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OPTIONAL MEMORIAL ST TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, AUGUST 9, 2023


St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

(1891-1942)

Edith Stein as a student in Breslau (c.1913-14)



Reading 1


"The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants.

And all the people we saw there are huge, veritable giants

(the Anakim were a race of giants);

we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them."


REFLECTION


Many of our problems seem beyond our abilities, our understanding, our capacity to know if we can handle them. Giants, roadblocks, demands, evil people can be the reason to have fear and anxiety. We are overwhelmed! We do not have the confidence to forge onward!!


Edith Stein is the saint we honor today. She is better known as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was born Jewish. She was an atheist. In her early life, she was a distinguished philosopher but because she was a female her career sputtered. After reading the biography of Saint Teresa of Avila, she converted to Catholicism. Unfortunately, the Nazis were in power and they passed an anti-Semitic legislation. She was fired from her post as a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Münster for being Jewish. At the age of 42, she joined the Carmelite monastery. (1)



On July 29, 1942, the Dutch Bishops' Conference made a statement condemning Nazi racism. In retaliation the Nazis ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts to Christianity. St Teresa Benedicta told her prioress: "Human action cannot help us, but only the sufferings of Christ. My aspiration is to share them." They apprehended her in Holland and she died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz. She was canonized in 1998. (2)


People pray and hope they obtain what they pray for. So many people prayed for the end of the Nazi regime, the end of death, war and the end of the holocaust. They prayed for God to remove this horrible evil. Many times we wish the Lord to help us, NOW, but in St Teresa's lifetime He did not stop the storm. He gave her strength, fortitude and resilience necessary for her. Prayers were answered on September 2, 1945 when World War II ended.


Be still my love and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10).


May God find a dwelling place of faith in our hearts, a love rooted in Him. Imagine loving Him that much and He loving us more.





God Bless You


(1) Universalis app

(2) Magnificat


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