12 Quotes from Edith Stein – Jewish convert, Carmelite Sister, Martyr and Catholic Saint.

Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Edith Stein, a Jewish woman who became a religious sister, a martyr, and Canonized Saint of the Catholic Church. If you were not familiar with the incredible conversion story and death of St. Edith Stein before reading this post today, I would encourage you to read about it here.

In her quest for truth while studying philosophy, she found the Truth, Jesus Christ, as well as the truth of philosophy in the Catholic Church. Born to Jewish parents, she converted and was baptized on January 1, 1922. Because of her love for St. Teresa of Avila, Edith Stein joined the Carmelite Order and became Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. It is quite fitting and providential that she took that name, since she would endure her own cross. She was martyred in a Nazi Concentration Camp of Auschwitz on August 9, 1942. To read more about her life, please see the aforementioned link above.

On May 1, 1987, Pope St. John Paul II beatified her and on October 11, 1998, he officially recognized her as a Saint of the Catholic Church. In his homily, which you can read here in its entirety, the Polish Pope said,

“The new saint teaches us that love for Christ undergoes suffering. Whoever truly loves does not stop at the prospect of suffering: he accepts communion in suffering with the one he loves. Aware of what her Jewish origins implied, Edith Stein spoke eloquently about them: ‘Beneath the Cross I understood the destiny of God’s People…. Indeed, today I know far better what it means to be the Lord’s bride under the sign of the Cross. But since it is a mystery, it can never be understood by reason alone.’”

Since she had such a brilliant mind, her words are often quoted, however, I am guessing that some people aren’t familiar with these words. To remedy that, I now give you 12 quotes from Saint Edith Stein for you to contemplate and pray with during this day and the rest of the week, and maybe the rest of your life –

1. “We cannot separate love for God from love for man. We acknowledge God easily, but our brother? Those with whom we do not identify his background, education, race, complexion. We could not have imagined that love for God could be so hard.”

2. “God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him — really rest — and start the next day as a new life.”

3. “Since Mary is the prototype of pure womanhood, the imitation of Mary must be the goal of girls’ education.”

4. “All I need is a quiet corner where I can talk to God each day as if there were nothing else to do. I try to make myself a tool for God. Not for myself, but only for him.”

5. “Each woman who lives in the light of eternity can fulfill her vocation, no matter if it is in marriage, in a religious order, or in a worldly profession.”

6. “O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace.”

7. “The walls of our monasteries enclose a narrow space. To erect the structure of holiness in it, one must dig deep and build high, must descend into the depths of the dark night of one’s own nothingness in order to be raised up high into the sunlight of divine love and compassion.” (Me, after reading this – “Wow!”)

8. “In the last few months one has often heard the complaint that the many prayers for peace are still without effect. What right have we to be heard? Our desire for peace is undoubtedly genuine and sincere. But does it come from a completely purified heart?”

9. “Those who join the Carmelite Order are not lost to their near and dear ones, but have been won for them, because it is our vocation to intercede to God for everyone.”

10. “Learn from St. Thérèse to depend on God alone and serve Him with a wholly pure and detached heart. Then, like her, you will be able to say ‘I do not regret that I have given myself up to Love’.”

11. “Every true prayer is a prayer of the Church; by means of that prayer the Church prays, since it is the Holy Spirit living in the Church, Who in every single soul ‘prays in us with unspeakable groanings’.”

12. “The limitless loving devotion to God, and the gift God makes of Himself to you, are the highest elevation of which the heart is capable; it is the highest degree of prayer. The souls that have reached this point are truly the heart of the Church.”

St. Edith Stein…Pray for Us..

“Mondays with Mary” – Asking for the Intercession of Saint Joseph

Last week I said I would return to the series, Mary in the Old Testament, but again I am going to suspend that series for one more week to focus on the Intercession of Saint Joseph by providing you some prayers and litanies that ask for his intercession. I can write about Saint Joseph as part of my “Mondays with Mary” series since he is so closely connected with Mary, most especially through their marital vows. Although Saint Joseph never utters a single word in the Sacred Scriptures, his presence is never forgotten and his heroic fortitude is never shaken. He listens to the Lord and in turn is obedient to Him.

Because he was the Guardian of the Redeemer and the protector of the Redeemer’s mother, Saint Joseph stands as the Patron of the Universal Church – he protects the Church as he protected Jesus and Mary. However, with Mary, he shares in her divine motherhood by protecting and interceding for that which is most precious to all of humanity. In the Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Paul II says,

“Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s “pilgrimage of faith.” It is a path along which – especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost – Mary will precede in a perfect way…The path that was Joseph’s – his pilgrimage of faith – ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, and before the time after Christ returned to the Father… Nevertheless, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian.”

