‘Dear brothers and sisters! The love of Christ was the fire that inflamed the life of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Long before she realised it, she was caught by this fire. At the beginning she devoted herself to freedom. For a long time Edith Stein was a seeker. Her mind never tired of searching and her heart always yearned for hope. She travelled the arduous path of philosophy with passionate enthusiasm. Eventually she was rewarded: she seized the truth. Or better: she was seized by it. Then she discovered that truth had a name: Jesus Christ. From that moment on, the incarnate Word was her One and All. Looking back as a Carmelite on this period of her life, she wrote to a Benedictine nun: “Whoever seeks the truth is seeking God, whether consciously or unconsciously”.
…This woman had to face the challenges of such a radically changing century as our own. Her experience is an example to us. The modern world boasts of the enticing door which says: everything is permitted. It ignores the narrow gate of discernment and renunciation. I am speaking especially to you, young Christians... Pay attention! Your life is not an endless series of open doors! Listen to your heart! Do not stay on the surface, but go to the heart of things! And when the time is right, have the courage to decide! The Lord is waiting for you to put your freedom in his good hands.
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was able to understand that the love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined, because love and truth have an intrinsic relationship. The quest for truth and its expression in love did not seem at odds to her; on the contrary she realised that they call for one another.
In our time, truth is often mistaken for the opinion of the majority. In addition, there is a widespread belief that one should use the truth even against love or vice versa. But truth and love need each other. St Teresa Benedicta is a witness to this. The “martyr for love”, who gave her life for her friends, let no one surpass her in love. At the same time, with her whole being she sought the truth, of which she wrote: “No spiritual work comes into the world without great suffering. It always challenges the whole person”.
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross says to us all: Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.’
from the homily for the canonisation of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, 11 October 1998
by Pope St John Paul II, 1920-2005
O God of our fathers, who didst lead the blessed Martyr Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
to know thy crucified Son and imitate him even unto death: mercifully grant that, by her intercession,
all men may know Christ as Saviour, and through come to thine eternal vision;
through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Divine Worship: The Missal
Fr Lee Kenyon
Priest, Husband, Father, Lancastrian, Mancunian