St. Edith Stein Novena 2021, Day 9: An immense, unbounded desert

Hosea 2:2-17

Denounce your mother, denounce her,
for she is not my wife
nor am I her husband.
Let her rid her face of her whoring,
and her breasts of her adultery,
or else I will strip her naked,
expose her as on the day she was born;
I will make a wilderness of her,
turn her into an arid land,
and leave her to die of thirst.
I will not love her children,
since they are the children of whoring.
Yes, their mother has played the whore,
she who conceived them has disgraced herself.
“I am going to court my lovers,” she said,
“who give me my bread and water,
my wool, my flax, my oil and my drink.”
She would not acknowledge, not she,
that I was the one who was giving her
the corn, the wine, the oil,
and who freely gave her that silver and gold
of which they have made Baals.

That is why, when the time comes, I mean to withdraw my corn,
and my wine, when the season for it comes.
I will retrieve my wool, my flax,
that were intended to cover her nakedness;
so will I display her shame before her lovers’ eyes
and no one shall rescue her from my power.
I will lay her vines and fig trees waste,
those of which she used to say,
“These are the pay my lovers gave me”;
I am going to make them into thickets
for the wild beasts to ravage.
I will put an end to all her rejoicing,
her feasts, her New Moons, her sabbaths
and all her solemn festivals.
I mean to make her pay for all the days
when she burned offerings to the Baals
and decked herself with rings and necklaces
to court her lovers,
forgetting me.
It is Yahweh who is speaking.

That is why I am going to block her way with thorns,
and wall her in so that she cannot find her way;
she will chase after her lovers and never catch up with them,
she will search for them and never find them.
Then she will say, “I will go back to my first husband,
I was happier then than I am today.”

That is why I am going to lure her
and lead her out into the wilderness
and speak to her heart.
I am going to give her back her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope.
There she will respond to me as she did when she was young,
as she did when she came out of the land of Egypt.

When that day comes – it is Yahweh who speaks –
she will call me “My husband,”
no longer will she call me “My Baal.”
I will take the names of the Baals off her lips,
their names shall never be uttered again.

The Science of the Cross, Chapter 12

An immense, unbounded desert

Dark contemplation is the secret ladder: secret as is mystical theology that is communicated and infused into the soul through love.

The mystical wisdom is therefore also called secret because it has the characteristic of hiding the soul within itself. . . . Occasionally, it so engulfs the soul in its secret abyss that she has the keen awareness of being brought into a place far removed from every creature. She accordingly feels that she has been led into a remarkably deep and vast wilderness unattainable by any human being, into an immense, unbounded desert. And this, for her, is the more delightful, pleasant, and lovely, the deeper, vaster, and more solitary it is. She is conscious of being so much more hidden, the more she is raised above every created being. This abyss of wisdom elevates and enriches the soul to a high degree: it engulfs her in the veins of the science of love and lets her know in this way how base are creatures in comparison with the lofty, divine knowledge and feelings, and gives her an insight into how lowly, inadequate, and entirely incapable all images and words are with which one speaks of divine things in this life.


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.

Trona Pinnacles in the California Desert Conservation Area | Ian Chen / Unsplash

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.

Stein, E 2002, The Science of the Cross, The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 6, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington D.C.

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