So how does one ask for intercession to St. Joseph? Although there are a variety of prayers, the three most common that I personally turn to in prayer are below. The first is pretty short and focuses on any difficult affairs we might be facing. The second is a litany and I provide you with the link to the EWTN page. The third focuses exactly on my points today – his Guardianship in union with Mary. It is my hope for you that if you don’t know St. Joseph well, these prayers will begin your time with him.

O Glorious St. Joseph, whose power can render possible even things which are impossible, come to my aid in my present trouble and distress. Take under thy protection the important and difficult affairs which I entrust to thee, that they may end happily. (Pause – Petition)

My beloved Father, all my confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that I invoked thee in vain; and since thou art able to obtain everything before Jesus and Mary, show me that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen.

Litany of St. Joseph

In our tribulation we fly to thee, O blessed Joseph; and, after imploring the help of thy most holy Spouse, we ask also with confidence for thy patronage.

By the affection which united thee to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and the paternal love with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee to look kindly upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ acquired by His Precious Blood, and by thy powerful aid to help us in our needs.

Protect, most careful Guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen people of Jesus Christ. Keep us, most loving father, from all pestilence of error and corruption.

Be merciful also to us, most powerful protector, from thy place in heaven, in this warfare with the powers of darkness; and, as thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from danger of death, so now defend the Holy Church of God from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity.

Guard each one of us by thy perpetual patronage, so that, sustained by thine example and help, we have live holiness, die a holy death, and obtain the everlasting happiness of heaven. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Patron and Guardian of the Holy Catholic Church…Pray for Us.

To read more about St. Joseph, see Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Saint Joseph – The Foster-Father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church

Although today is the Third Sunday of Lent, which trumps the Solemnity of Saint Joseph; we will celebrate the Solemnity tomorrow on March 20, I still wanted to provide you with the blog posts I have written on the past that have to do with Saint Joseph. He is patron saint to me since my middle name is Joseph, and without fail my Aunt Agnes always calls me on this day to wish me a Happy Name Day.

Although St. Jospeh never says a word in the Sacred Scriptures, he is the example of heroic fortitude, steadfastness, and protection. It was his duty to care for Jesus and Mary – a duty he fulfilled wholeheartedly and without complaint. He is the type of man that all Christian men must strive to be like – single or married. Men – he is our greatest example behind Our Lord and Savior.

Here are eight blog posts I have written in the past that show the importance and the heroic fortitude of the foster-father of Jesus Christ and the Patron of the Universal Church –

1. Saint Joseph – Patron of the Universal Church

2. The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

3. “Mondays with Mary” – The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph

4. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘The Marriage that Linked Joseph to Mary’ 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Fatherhood of St. Joseph 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mary, Joseph’s Virginal Spouse’ 

7. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Joseph, and the Spousal Gift of Self

8. The Influence Saint Joseph has on Catholic Men in the 21st Century 

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of Saint Albert the Great

Since tomorrow, November 15, is the memorial of Saint Albert the Great in the Latin Calendar of the Catholic Church, I found it fitting to share with you the Marian Prayer of St. Albert the Great. St. Albert was a Dominican scholar, who along with his student, St. Thomas Aquinas, he applied Aristotelian teachings to Catholicism. You could say that St. Albert baptized Aristotle a Catholic and St. Thomas confirmed him a Catholic. St. Albert is one of the greatest minds of the Catholic Church, and only one of a few who were given the title “The Great.” To learn more about St. Albert, I would encourage you to check out the above link.

Like so many of the saints before and after him, St. Albert the Great had a abundant love, devotion, and prayer life that was associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. As you have seen in previous posts on this blog already, many of the great saints had written their own prayers specifically directed towards the Blessed Mother. They knew how important her role was in Salvation History, which continues through the Catholic Church to this day.

Mother of Grace statue, Altotting, Germany

Mother of Grace statue, Altotting, Germany

As I often do in many of my posts, I have given links to other blog posts that will lead you to understand theological ideas in this prayer by St. Albert the Great. It’s my hope that you will not only read this post, but also read the links as well in order to give yourself a better understanding of Marian theology as a whole. This prayer is titled, Mother of Grace.

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” For note, Mary, for you have found grace, not taken it as Lucifer tried to so.You have found grace, not lost it as Adam did. You have found favor with God because you desired and sought it. You have found uncreated Grace, that is, God himself became your Son, and with the Grace you have found and obtained every uncreated good. 

As always, feel free to share with this blog with your family and friends in the hopes that they may come to have a more complete understanding of Our Lord Jesus Christ through His Virgin Mother.

Our Lady of Grace…Pray for Us.

St. Albert the Great…Pray for Us.

