Dear Herr Kaufmann,
First of all, best wishes for the new phase of the war, which one hopes (and that surely is a hope based on reason) will be very brief.
At the same time, this is a timid announcement of a Christmas package. Unfortunately, I got your address just at the time when acceptance of large packages expired so that, regrettably, the gift I really intended for you cannot be sent until after the holidays. It is Konrad Fiedler’s work on art. If (as I hope) you aren’t familiar with his writings yet, I believe you’ll find in them much that is stimulating on the subject that has been occupying you lately. Today, my head is not fit for philosophizing.
If only one were a few days older and could know what the Entente will say to the peace offer! Is your imagination [phantasie] keen enough to paint a picture of our having peace once more and how everything will turn out then? If it doesn’t happen, then perhaps I will go—despite the Ideen—to work in a munitions factory or somewhere similar. But I just have to annoy you a bit more with my ghastly optimism and so I wish you a Merry Christmas accompanied by an armistice!
With best regards,
Saint Edith Stein
Letter 2 to Fritz Kauffmann
[at the front, World War I]
Freiburg, 13 December 1916
The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned he watches
all the inhabitants of the earth—
he who fashions the hearts of them all,
and observes all their deeds.
A king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
and by its great might it cannot save.
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
All scripture references in this novena are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.
Stein, E. 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.