Ave Maria Meditations
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Only by the power of grace can nature be liberated from its dross, restored to its purity, and made free to receive divine life. And this divine life itself is the inner driving power from which acts of love come forth. Whoever wants to preserve this life continually within herself must nourish it constantly from the source whence it flows without end: from the holy sacraments, above all from the sacrament of love. To have divine love as its inner form, a woman’s life must be a Eucharistic life.
Only in daily, confidential relationship with the Lord in the tabernacle can one forget self, become free of all one’s own wishes and pretentions, and have a heart open to all the needs and wants of others. Whoever seeks to consult with the Eucharistic God in all her concerns, whoever lets herself be purified by the sanctifying power coming from the sacrifice at the altar, offering herself to the Lord in this sacrifice, whoever receives the Lord in her soul’s innermost depth in Holy Communion cannot but be drawn ever more deeply and powerfully into the flow of divine life, incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, her heart converted to the likeness of the Divine Heart.
Something else is closely related to this. When we entrust all the troubles of our earthly existence confidently to the Divine Heart, we are relieved of them. Then our soul is free to participate in the divine life. Then we walk by the side of the Savior on the path that He traveled on this earth during His earthly existence and still travels in His mystical afterlife. Indeed, with the eyes of faith, we penetrate into the secret depths of His hidden life within the pale of the Godhead.
Feast Day is August 9th
Profile: The youngest of seven children of a Jewish family she was born in 1891. Edith lost interest and faith in Judaism by age 13. She was a brilliant student and philosopher, earning a doctorate at age 25.Witnessing the strength of faith of Catholic friends led her to an interest in Catholicism. She converted to Catholicism on January 1, 1922. Later she became a Carmelite nun in 1934 taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was a prolific and profound spiritual writer.
Both Jewish and Catholic, she was smuggled out of Germany in 1938. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, she and her sister Rose, also a convert to Catholicism, were captured and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where they died in the ovens like so many others. She offered her life for the conversion of her Jewish people. She died on August 9, 1942. She was to be canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998.