loving heart.

I once said, “We are extremely selfish and greedy to some extent we rebuff our neighbours the crumbs when we are taking bread.” We are too selfish to the extent that we only think and consider the I, me and myself. We have lost the sense of a Christocentric heart of giving oneself for others without ceasing or fearing what others might say about us. We have to restore the divine consciousness to feel the tough times our neighbours are experiencing and extend our helping hand and express love to them without judging and considering their class, race and ethnicity.

Do you remember the young man in Mark 12? He never went back to meet Jesus again. Obviously, it portrays that giving oneself is not easy. That is why the young man went disappointed and perplexed. Giving oneself to others has never been easy, we are all human being and naturally we are born and acquire the mimilism (Egoism).If one wants to vividly refute that ideology, just one day buy three sweets and meet two young kids, give two sweets to one and one sweet to the other kid will never be happy. If that is your own making, then give the sweets to one kid and tell him to share with the other kid, then observe.

Mama Teresa of Calcutta says, “The fruit of prayer is the deepening of faith, and the fruit of faith is love, and the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace” she then added saying that “the works of love are the works of peace.” This saying is real summary of what she lived and indeed the whole mission of her entire life. Dear friends, it is our vocation and responsibility to live for others and share whatever small we have with our neighbours.

There are some people who have lived it to the extreme, to the point of giving oneself for others through death. Maximilian Mary Kolbe gave his life in place of another man who was supposed to be put to death. Maximilian felt the man’s weeping towards his wife and little kid and decided to give his life for the man’s survival. Maximilian says that, “Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Without sacrifice, there is no love.”

I like saying that “The hardest war is against the self.” Denying oneself for others is not an easy task, it requires a humble and loving heart. We are all obliged to have control over the self, Jesus Christ won this war, and He even gave His life on the Cross for our sins. We should let love be the divine measure of our actions. Then we will be able to defeat and win the self in us and being led by love always.  

Maximilian Kikwembe, Swahili Apologist


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