Making God present in a world where God is absent

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Friday, Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, 09 August 2019
Deuteronomy 4:32-40 >< )))*> <*((( >< Matthew 16:24-28
A 1970 stained-glass window of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross by German artist Alois Plum at the Herz Jesu Church in Kassel, Germany. She holds a book symbolising her learning, wears a Star of David as a sign of her Jewish roots, and is consumed by flames to refer to her martyrdom at the Nazi gas chambers of Auschwitz. Photo from Google.

Praise and glory to you O Lord our God! Indeed, there is no other God except you as Moses reminds us in today’s first reading:

“Ask now of the days of old, before your time, ever since God created man upon the earth; ask from one end of the sky to the other: Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live? Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors, all of which the Lord, your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? All this you were allowed to see that you might know the Lord is God and there is no other.”

Deuteronomy 4:32-35

And yet, O Lord, still many refuse to believe in you especially when hard times come upon us like wars and persecution.

This month of August, you gifted us with two great saints martyred at the gas chambers of Auschwitz: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as St. Edith Stein whose memorial we celebrate today, and, St. Maximilian Kolbe whose feast is on the 14th.

Both are modern saints whose lives and times are very close and similar with our generation. Both saints have made you present, O God, at a time when many people thought and believed you were absent.

“Those who seek the truth seek God, whether they realize it or not.” St. Edith Stein.

Born from a devout Jewish family, you showed your presence in the life of St. Teresa Benedicta with your gift of superior intellect. Although she had openly declared her being an atheist at the young age of 13, you never stopped “seducing” her in searching you in her studies of philosophy, giving her a rare chance to work closely with the leading thinkers at that time.

Slowly, she found you in her studies and in the Church that she converted to Catholicism!

And when you have caught her, O Lord, the more you inflamed her heart to seek you and be one with you by becoming a Carmelite nun through the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

You have revealed so much truths to her, O God, reaching its highest point in giving her the grace to join your Son Jesus Christ in losing her life as his witness in the gas chambers in 1942.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 16:24-25

In our present age, so many people are also thinking that you do not exist, Lord; some have already stopped believing in you, having themselves as the measure and standard of what is true, moral, and decent.

How sad that in this modern age when we are supposed to have advanced in our knowledge and thinking, we have remained so inhuman in our dealing with one another: wars and genocides of peoples continue while the weakest members of the human race, those old and sick and those helpless in their mother’s wombs, are murdered for the sake of economic well-being. How wonderful in having a woman saint so accomplished in life like St. Edith Stein when until now women are disrespected and regarded inferior to men.

Give us, Lord, the same clarity of mind and firmness of will and heart in standing for what is true like St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross so that we may also make you present in this world. Amen.

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