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!"
"and then they decided to wait"
“It is this intimacy with Him “within” that has been the beautiful sun illuminating my life, making it already an anticipated Heaven; it is what sustains me today in my suffering.”
She had already known when she moved to her “Nazareth” that her aim was the “desert” of Carmel