Mother Angelica’s Insights on the Saints

Today we celebrate one of the great days in the Catholic Church – the Solemnity of All Saints. It is also the first All Saints’ Day when Mother Angelica could be a resident of the Heavenly Kingdom. I say could be since she might be there or still making her way there, but nevertheless, for today’s blog post and the humor that lies within some of these quotes from her, we will say that she is there. And, if she isn’t there by now, God help the rest of us. Ha!

If you don’t know, Mother Angelica was pretty hard on the Saints, particularly the Apostles of Jesus. And although she had a great love for the Saints and wanted everyone she encountered to achieve sanctity as they did, she didn’t sugarcoat their lives, since many of their lives were just like ours – they suffered, they sinned, and they were just miserable at times. She would often speak her mind on the saints, so often she knew that when she did get to Heaven they might have a special place for her. She said,

“I love to pick the saints apart, but I fear there’ll have to be a solitary confinement in heaven, just for me. I’ve been telling the truth about the saints for so many years, nobody will want to talk to me when I get up there.”

I don’t know about you, but that quote made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. Come to think of it, it should have been included in my first blog post about her. With that being said, I am so glad that she told us the truth, the weaknesses, and the shortcomings of the saints for so many years, since it gives me hope that I have a chance “to get up there” someday too.

So for today’s blog post on the Solemnity of All Saints, here are 10 quotes from Mother Angelica on the Saints – some are funny, some will give us hope, and some will allow us to see that the saintly life isn’t all that far from where we are now.

I.  “A saint is one who empties himself and takes on the image of Jesus, so that person and Jesus are look-alikes. We should not aim to be a great saint for the purpose of being a great saint. A saint is the last to admit or know that he is a saint [boldness mine]. A saint’s goal is to get as close to God as he can, not for his sake, for His sake. The aim is to give honor and glory to God, and to totally forget the self.”

II. “Being a saint is being who you were meant to be: a frail human being keeping the Commandments, especially the last one. It’s loving when you are not loved in return. It’s being patient when you want to hit somebody on the head. It’s loving you family as they are, not as you want them to be. It’s not letting the disappointments in your life crush you.”

III. “Canonization is nothing more than the Church saying publicly that they know for sure that this person is in heaven. I mean, there are millions of people in heaven who are not canonized. That why we have All Saints’ Day…”

Communion of Saints Icon

Speaking on not finding saints like her since she like to eat, sleep, sit in bed, sit in comfortable chairs, Mother said,

IV. “But I came to the conclusion that the saints weren’t the problem, it was their biographers. I’ve often said that I wish every biographer of every saint, who did not depict the truth, would go to purgatory for forty years, because they have made the saints unreal. You’d swear these people were holy when they were conceived…the saints would be the first to tell you: they struggled like you do. They ate, and drank and slept, and were frustrated, and victims of injustice. They were like you!…they had their faults and eccentricities.”

V. “Our saints had faults. There’s only one Immaculate Conception and there ain’t any others.”

VI. “The saints suffered. Therese had tuberculosis. Teresa of Avila had cancer of the stomach. Padre Pio had perpetual diarrhea and asthma. Bernadette had asthma too. Mother Cabrini had high fever to malaria she contracted during her travels. Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement” [Boldness mine].

I particularly loved this quote by Mother because I can be grouchy and I’m Italian too –

VII. “Did you ever see a statue of grouchy state? I saw one once. It was the most gorgeous statue I ever saw. It was Padre Pio, who was a grouch, you know…he was a typical Italian grouch – which I can relate to!…See that’s my kind of saint. I want a saint who struggles like I do. There’s no such thing as perfection. There is only the struggle for holiness.”

VIII. [St. Peter] “was so holy that his shadow healed (Acts 5:15). Can you imagine a shadow healing? He was a big, blustery fisherman – just like you, without the fish. He was a man who always spoke before he thought. He was convinced he could do everything better than everybody else, then he forgot to do it. Peter should give us great hope.”

IX. “If you are going to be holy, for God’s sake, aim for the top. I wouldn’t aim to get in the gate. Your faults and weaknesses and sins have absolutely nothing to do with achieving holiness. Many a great sinner became holy.”

X. “I think these are times for great holiness and great saints, greater than any time in the past because there is more evil, more temptation. The fighter is greater…God is not mocked and this world is not going to pot. You can save it. You can change it by being faithful to the duties of your state of life with holiness.”

I pray that some, and even all, of these quotes have given you some hope in your striving for holiness and being saints – I know that have done so for me! One of the reasons why I like Mother Angelica is because of the plain way she speaks – straightforward, no nonsense, and she loves Jesus.

All Holy Saints of God…Pray for Us.

Source:

Angelica, M., and Raymond Arroyo. Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary and the Saints

Since tomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints, I thought I would focus today’s “Mondays with Mary” on just that – Mary and the Saints. Realizing that I have written quite a bit on what the Saints have said about Mary, I thought I would gather those blog posts together in one blog post for you to read. However, before I get to those posts, let’s take a look at what Hans Urs Von Balthasar has to say about Mary’s relation to the communion of saints.

