The Exultation of the Holy Cross

The following reflection is from a letter by the cloistered Carmelite St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), written for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in 1939.

The world is in flames.  The conflagration can also reach our house.  But high above all flames towers the cross.  They cannot consume it.  It is the path from earth to heaven.  It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.

Photo: Dominican Nun venerates the CrucifixThe world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross.  From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior.  This extinguishes the flames of hell.  Make your heart free by the fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth. Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds.  You are enclosed in a cell and cannot get to them.  Do you hear the anguish of the dying?  You would like to be a priest and comfort them.  Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you?  You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them.  Look at the Crucified.  If you are . . . bound to Him . . . your being is precious blood.  Bound to Him you are omnipresent as he is.  You cannot help here or there like the physician the nurse, the priest.  You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross.  Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine heart.  Its precious blood is poured everywhere–soothing, healing saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer Him? “Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

As Dominican Nuns, we consider ourselves to be truly members of Christ Crucified primarily when we are spending ourselves totally for souls.  Is Jesus inviting you to give yourself totally for Him and souls in the Dominican life?  What will you answer Him?

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