Feastday of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

I really only began to read about St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) last year, and did a post Here and Here. (I get nostalgic when I go to my old blog and read the comments some of you left on these two posts; unfortunately, comments didn’t get transferred when I changed sites). 

This year I’d like to share another passage from Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda‘s book, a passage which spoke to me of what was at the root of St. Teresa Benedicta’s ability to embrace the Cross, and what must be at the root of all of our lives if we desire to be self-giving, if we desire to embrace that same Cross the way she embraced it:

“Perhaps one of Edith’s greatest legacies to the body of believers is her own devotion to prayer.  Edith understood every person’s need for still and quiet prayer.  “We need those hours in which we listen silently and let the divine word work within us,” she wrote (Daybook, 121).  After her baptism but before entering the Carmelites, even with her busy teaching and speaking schedule, Edith sought constant opportunities to pray.  It is precisely people with many obligations and who are fully involved, she argued, who need such communion with God in inner stillness.  Edith the scholar, the philosopher, the theologian, the spiritual giant, the feminist, and finally, the martyr, teaches us that we do not need to be in a church to be still with God in prayer.  We can – and need to – catch our breath spiritually anywhere, constantly.”

If you wish to read more about St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, we have some wonderful posts today at:

Catholic Geek (see Phil’s 2 posts)
Receiving Light

If you’d like some excellent audio, we have Part 1 and Part 2 of, “Edith Stein:  An Historical Perspective”, on the EWTN website, hosted by Father Charles Connor, of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 


7 thoughts on “Feastday of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

  1. Thanks, Gabrielle, for this post. I was struck immediately by a one liner of St. Teresa Benedicta which I came across some time ago in a Carmelite Newsletter, and one which made me an instant devotee.’ The abandonment of the soul to God is the highest achievement of its freedom.’

  2. I remember praying just before entering work, not to lose the closeness of mind and heart, and yet, that is not something we can always arrange, especially if one works out in the world. Even in that loss, or perhaps especially in that pining, He will be present above and beyond any efforts of ours–myteriously present. As I sat at the picnic table last night, staring at both concrete and odd trees in tiredness and dismay, I thought, “Well, here, have a seat, Jesus.” I’m glad no one can look inside my head. The abandonment of the soul to God.. yes, that resonates.

  3. Gabrielle,

    I think that it is quite interesting that you are introducing us more intimately to St. Teresa Benedicta during the same week that another Jewish convert to Catholicism, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, was laid to rest. The Cardinal’s insistence on retaining his Jewish identity, even in death, was very moving and a strong reminder of our faith heritage.

    A fantasy I have is to form a Catholic production company that creates biographical films about saintly Catholics whose lives can inspire and motivate. Film is a medium that, by its nature, can present history and personality in a most accessible manner. I see people like Edith Stein, Francis of Assissi, St. Bernadette, and so many others as heros of the faith and our society needs heros…real, unsanitized heroes.

    I loved the book “The Song of Bernadette.” The movie version of the book was so saccharin that it missed the real turmoil and drama of that episode. If Francis were portrayed as he really was, it would rival any of the fantasy films currently in vogue. Was Francis a saint or a lunatic? We revere him as the lovely Franciscan in neat robe and rope belt with birds gently alighting on his head and hands. Portray him as he really was and then you have a story of faith triumphant…and probably a bit frightening.

    And I’m not sure who “JustMe” is but, man, can I identify with those comments!

  4. “Amen” to Lucy and JustMe. Just this very busy year filled with frenetic activity getting things in order for the next person taking over my job from which I retired, the lesson was reinforced in my life that I have to realize that my soul and life is in His hands. I am not always conscious of spiritual things each and every moment..impossible unless I have a job which allows me to concentrate on only spiritual things. But I have “committed the keeping of my soul unto Him in well doing as unto a Faithful Creator” and He carrys me throughout the business of the day …even now in retirement which is just as busy, it seems!LOL.
    How did I come to thinking of this so seriously? I was reflecting on those with alzheimers and who had lead a devout, dedicated life for decades, and yet…because of a disease….couldn’t even remember the name or person of Jesus! How sad. YET>>>>>He has them in the palm of His hand in safe keeping.! It is His doing and His love.

  5. Paula, you’re very welcome, and looking forward to reading your upcoming post!

    Ann, Lucy, JustMe, teresa – thanks for all of your comments. Highest achievement is abandonment; I can well believe it – it certainly seems to be one of the most difficult things. Re the difficulty of keeping our awareness on Him during the workday, I completely relate to what you’re saying, JustMe, and teresa also. It is difficult to keep a conscious awareness, isn’t it, when we’re so busy with work, but I think what teresa says about Him carrying us through the day is so true, especially if we have had some quiet time with Him before work and have asked Him to do so. I can sometimes leave the office mid-day though, to walk and pray for a while, and try to re-focus.

    Terry, I will think of it as your aspiration, rather than a fantasy, and a wonderful aspiration it is! But perhaps you don’t have to start one? Perhaps you could join one? Even in some small way in the beginning. Maybe you could investigate some of the Catholic production companies, and you would find one that you’d like to offer your services to in some manner or other. You never know! (as an aside, I’ll have to look up Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger; I know absolutely nothing; isn’t that terrible?)

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