Monday, August 09, 2010

Memorial of St. Edith Stein, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross


"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - Science of the Cross

I have had a quiet devotion to Edith Stein for many years - because she is a Jew.  Since her beatification and canonization her cult became a favorite of intellectuals, academics, professional women, and of course Carmelites.  Thus I rarely write about her now days, except for an occasional quote.
This may be a good time to mention I'm jumping off the Theology of the Body bandwagon as well.  I don't know what I was thinking to have posted about the issue in the first place.


  1. I love her.
    So much.
    She is a true "charismatic", if you will.
    The Spirit of the Lord guided, directed and gave her such wondrous gifts.
    And she died in such horrid circumstances; a true daughter of the Church, a daughter of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).
    The Rule of Carmel is all about self-abnegation; Sister Teresa Benedicta Blessed by the Cross is an authentic witness of this.
    Our Sr. Petra Rose of Sorrows made her Final Profession on March 21st...a feast of St. Benedict and the feast of St. Teresa of the Andes, another Carmelite saint of these times. Please pray for her; she is a constant witness of the Lord's Love to our little community here.

  2. Terry, great blog by the way ... I think this whole TOB hoopla's greatest victim is JPII's writings themselves. The popularization of it is ridiculous and immature, but it worries me to see so many people of the more traddy bent use that as a reason to jettison the late Holy Father's writings en masse.

    'Love and Responsibility' is great, as is JPII's TOB talks themselves, and his encyclicals and other letters that touch on marital and family issues. These things need to be defended against the Westian style pop-TOB stuff.

    Problem is, I know there are also elements who want to reject totally the idea that sex is something good and should be an enjoyable and loving experience. I've actually read some traditionalists who say that couples should do it in the dark, with as much clothing on as possible, and think of conception the whole time. Or that modesty for women entails revealing only face and hands - which is ironically what Muhammad told Aisha. I read one guy railing on the pope because he encouraged athletics for boys and girls, which the author thought would encourage impurity because female athletes would wear shorts or bathing suits. This is also sick, and is just as dangerous as West's 'sex is the key to understanding God' mumbo-jumbo.

    I just think JPII's actual stuff is getting lost in all this, and I think what he had to say is a wonderful development and not a revolutionary idea (he owes a lot to D. von Hildebrand, and Pius XII was already laying groundwork for some of it as well). Anyway, that's my two cents. Sorry if I rambled.

  3. I am attracted to Edith Stein because she lived in Holland when my parents did.

  4. Wow, so many WWII saints and anniversaries are at this time of year: Transfiguration and Hiroshima on August 6th, Saint Edith Stein and Nagasaki on the 9th, Saint Max Kolbe on thge 14th, the Assumption and VJ Day on the 15th.

    "beaticu" was my word verification for posting this.

  5. Mercury - excellent points, very well stated - I couldn't agree more that it is John-Paul's thought that is getting lost and often times trashed in all of this - which indeed supplies the ammunition for trad-fundamentalists as you point out. I've heard similar stories about lights out for love.

  6. Anyway, the post was on Edith Stein ... I have to read more by her, haha.

    I just had to point out what I said, because though I find C. West's work shallow and hokey to the extreme, I have had the crap scared out of me by some on 'the other side'. (There's some cult that seems to prowl CA forums quoting the revelations of Bridget of Sweden like it's the Gospel itself, and they tell people they're going to hell for having sex during pregnancy or after menopause).

    The C. West crap bugs me 'cause it throws everything else out of proportion, and seems to overplay sexual love to the point where it leaves celibacy out of the picture, or sensualizes it. That's why I love A von Hildebrand saying what she had to say. And Fr. Angelo is also right on. Once again I seem to have ignored poor Edith Stein :(

  7. According to CW it sounds almost as if you can't get to heaven without having sex. As much of a fan of marriage and sex I am, this overemphasis sort of denigrates it in a way, making marriage THE way to holiness rather than A way, a sort of overdone exaggeration against certain Church Fathers.

  8. Mercury: Absolutely.
    All of us were made for love.
    But that doesn't mean we were made to have sex.
    A very important distinction.
    The spousal love, the complete gift of self, in virginity/celibacy for life must absolutely have the same qualities, and more, than married love.
    And from hearing confessions and doing spiritual direction with the married, sex ain't all it's "cracked up to be".
    Especially if you're living the Catholic Faith.

  9. St Theresa Benedicta Pray for Us..


  10. I never understood celibacy until I got married and began to understand the Catholic vision of sexuality (only later), and seeing sex as a privilege between me and ONE other person, a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities appropriate to OUR state in life, and not a right. Maybe this is easier to say now, because when I was single I wasn't a poster-boy for chastity, but then again hindsight is 20-20 (it gives me something to think about when I begin to judge others).

    Sure, it's a helluva lotta fun -- but what's important is that it's something I do in order to fulfill my obligations as a married layman, not something I do cause it's fun. And if priests and religious and other single people are not called to that life, I am sure there are other joys (sometimes even greater) that they are blessed with. Even when celibacy is difficult, I've known celibates to say that it's not the sex they're tempted to long for, but the advantage of having a single companion.

    One thing I am totally sure of however, is that the crisis of vocations has a lot to with the crisis of marriage in the West (no pun there). I think only if one sees marriage and sex in the context of how I just described it (or how someone better qualified that I would describe it), can one see that both married and celibate lives are calls to sacrifice and self-abnegation (though both paths are given special blessings of joy and happiness). If marriage is seen as nothing more than cohabitation level 2, then we have a problem. THAT's where the 'married people have all the fun, celibates don't' idea comes in.

  11. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Regarding TOB:

  12. Mercury: You've "got it"...absolutely.
    Sexual release is one thing; you can have that in any kinds of ways...the "self-donation" in marital love is quite different...
    the joy of belonging to the Lord exclusively, in consecrated virginity/celibacy is the fruit of the same kind of "self-giving".
    Nothing else will ever be the same.
    I admire consecrated married couples, those who take seriously their call to conjugal fidelity and married commitment to their children.
    I do not feel any way "left out" or deprived of a life of love, giving and receiving; I feel privileged to live a life of "renunciation" for the sake of the Kingdom of God where I can be a "father" to many children.
    I know many consecrated religious and celibates/virgins who experience this, as well.
    We are made for love; that is the message of the TOB.
    We are all not "made" for sexual intimacy.
    That is the privilege of the married, and them, alone.


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