St. Thérèse wrote one of her last poems for Sr. Thérèse of St. Augustine, the nun who displeased her the most. Today this poem teaches us that we can rest in the shade of the tree called “love” and savor its fruit: "abandonment".
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” urged the psalmist. St. Thérèse turns to her Guardian Angel as she responds: “With your celestial aid, in peace I await the other life, the joys that will last forever.”
If the psalmist prayed “for God alone my soul waits,” then St. Thérèse repeated that heartfelt cry with greater fervor: “My only peace, my only happiness, my only love is you, Lord!”
St. Thérèse described her sister Céline as someone who found God in all of nature, everywhere. In the poem, “Canticle of Céline”, which Thérèse wrote for her sister, Céline sings, “in Him I found peace forever!”
On the night before He died, Jesus spoke plainly to the disciples. St Thérèse notes that Jesus was “speaking without parable” to them. To the one who keeps God’s word, Jesus says: “We want him to remain, filled with peace, in our Love!”
“Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went,” is one section of St. Joseph’s theme music in the Gospels. St. Thérèse knows how to sing that song, too, in Carmelite style: “Joseph, O tender Father, protect Carmel!”
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord,” says St. Paul. St. Thérèse was a model of obedience to her father, St. Louis Martin. Speaking in the third person as she writes about their relationship, Thérèse reminds her father: “it was always your hand that guided her. O Papa! remember…”
“Do not worry about tomorrow,” Jesus said. Thérèse took his advice and wrote, “if I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness. I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart.” Her solution to this problem? Living “just for today.”
In this, the 125th anniversary year of the death of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, each day we will share excerpts from her poetry that reveal her eminent doctrine and passionate desire "to love Jesus and to make him loved" as a Discalced Carmelite nun.
For our ninth meditation in this novena, we read St. Edith Stein's letter to her prioress requesting permission to offer herself "to the Heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of propitiation for true peace." She is insistent "because it is the twelfth hour. I know that I am a nothing, but Jesus desires it." Thank you for joining us in prayer for this novena.
Upon the death of a lay sister in the Carmel of Cologne, St. Edith Stein wrote to a friend that she was not worried about her "Master" Edmund Husserl, who was seriously ill and, in fact, would die one month later. Edith had one, straightforward reason not to worry: "It has always been far from me to think that God's mercy allows itself to be circumscribed by the visible church's boundaries. God is truth"
In lectures delivered during the summer of 1932, St. Edith Stein addressed the problems of women's education. In one lecture, she mentioned the Church's position on women and demonstrated how, despite patriarchal viewpoints that claim a woman's place is in the home, theologians have been able to examine liberal feminist claims to evaluate their "compatibility with the entire Catholic philosophy of life." St. Edith states that the Church's serenity lies in her ability to preserve eternal truth while adjusting with "unmatchable elasticity" to the "circumstances and challenges of changing times."
Today St. Edith Stein shares with a close friend that Edith realized religious life isn't a matter of naval-gazing but rather an imperative "to carry the divine life" into the world. And the "the deeper one is drawn into God", the greater is this mandate.
St. Edith Stein the philosopher introduces us to the basic "dilemma of all human philosophizing: truth is but one, yet for us in falls into truths (plural) that we must master step by step." Sooner or later, she says, we have to dive in.
St. Edith Stein the catechist teaches us today that "God the Creator is present in each thing and sustains it in existence [...] God dwells in this manner in every human soul, also." The soul, Edith says, "is in his power." As St. Edith said after she read St. Teresa's autobiography, "This is truth." Jesus tells, "you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
Writing to a former student from St. Magdalena teachers college in Speyer, St. Edith Stein assumes the role of spiritual director. In this letter from 1936, she counsels the young woman not to seek changes that are "apt to disturb one's inner peace" because whenever we attempt to get rid of one cross, we usually get a heavier cross, instead. Two years later, this student would become a Discalced Carmelite postulant in the Carmel of Kordel.
Today St. Edith Stein teaches us that compassionate love and mercy flow "from the divine heart." The prophet Isaiah reminds us that "the Lord waits to be gracious;" and "all those who wait for him" are blessed.
The prophets called on God’s people to wait with hope. St. Edith wrote, “to suffer and to be happy although suffering […] this is the life of the Christian until the morning of eternity breaks forth.”
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. The theme that she has chosen for this year's novena is "Waiting." Melissa writes in her introduction: "It is so hard to wait. Yet, Edith Stein waited patiently while discerning her vocation to religious life. Through this novena, we will learn from Saint Edith Stein how to wait well. Let us make this a beautiful time of waiting with God!"