Today the Church celebrates another Saint whom we have encountered during the Fellowship, St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein). If you re-read her biography, you will remember a lot of what we have heard a few weeks ago -- and probably understand why she is my favorite Saint: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_19981011_edith_stein_en.htm
Edith Stein found Christ after long years of searching. The grace of her conversion was helped by a combination of insights, books, and testimonies. One of her experiences stands out because of its casualness and simplicity: She observed an old lady who was praying before the Eucharist. “I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot.” Nothing makes our relationship with Jesus be more authentic than heartfelt prayer.
In today’s Gospel the Lord asks us: “Who do you say that I am?” This is the very question which we all ought to respond, a question quite inspiring for prayer. Edith Stein crafted the answer to it in the concrete decisions of her life. She recognized Jesus Christ as her Lord and her God, and followed him. Peter and the disciples likewise. And that let them all eventually to encountering Jesus’ cross too. Nothing allows our relationship with Jesus to mature more than the loving embrace of the cross.
But Edith Stein not only teaches us to love by taking upon us the cross. Let us remember her deep-rooted apostolic zeal: “During the time immediately before and quite some time after my conversion I ... thought that leading a religious life meant giving up all earthly things and having one's mind fixed on divine things only. Gradually, however, I learnt that other things are expected of us in this world... I even believe that the deeper someone is drawn to God, the more he has to ‘get beyond himself' in this sense, that is, go into the world and carry divine life into it.” Nothing makes our relationship with Jesus more fruitful than announcing him to the world.