Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Martyr, Co-Patroness of Europe
Common of One Martyr
St. Edith Stein was born into a Jewish family at Breslau on 12th October 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Jesus.
In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne where she took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, during the Nazi persecution and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel.
A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality.
She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 11th, 1998.
From the spiritual writings of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
"We greet you, Holy Cross, our only hope!" The church puts these words on our lips during the time of the passion which is dedicated to the contemplation of the bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.
Contemplate the Lord Who hangs before you on the wood, because He was obedient even to the death of the cross. He came into the world not to do His own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God.
Before your the Redeemer hangs on the cross stripped and naked, because He chose poverty. Those who would follow Him must renounce every earthly possession.
Stand before the Lord Who hangs from the cross with His heart torn open. He poured out the blood of His heart in order to win your heart. In order to follow Him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Crucified must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought.
The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the cross stands on high, and it cannot be burnt. The cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity.
The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out?
Contemplate the cross: from His open heart the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell. Through the faithful observance of the vows you make your heart free and open; and then the floods of that divine love will be able to flow into it, making it overflow and bear fruit to the furthest reaches of the earth.
Through the power of the cross you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity, which you draw from the divine heart. That charity enables you to spread every- where the most precious blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.
The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with Him What will your response be?
"Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life."
Ave Crux, spes unica!
R/. We preach Christ Crucified, a scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the pagans, * but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks, we preach Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
V/. The desire of my heart and my prayer rises to God for their salvation;
* for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks, we preach Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Canticle of Zechariah
Whoever hates his life in this world keeps it safe for life everlasting.
Lord, God of our fathers,
You brought St. Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after You, the supreme truth, and to remain faithful until death to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of Your Son for the salvation of all men and women.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Canticle of Mary
The saints find their home in the kingdom of heaven; their life is eternal peace.
The Lord will hear the just when they cry out; from all their afflictions He will deliver them.
(same as above)
Prayer over the Gifts
receive our gifts
as You accepted the suffering and death
of St. Teresa Benedicta
in whose honor we celebrate the Eucharist.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
If anyone wishes to come after me, He must renounce himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord.
Prayer after Communion
may the mysteries we receive
give us the spiritual courage which made Your martyr Teresa Benedicta faithful in Your service and victorious in her suffering.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Book of Esther 4 (varies with version of Scripture)
Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words: 'My Lord, our King, the only One, come to my help, for I am alone and have no helper but you and am about to take my life in my hands. I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family, that You, Lord, chose Israel out of all the nations and our ancestors out of all the people of old times to be your heritage for ever; and that You have treated them as You promised. Remember, Lord; reveal Yourself in the time of our distress. As for me, give me courage, King of gods and Master of all power. Put persuasive words into my mouth when I face the lion; change his feeling into hatred for our enemy, that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end. As for ourselves, save us by Your hand, and come to my help, for I am alone and have no one but You, Lord'.
R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
I will bless the Lord at all times,
His praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad. R/.
Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise His name.
I sought the Lord and He answered me;
from all my terror He set me free. R/.
Look towards Him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord heard him and rescued him from all his distress. R/.
The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere Him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He is happy who seeks refuge in Him. R/.
Revere the Lord, you His saints.
They lack nothing, those who revere Him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
but those who fear the Lord lack no blessing. R/.
John 4: 19-24
The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."