Monday, August 11, 2008

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross- martyr

I spent the day on Saturday at a local amusement park with my family. Since we rarely get to do something this carefree, we all had a remarkable day. It was truly re-creation-al for me personally, but also for our family. Far from being unimportant, such excursions are important, like CL vacation, which I have yet to experience.

I also let the memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, known to the world as Edith Stein, a Jewish woman who became a Christian. Prior to (and even after) entering the Carmel, she was a brilliant philosopher. She was a student and assistant to the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl. I am convinced that she would have made at least as big an impact on contemporary philosophy as one of Husserl's other students and assistants, Martin Heidegger. Letting her memorial pass in silence is a cause for a little bit of guilt for me.

This morning, while reading Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko's homily, delivered at Mass during this summer's Spiritual Exercises, I found words fitting to memorialize this holy woman, this courageous woman, who gave herself wholly to Christ, and who means so much to me:

"Martyrs, therefore, charge us with the courage to wager our lives on God. They call us to the incommensurable value of the faith, for which - just as it is for the treasure of the evangelical parable- it's worth giving everything: "Amor Dei usque ad contemptum sui", the love of God, to point of disdaining oneself, as Saint Augustine said (De Civitate Dei). They remind us that being Christian entails radical choices - the salt must flavor and the lantern cast light- and often signifies going against the flow, being a 'sign of contradiction' in the world and in our own sphere of life. The martyrs encourage us to be ourselves, that is, Christians, in the world and not to hide or dilute our identity as disciples of Christ. Their witness is for us a healthy goad, a healthy goad for our faith, often too accommodating to the spirit of the world, watered down, prone to compromises with the culture that dominates the current scene" (This Is the Victory That Conquers the World, pg. 27)

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross- pray for us


Suzanne said...

Thanks so much for this! My daughter Sophie chose Edith Stein for her Confirmation saint/namesake. I have been sharing with her all the beautiful things I have been finding on the web this week, and I will surely share this with her, too. And today is the Memorial of St. Clare -- chosen by my daughter, Serena, for her Confirmation saint!

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

What blessed patron for your daughter. I, too, have a Sophia. She was also confirmed this year. She is Sophia Rose (of Lima) Mary (confirmation name).

I often wonder why we are so slow to venerate those who have only recently been raised to the altar. St. Teresa Benedicta, St. Gianna Molla, et. al. These are the ones who have triumphed over the world as we know it. Hence, they are salt and light for us.