St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Today’s readings

We are called upon to be good citizens, to pay our taxes, as today’s Gospel portrays.  But good citizenship doesn’t mean giving in to everything that comes our way.  We have to be people who pursue the truth, no matter where it leads us.

A case in point is the life of Today’s saint, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau as Edith Stein, she abandoned Judaism in her teens. She studied philosophy under Edmund Husserl, a leading proponent of the philosophy of phenomenology. Edith earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1916. She became a Catholic in 1922, and the following year entered the Carmelite convent at Cologne, where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

At the end of 1939, she moved to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands. The Nazis occupied that country in 1940. In retaliation for being denounced by the Dutch bishops, the Nazis arrested all Dutch Jews who had become Christians. Teresa Benedicta and her sister Rosa, also a Catholic, died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz on August 9, 1942.

The search for truth is an important one; one that we cannot ignore.  When we find that truth, we must follow it with all our hearts.  That will always come at a cost.  For Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, it came at the cost of her life.  For us, it might cost our ego, or our prestige, or even wealth.  But as Teresa’s name suggests, the way to the truth always comes in the cross, and it is in the truth alone that we will find real peace.

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