Category Archives: Maximilian Kolbe

Salem Matti Kourk: Hated and Murdered by ISIS; Loved by God and God's Mom

IT  MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

I guess there is nothing like the  shocking beheading of a live, innocent, helpless person by gutless, yellow-bellied devil lovers dressed in black pajamas to garner world attention.  The high-profile, barbaric murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff  have done just that.  Their murders have been emblazoned across the print headlines and media air waves giving Satan’s favorite “crew”, ISIS, the publicity it sought.

James Foley and Steven Sotloff have been introduced to all of us as individuals.  We saw their photos, we learned about their background and their families.  They could have been any one of us.  It became personal for us and we can feel some of the horror and pain these young men must have felt as death approached them.  Yet so many thousands have been murdered in this modern day genocide. We recoil at the numbers but the individuality of all those executed evades us. The Holocaust claiming six million Jews is not the same as hearing the story of Anne Frank or Maximilian Kolbe.

Anne was a youngster we could relate to because, like all of us, she had a name, a family, siblings, a home, ambitions and desires.  Plus, she left behind that most famous diary.  We can identify with her because she was not just a statistic, she was a real person, the same as James Foley and Steven Sotloff.   Maximilian Kolbe was a Catholic priest who offered his own life so that  a Jewish husband and father might live.  His request was granted and the Nazis starved him to death. We can be inspired by the courage and selflessness of such individual acts of brotherly love.  Maximilian Kolbe was canonized a saint  on October 10, 1982 by Pope John Paul II.  And only last April, Father Frans Van der Lugt, a Catholic priest who had worked in Syria for 50 years, was dragged from his church by agents of ISIS.  They beat him unmercifully and then shot him in the head twice.  Father Van der Lugt was 75 years old.  Three died because of their love of God and two died because they were Americans.

There are so many thousands that have been brutally executed by the ISIS maniacs. So many whose names we shall never know or hear.  So many who were brutally tortured and murdered because of their Christian faith.  So here is one of those with a name, a person we can identify with.  He was not famous or well known.  He was, for the most part, just like the rest of us, unknown.  His name was Salem Matti Kourk.  He was 43 years old and was an Orthodox Christian.

In early August, the Islamist State “Christian haters”, aka ISIS or ISIL,  had taken control of Mosul,  the second largest city in Iraq.  Thirteen miles east of Mosul is the town of Bartella.  ISIS had also secured that town.  We  are well aware of how Mosul, the oldest Christian city in the world, has been overrun and how the city’s ancient churches were destroyed while almost the entire Christian population had either fled or been killed.  Over in Bartella similar atrocities were taking place.  Salem Matti Kourk, a Syrian Christian, had a heart condition.  He could not flee with his family and friends because of his disability.  So they stockpiled food and drink and other supplies for him and he remained behind, hiding out in an abandoned apartment.  The days came and went.

Three weeks later the food and water had run out.  Salem became a bit desperate and eventually decided to leave his hiding place in search of food and water.  Sick and weakened, he did not get far.  ISIS “swine” discovered him near the Church of the Virgin Mary.  They demanded he renounce Christianity and accept Islam.  They screamed at him and kicked him and bludgeoned him with clubs and rifle butts. The kept at it until Salem’s battered body could not withstand anymore.

Salem gave up his spirit and his body rolled over dead.   The Satan “lovers” left him in front of the church and walked away laughing.  Salem Matti Kourk had died a martyr’s death.  He was alone, terrified, and surrounded by thugs that hated him.  Yet, through it all,  he refused to renounce his belief in Jesus.  But maybe, just maybe, he was not alone.

I like to think that being in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary, our dearest Mother stood nearby waiting for him.  I like to think he saw her waiting.  I have a profound feeling Salem walked away from that place with his Mother’s arm around his shoulder.  I can see her leaning over and kissing his battered forehead.  Salem was smiling.  He will smile for all eternity.

I Love Being Catholic and It Is Easy To Do

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson

I was born a Catholic, raised a Catholic and I am still a Catholic. Even with a secular college education I remained a Catholic. I am considered fairly intelligent although some of my opinions have had some of the intelligentsia consider me an idiot. I do not care. I LOVE being Catholic. That’s right, I do love being Catholic and permit me to let you in on a little secret, IT IS EASY TO DO! Just keep it simple.  How? You reach inside yourself, admit that you are not nearly as smart as you think you are and DO NOT “outhink” the fundamentals.

What are the fundamentals? The “Golden Rule” encapsulates it all. Love God. How? By Loving your neighbor. How do you do that? You treat him/her the way you would like to be treated. You do not pass judgment on them and you “forgive them their trespasses”. That’s it. That is being Catholic. Where does the strength and courage come from to help us live this way? From the Risen Christ Who is there every single day of the week for us in the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.

I am a writer. I am not famous or anything like that. I  have no idea who might even read this. But I write every day so I am a writer. In my office at home I am surrounded by  a bunch of books about a whole bunch of stuff. My task bar on my desktop has the dictionary, Wikipedia , Google translate and other links at my fingertips for immediate reference. I have all the news information a click of the mouse away. I know about the church scandals, the pedophilia  and the defrocked clerics that shamed the church so badly. It changes NOTHING as far as the fundamentals are concerned. Those people decided not to follow the Golden Rule and used their positions to disgrace themselves, hurt the innocent and scandalize the Church that trusted them. No matter what, that church has never deterred from her fundamentals. It was some of the people entrusted with her care who did that.

Tomorrow the College of Cardinals will conclave. They will go into the Sistine Chapel, the doors will be locked behind them and they will not exit until a new Pope is elected. There will be no communication with the outside world. There are over five thousand journalists on hand to cover the proceedings and the speculation about topics such as birth-control, women’s ordination, “reproductive rights”, gay marriage and other subjects will get top billing. None of the thousands are reporting about the love and forgiveness the church teaches or the charity it extends and has extended to millions over the decades. None of them has a clue as to what is going on inside the conclave. Yet they will speculate and offer rumors. It is what it is.

My Pollyana side imagines that some of these folks might report about some of the simple catholics who have lived and died their faith following the Golden Rule. Catholics like St. Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who gave his life at Auschwitz so a man who had children could live. He was starved to death. They could mention Blessed Frederick Ozanam, the 21 year old student from Paris who founded the St. Vincent De Paul Society in 1833 and how this society is today a worldwide charity serving countless millions each year and also was the first charity in the United States. One more is Venerable Solanus Casey, a simple priest who spent most of his life as a doorman at the monastery where he lived. They called him “Barney” and his kind words to people coming and going made him renowned. It was all because he stuck to the fundamentals.

Yessiree, I LOVE being Catholic. All you have to do is keep it simple and L-Y-N (love your neighbor)

                                                           copyright © 2013 Larry Peterson