Friday, August 8, 2008

Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

I'm finally going to start praying the Liturgy of the Hours. I think I'm going to muddle my way through them for a while and maybe I will be able to find a community which prays them, just so I can experience praying them in common once or twice. I'll probably write more about this, and how I got to the point where I've come to praying the Psalms.

Tomorrow is the memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin, Martyr, known more commonly as Edith Stein. A Jewish convert to Catholicism, a Carmelite nun, a scholar and a victim of the Nazi Holocaust. She apparently converted to Catholicism sometime after reading about the life of St. Teresa of Avila. I don't know much about her, but I find the lives of saints intriguing, most especially saints of the modern era.

As Catholics, we're taught, once a Catholic always a Catholic. I believe that's also a common belief in Judaism. Both faiths have much to say about the consequences of apostasy, and throughout history there have people converting from one faith to the other many times. Some, very likely were forced and some were by choice. This is an interesting opinion about St. Edith Stein and her connection to her Jewishness. It was written just after her Canonization to Sainthood by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

Some thoughts taken from the article.

A convert is "born again," which also means that from God’s perspective he or she has retroactively always been in the community. An apostate, conversely, does not quit the community existentially; he or she is only absent without leave.Excommunication bars a sinful Catholic from receiving the sacraments, not from the Church herself, just as herem, the ban of ostracism, does not mean that a Jew is no longer a Jew. So Jews regard Edith Stein as a Jewish apostate, but always a Jew nonetheless. And she agreed with us about her Jewish identity; it is about her apostasy that she obviously had a different opinion. We cannot avoid the question of apostasy because it brings us face to face with the rival truth claims our two communities make—to ourselves, to each other, and to the world.

I must digest it again before I even attempt to make any commentary, but I thought it was an interesting reflection for the day.

picture of St. Edith Stein via wikipedia.


liturgy said...

Do you want to encourage praying the Liturgy of the Hours?
I’ve just created a badge for blogs and websites.
Please have a look here:
Let me know if there are any issues with this – size, etc.

Maria said...

Hi There!

I think it would be great to encourage praying them. I started recently at the suggestion of my priest when i went to him looking for spiritual and prayerful guidance.

I've been wanting to write up a post about my experiences so far. One day, I'd also like to find a community or group of people who pray them.

I'll check out your banner/badge and definitely add it to the site. Thanks for the comment.

liturgy said...

Cool, Maria,
Maybe one has to create such a group.
I'm a Cistercian Associate
& see you have Merton very central.

Maria said...

A friend of mine turned me onto his writings and I really enjoy them. His words really resonate with me right now.

You might be right about creating a group.