Tag Archives: Carmelite saints and blesseds

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.jpg

God of our Fathers, who brought the Martyr Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross to know Your crucified Son and to imitate him even until death, grant, through her intercession, that the whole human race may acknowledge Christ as its Savior and through him come to behold You for eternity. 

 

“God Himself teaches us to go forward with our hand in His by means of the Church’s liturgy.”

 

The 2010 blog post is here.

Saint John of the Cross

“My sole occupation is love,” Saint John of the Cross said.

St John of the Cross3.jpg

Para venir a gustarlo
todo,

    no
quieras tener gusto en nada;

para venir a poseerlo
todo,

    no
quieras poseer algo en nada;

para venir a serlo
todo,

    no
quieras ser algo en nada;


para venir a saberlo
todo,

    no
quieras saber algo en nada;

para venir a lo que
no gustas,

    has de
ir por donde no gustas;

para venir a lo que
no sabes,

   has
de ir por donde no sabes;

para venir a lo que
no posees,

   has
de ir por donde no posees;

para venir a lo que
no eres,

   has
de ir por donde no eres.


(San Juan de la Cruz – Subida 1,13,11)

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.jpg

“Here there is no longer anything but God. He is All; He suffices and we live by Him alone” (Letter 91).

Today is the feast of the Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), one of those mature Carmelite mystics who forcefully brings us back to center.

She reminds us that the most Holy Trinity is given to each person at the time of Baptism and again in Confirmation and fed through the Eucharist.

She once wrote, “It seems to me that I found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God and God is in my soul. The day I understood that, everything became clear to me. I wish to tell this secret to those whom I love so that they also, through everything, may also cling to God …” (Letter 122).

Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

I was a bit more conscious of today’s feast being of the great Carmelite saint, founder and Doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of of Jesus (Avila). She has a particular hold on me because of her honesty and her extraordinary attention to human experience. This is especially true when you heed what Teresa is saying about friendship and those distinctions between the human friendship that what is shared with the Lord. The Office of Readings provided for us by the Church –and herewith published with my emphasis– reminded me of something that’s been on my mind for some time: am I mindful of Jesus right now? The sacred Liturgy is most direct in reminding us that salvation is given to us today. We are not saved at some point in the future, but right now. Eternal life doesn’t only begin when we give up the ghost, but we live in the Eschaton at this moment of existence. Don’t be fooled: Christ uses our human experience to manifest the promise of our divine destiny. So I ask you, Are you mindful of Christ right now? If not, why? What is distracting you? If so, in what ways are you paying mind to Him?


St Teresa of Avila Vatican statue.jpg

Pay attention to what Saint Teresa is saying:

If
Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can
endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us.
He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and
receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to
us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God
takes delight
.


Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The
Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate
if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A
person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of
contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through
our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the
best example
.


What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side?
Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled
or distressed
. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him
near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell
from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and
embedded in his heart
. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully
considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found
that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of
Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s
hands
. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an
intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.


Whenever we
think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many
graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a
pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep
this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some
time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts,
all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and
without effort.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

St Edith Stein in lay clothes.jpg

The youngest child of 11 of a pious Jewish family, Edith Stein was born 1891 in was a one time Germany and what is now Wroclaw, Poland). Early in life she knew what it meant to face adversity with the death of her father and four of her siblings. By the time she was a teen Edith was not practicing her faith.
Through her study of philosophy, particularly Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology which introduced her to the notion of transcendence which then led her to experience the reality of a transcendent God revealed in Jesus Christ. Philosophy was the condition of Edith’s conversion to Christianity. In 1921 Edith read the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) and the catechism; in January 1922 she was baptized.
At 42, Edith Stein entered the Cologne Carmelite monastery after attending the Holy Week Services. The priest who celebrated the Holy Thursday Mass was reason for her following her heart’s desire. She wrote: “I told our Lord that I knew it was His cross that was now being placed upon the Jewish people; that most of them did not understand this, but that those who did would have to take it up willingly in the name of all. I would do that. At the end of the service, I was certain that I had been heard. But what this carrying of the cross was to consist in, that I did not yet know.” In the convent she was devoted to the Carmelite way of life and she was allowed to continue her writing. Her last work was The Science of the Cross. With the Cross in mind, at the age of 50 was killed at Nazi death camp, Auschwitz. It was reported that Edith’s interior strength allowed her to be completely centered and focussed on Christ offering her sufferings and those of others to the Crucified Christ.
Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Teresa Benedicta on May 1, 1987 and canonized her on October 11, 1998. At that time, John Paul said, “Learn from St Teresa to depend on God alone and serve Him with a wholly pure and detached heart. Then, like her, you will be able to say, ‘I do not regret that I have given myself up to love.'”

The liturgical prayer and some links for Saint Teresa Benedict is here…and a good biography is noted here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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