Marie du jour 2022, 19 May: St. Edith Stein

Divine virginity has a characteristic aversion to sin as the contrary of divine holiness. However, this aversion to sin gives rise to an indomitable love for sinners.

Christ has come to tear sinners away from sin and to restore the divine image in defiled souls. He comes as the child of sin—his genealogy and the entire history of the Old Covenant show this—and he seeks the company of sinners so as to take all the sins of the world upon himself and carry them away to the infamous wood of the cross, which thereby precisely becomes the sign of his victory.

This is precisely why virginal souls do not repulse sinners. The strength of their supernatural purity knows no fear of being sullied. The love of Christ impels them to descend into the darkest night. And no earthly maternal joy resembles the bliss of a soul permitted to enkindle the light of grace in the night of sins.

The way to this is the cross. Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.

Saint Edith Stein

Exaltation of the Cross: 14 September 1941

2018-05-06 (2)
The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor (detail)
Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, ca. 1485–1540/41) and a collaborator
Oil on wood, ca. 1520
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Stein, E. 2014, The Hidden Life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts, translated from the German by Stein, W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Featured image: In the triptych The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor, Dutch artist Joos van Cleve, who was a figurative painter, collaborated with a talented landscape specialist to create this stunning representation of Our Lord’s Crucifixion. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s gallery label provides additional details:

The setting for the Crucifixion, witnessed by the Virgin, Saint John, and the donor with his patron Saint Paul, is a vast landscape whose style is indebted to Joachim Patinir (represented in the triptych nearby). The panoramic vista unifies the interior. On the left wing are Saints John the Baptist and Catherine, on the right are Anthony of Padua and Nicholas of Tolentino. The latter two suggest the altarpiece was an Italian commission. The frame is original but regilded.

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