Sit down and estimate the cost
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
Letter 230 to Elly Dursy (excerpts)
25 November 1936
A heavier cross
Obviously, I am happy with you about all the free time you can find for your interior life, and would consider it wrong indeed to waste it on unnecessary things. After your expression of delight about the present circumstances that leave you such freedom, the thought of exchanging these for others, without any real necessity, surprised me.
On closer reflection, are the “stimuli” you expect from being close to a larger city not rather distractions? Every change in the external circumstances of life is already apt to disturb one’s inner peace. Therefore one should never seek [such a change] unless God provides it.
Usually one gets a heavier cross when one attempts to get rid of an old one.
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.
Author Melissa Presser prayerfully composed this year’s St. Edith Stein Novena. Melissa Presser is a Jewish girl who was led home to the Catholic Church by St. Edith Stein. Melissa writes about redemptive suffering and finding God in the dark at MissioDeiCatholic.org. Find out more about her conversion and ministry at MelissaPresser.com.
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.
All scripture references are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway 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. Joseph, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Edith Stein.Let us unite in prayer