Monday, August 9, 2010

Ave, Crux, Spes Unica

I almost but not quite missed the feast day of Edith SteinSt Teresa Benedicta.   She wrote to a friend:

"One can only gain a scientia crucis (knowledge of the cross) if one has thoroughly experienced the cross. I have been convinced of this from the first moment onwards and have said with all my heart: 'Ave, Crux, Spes unica' (I welcome you, Cross, our only hope)."
More from here:
Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt Convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: "Come, we are going for our people."

Together with many other Jewish Christians, the two women were taken to a transit camp in Amersfoort and then to Westerbork. This was an act of retaliation against the letter of protest written by the Dutch Roman Catholic Bishops against the pogroms and deportations of Jews. Edith commented, "I never knew that people could be like this, neither did I know that my brothers and sisters would have to suffer like this. ... I pray for them every hour. Will God hear my prayers? He will certainly hear them in their distress." Prof. Jan Nota, who was greatly attached to her, wrote later: "She is a witness to God's presence in a world where God is absent."

On 7 August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, her sister and many other of her people were gassed.
I always pick a saint or two to sponsor our school year and this year I think it will be St Teresa Benedicta and ST Philip Neri.    The latter was a particular favorite of John Cardinal Newman.   He wrote:

“Sufferings are a kind of paradise to him who suffers them with patience, while they are a hell to him who has no patience.”
and also:
"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits."
That' latter is a reminder this melancholic can surely use. 

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