In the book, Mary – The Church at the Source, a book he co-authored with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Von Balthasar writes the following on why Mary stands out in the Communion of Saints

…”Mary can never be isolated from the communion of saints. She can be called ‘Mother of the Church’ because she is the Mother of Christ and thus all of his mystical members; in spite of that, she remains our sister and is glad to be so…Mary, as the purest of all creatures, irradiates what is her own least of all. Everyone within the communion of saints has something Marian about him…perhaps it is precisely our time that especially needs to see Mary. To see her as she shows herself, not as we would like to imagine her…she shows herself and defines herself as the archetypal Church, whose form we have to take as our pattern.”

Mary, Baby jesus, and all the saints

Two points here to mention quickly, I completely agree with Von Balthasar when he says that Mary can never be isolated from the communion of saints. She is the glue that holds the communion of saints together since she is our mother. Our mother, because she is given to us by Jesus on the Cross through St. John, and yet even still, our sister in Christ too.

And second, there is no doubt in my mind that Mary is needed in all times of history, Lepanto in 1571 and Vienna in 16883, however, our time needs her more than ever. To bring us back to Jesus, we will need his Mother to lead us back to him. We see this concretely in her apparitions from the nineteenth century on, which all have similar themes to them – St. Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette at Lourdes, Melanie at La Salette, to the children at Fatima.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, let us pray for the intercession of all saints, those canonized by the Church, and those family members of ours that have gone on before us. Let us ask the apex of the Communion of Saints to always lead us closer to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Below are the blog posts I mentioned above:

“Mondays with Mary – The Love the Saints Have for Mary

“Mondays with Mary” – The Saints and Popes on the Holy Rosary

“Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from the Saints on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Queen of All Saints 

Queen of All Saints…Pray for Us 

Karl von Habsburg: The Last Catholic Emperor and King of Austria

Today is the memorial for Blessed Karl of Austria, the last Catholic emperor and king of Austria, who is currently in the Canonization process.

Karl von Habsburg was born on August 17, 1887 in the country of Austria. He had a wonderful childhood and was taught the Catholic faith. He was a virtuous young man known for his generosity, loyalty, and intelligence. His tutor recollects that he loved serving as an altar boy in Mass. From his young days as a child, he had a great devotion and love for the Holy Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When he turned 16 years old, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Imperial Army.

After courting Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma (now Venerable Zita) for some time, Karl takes her to the Marian Shrine of Mariazel. There he proposes to her in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He places their engagement under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the night before their wedding Karl tells his bride: “Now
 we must help each other get to Heaven.” Their marriage is blessed with eight children.

As a family, they focused on daily devotions such as the Rosary, novenas, and reading the Scriptures. They would attend daily Mass together, study the catechism, and were devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, the Immaculate Conception, and the Holy Cross.

Blessed Karl and Venerable Zita Wedding Photo

On June 28, 1914, Archduke
Ferdinand is assassinated beginning the First World War. Karl is the next in line for the throne. On November 30, 1916, Karl is elevated to Emperor. He was a good moral and Catholic emperor who desired to put the needs of his people before his own which did through spiritual and civil actions.

After the First World War was finished, he was told he had to give up his throne. He refused stating that the crown entrusted to him was from God and a holy trust. He could never betray God, his subjects or his dynasty. For Karl of Austria, the culture he bears is Christianity.

In the end, he is exiled with his family. At the end of his short life, at the point of death, he calls his eldest son to be at his bedside to say good-bye. He says to his son, Otto, watch “how a Catholic and Emperor conducts himself when dying.” At the age of 34 years old, in his wife’s arms, he enters eternity holding a crucifix and saying the words, “My Jesus, Thy Will be done—Jesus.”

At the Mass for his Beatification, Pope St. John Paul II said in his homily,

The decisive task of Christians consists in seeking, recognizing and following God’s will in all things. The Christian statesman, Charles of Austria, confronted this challenge every day. To his eyes, war appeared as “something appalling”. Amid the tumult of the First World War, he strove to promote the peace initiative of my Predecessor, Benedict XV.

From the beginning, the Emperor Charles conceived of his office as a holy service to his people. His chief concern was to follow the Christian vocation to holiness also in his political actions. For this reason, his thoughts turned to social assistance. May he be an example for all of us, especially for those who have political responsibilities in Europe today!

To learn more about Blessed Karl of Austria, I would suggest checking out these websites – Blessed Karl of Austria Beatification and Canonization SiteOrder of Malta – Blessed Charles of Austria, and Crisis Magazine – Blessed Karl von Habsburg.

Blessed Karl of Austria

Blessed Karl of Austria…Pray For Us.