9th August - Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Posted on 9th August, 2017

A reading from the book of Esther (Esther 4:17k, 17l-m; 17r-t)

 

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

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.’

 

From her spiritual writings

 

Ave Crux, spes unica!

‘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 you 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 the 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 low 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 everywhere 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!

 

Prayer:

Lord God of our fathers,
you brought Saint 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.
Amen.

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