We draw near to the opening of the 92nd General Chapter of the Discalced Carmelites, which will be held in Rome from the 30th of August to the 14th of September. Celebrated every six years, friars from around the world gather at the the General Chapter to elect the new General Superior and his council and to evaluate the current status of the Order and plan for the future.
The Discalced Carmelite friars have asked us to “pray for this General Chapter and for the whole Order, that we may fully live out these words from the Acts of the Apostles”: “The churches… were now left in peace, building themselves up and living in the fear of the Lord; encouraged by the Holy Spirit, they continued to grow.” (Acts 9:31).
I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.
I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.
John 14:16–17, 25–26
READING FROM ST. EDITH STEIN
The Holy Spirit must help [Your Charity] not only at your work but also in overcoming new crises that work may easily occasion. After all, no spiritual work comes into the world without severe labor pains. It tends to absorb the total person and that, of course, is something we may not permit. On principle, it is very good that the regular schedule and our daily duties bar the door to “letting oneself be consumed,” but the way to achieve this balance cannot be found without our being aware of it. I would be very happy were we able to talk about all this some time. But it surely is not accidental that such an opportunity has been taken from us. So we will be grateful that we are united in the kingdom that knows no boundaries or restraints, no separation, and no distance.
Saint Edith Stein
Letter 320 to Sr. Maria Ernst, O.C.D. (excerpt)
PRAYER OF ST. EDITH STEIN (excerpt)
Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces by being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me that I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible and beyond any name:
Holy Spirit—eternal love!
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. 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.
Stein, E. 2014, The Hidden Life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts, translated from the German by Stein, W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.