Quote of the day, 14 October: St. Edith Stein

One who loves feels compelled to do something for the beloved.

Teresa, who even as a child showed herself to be boldly decisive and ready to act, burned with the desire to show the Lord her love and thankfulness by action. As a nun in a contemplative monastery, she seemed to be cut off from all outer activity. So she at least wanted to do as much as possible to make herself holy.

With the permission of her confessor (Fr. Alvarez) and her highest superior in the Order, she took a vow always to do what would be most pleasing to God. To protect her from uncertainty and from qualms of conscience, the text was later changed to read that her confessor was to decide what would be perfect at any given time. But a soul so full of love could not be satisfied with caring for its own salvation and making the Lord happy by its own perfection. One day she was transported into hell by a horrible vision.

I immediately understood that God wanted to show me the place that the devil had reserved for me and that I deserved for my sins. It lasted hardly a moment. But even if I live for many more years, I will never be able to forget it [The Book of Her Life, Chap. 32, no. 1].

She recognizes what God’s goodness has preserved her from. “The superscription for my life should read ‘the mercy of God.’”

The banner over the head of St. Teresa says,
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.”

But countless other people are constantly subject to the dangers that she herself had escaped. “How could I find one day of rest with such an outlook? How could I live in peace while so many souls were being lost?”

It was at the time when Germany was torn by schism, France was tearing itself to pieces in wars of religion, and all Europe was confused by false doctrines.

Brokenhearted, as though I could do something or as if I myself were someone, I embraced the feet of the Lord, shed bitter tears, and asked him to remedy such evil. I would gladly have sacrificed a thousand lives to save one of these misguided souls. But how could a poor woman like me serve the cause of her divine Master? [The Way of Perfection, Chap. 1, no. 2].

During such reflections, there occurred to her the thought of freeing herself from the mitigated Rule of her monastery.

Saint Edith Stein

Love for Love: The life and works of St. Teresa of Jesus

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

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