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..