Of course, religion is not something to be relegated to a quiet corner or for a few festive hours, but rather, as you yourself perceive, it must be the root and basis of all life: and that, not merely for a few chosen ones, but for every true Christian (though of these there is still but a “little flock”). That it is possible to worship God by doing scholarly research is something I learned, actually, only when I was busy with [the translation of] St. Thomas [Aquinas’ Quaestiones de Veritate from Latin into German]. (In the little booklet that the Sisters here use for the Thomas Sundays, there is a beautiful meditation about that.) Only thereafter could I decide to resume serious scholarly research.
Immediately before, and for a good while after my conversion, I was of the opinion that to lead a religious life meant one had to give up all that was secular and to live totally immersed in thoughts of the Divine. But gradually I realized that something else is asked of us in this world and that, even in the contemplative life, one may not sever the connection with the world. I even believe that the deeper one is drawn into God, the more one must “go out of oneself ”; that is, one must go to the world in order to carry the divine life into it.
Saint Edith Stein
Letter 45 to Sister Callista Kopf (excerpt)
Sent from St. Magdalena, Speyer, 12 February 1928
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.
Featured image: Stained glass window from the Dominican nuns’ church in Buffalo NY of Saint Thomas Aquinas being girded with the cincture of chastity (Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP / some rights reserved).