That is why I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart.Hosea 2:16
“It always seemed to me that our Lord was keeping something for me in Carmel that I could find only there,” wrote Saint Edith Stein in her statement, “How I came to Carmel”, which her novice mistress and prioress, Mother Teresia Renata Posselt has recorded for us in her biography, Edith Stein: The Life of a Philospher and Carmelite.
Mother Teresia Renata explains further:
In these words this outstanding philosopher and famous lecturer, already revered as a saint by many people, acknowledged that something was lacking before she could be completely happy and fulfilled. We ask ourselves: What could this be? And what is this Carmel from which she expected this final fulfillment that the Lord had saved up for her as the best?
Carmel presents a mystery that cannot be taken in at a glance. Even those intimately acquainted, like Edith, with Carmelite spirituality through reading the works of its great exponents can scarcely avoid shrinking when for the first time they begin to breathe the dry air of Carmel. They soon have a sense that they have been set in a trackless desert, a waterless land that only slowly surrenders its secrets (Chap. 14, “The school of humility”).
In this novena, we will explore that “trackless desert” of Carmel in the writings of Saint Edith Stein. Like the holy prophet Elijah before her, the man of God who waited on His word in the Wadi Cherith, we will follow Edith as God lures her into the spiritual desert.
Let us attune our spiritual ears to the words of sacred scripture and to the wisdom of Saint Edith’s writings as she draws us deeper into that “waterless land that only slowly surrenders its secrets.” May God bless us all as we pray together.
“Go forth into the desert” (The Science of the Cross)
“The doctrine of the darkest path” (The Science of the Cross)
“In dryness and emptiness” (The Science of the Cross)
“Her aim was the ‘desert’ of Carmel” (A Chosen Vessel of Divine Wisdom)
“God is” (I Am Always in Your Midst)
“Dryness, distaste, and trial” (The Science of the Cross)
“Oppression and dryness” (The Science of the Cross)
“Purgative dryness” (The Science of the Cross)
“An immense, unbounded desert” (The Science of the Cross)
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,
God, forever and ever.
All scripture references are from The Jerusalem Bible Reader’s Edition, copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday & Company, Inc. as accessed from The Internet Archive website.
Don’t become discouraged and give up prayer, says St. John of the Cross. We offer varying novenas to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well as novenas to St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Edith Stein and St. Joseph.LET US UNITE IN PRAYER