Wednesday, June 9, 2021 (Day 9)
Katie Snipes Lancaster
Psalm 9 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
I acclaim the Lord with all my heart,
Let me tell of all God’s wonders.
Let me rejoice and be glad in You,
Let me hymn Your name, Most high,
when my enemies turn back,
when they stumble and perish before You.
An Opening Word
Carl McColeman defines saints as “Christians publicly recognized as embodying heroic virtue.” Not every saint is a mystic and not every mystic is a saint, though in this case, Edith Stein is both: she was canonized as a saint by John Paul II in 1998. Raised by her Jewish mother, she spent her early years as a Jewish philosopher and when she found spiritual solace at the foot of the cross, she became a Carmelite nun, where she wrote profusely, in particular publishing a biography of St. John of the Cross celebrating the 400th anniversary of his birth, himself another mystic theologian.
As what Pope John Paul II called a “Catholic Jew” she embodied the heroic martyr-like courage in the face of evil when she was sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis, and though there may have been the possibility of escape by virtue of her career and identity as a Catholic nun, she sacrificially said, “Why should I be spared? Is it not right that I should gain no advantage from my Baptism? If I cannot share the lot of my brothers and sisters, my life, in a certain sense, is destroyed”.
McColeman goes on to say that “At its heart, mysticism is about living in God’s presence. To do that naturally implies seeking virtue and holiness as much as it suggests seeking intimacy with God. We who aspire to be mystics need to aspire to be saints, first and foremost…the word ‘holiness’ means ‘set apart,’ so if you want to be close to God, start acting like someone who is set aside for God—even if it means some people may think of you as a Goody-Two-Shoes.”
To that end, Edith Stein reminds us, “Our love of neighbor is the measure of our love of God. For Christians—and not only for them—no one is a ‘stranger’. The love of Christ knows no borders.”
Prayer from the Mystics: Julian of Norwich (1343–1416)
I will go to the altar of God.
It is not myself
and my tiny little affairs
that matter here,
but the great sacrifice of atonement.
I surrender myself entirely to your divine will, O Lord.
Make my heart grow greater and wider,
out of itself, into the Divine Life.