Thursday, August 9, 2012


Prayer to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
(Edith Stein)

Novena to The Holy Spirit by St. Benedicta 

Who are You, sweet Light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother's hand,
And should You let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in Yourself.
Away from You it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which You raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!

Are You not the sweet manna
That from the Son's heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He Who raised Himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.
And He gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time His fullness is to stream through me,
Life of Your life indeed, You Yourself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!

Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge's throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!

Are You the Spirit's fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God's eternal decree?
Driven by You
The messengers of judgment ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!

Are You the master Who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by You, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God's molding hand!

Are You the one who created the unclouded mirror
Next to the Almighty's throne,
Like a crystal sea,
In which Divinity lovingly looks at itself?
You bend over the fairest work of Your creation,
And radiantly Your own gaze
Is illumined in return.
And of all creatures the pure beauty
Is joined in one in the dear form
Of the Virgin, Your immaculate bride:
Holy Spirit Creator of all!

Are You the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being?
The harmony,
That joins together the members to the Head,
In which each One
Finds the mysterious meaning of Hhis being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in Your surging:
Holy Spirit eternal jubilation! 


Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jer 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers:
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.

R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Mt 16:13-23

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,

"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

He said to them,

"But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus said to him in reply,

"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
"God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."

He turned and said to Peter,

"Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."


August 9

Edith Stein  (1891-1942)

A brilliant philosopher who stopped believing in God when she was 14, Edith Stein was so captivated by reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila that she began a spiritual journey that led to her Baptism in 1922. Twelve years later she imitated Teresa by becoming a Carmelite, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), Edith abandoned Judaism in her teens. As a student at the University of Göttingen, she became fascinated by phenomenology, an approach to philosophy. Excelling as a protégé of Edmund Husserl, one of the leading phenomenologists, Edith earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1916. She continued as a university teacher until 1922 when she moved to a Dominican school in Speyer; her appointment as lecturer at the Educational Institute of Munich ended under pressure from the Nazis.

After living in the Cologne Carmel (1934-38), 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.

Pope John Paul II beatified Teresa Benedicta in 1987 and canonized her in 1998.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.

– Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

– Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

– Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

– Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

– Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Let us exult in the Lord’s presence.


Where true love is dwelling, God is dwelling there:
Love’s own loving Presence love does ever share.
Love of Christ has made us out of many one;
In our midst is dwelling God’s eternal Son.
Give him joyful welcome, love him and revere:
Cherish one another with a love sincere.

Psalm 43 (44)
In time of defeat

It was you who saved us, Lord:
we will praise your name without ceasing.

Our own ears have heard, O God,
and our fathers have proclaimed it to us,
what you did in their days, the days of old:
how with your own hand you swept aside the nations
and put us in their place,
struck them down to make room for us.
It was not by their own swords that our fathers took over the land,
it was not their own strength that gave them victory;
but your hand and your strength,
the light of your face,
for you were pleased in them.
You are my God and my king,
who take care for the safety of Jacob.
Through you we cast down your enemies;
in your name we crushed those who rose against us.
I will not put my hopes in my bow,
my sword will not bring me to safety;
for it was you who saved us from our afflictions,
you who set confusion among those who hated us.
We will glory in the Lord all the day,
and proclaim your name for all ages.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

It was you who saved us, Lord:
we will praise your name without ceasing.

Psalm 43 (44)

Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.

But now, God, you have spurned us and confounded us,
so that we must go into battle without you.
You have put us to flight in the sight of our enemies,
and those who hate us plunder us at will.
You have handed us over like sheep sold for food,
you have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for no money,
not even profiting by the exchange.
You have made us the laughing-stock of our neighbours,
mocked and derided by those who surround us.
The nations have made us a by-word,
the peoples toss their heads in scorn.
All the day I am ashamed,
I blush with shame
as they reproach me and revile me,
my enemies and my persecutors.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.

Psalm 43 (44)

Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.

All this happened to us,
but not because we had forgotten you.
We were not disloyal to your covenant;
our hearts did not turn away;
our steps did not wander from your path;
and yet you brought us low,
with horrors all about us:
you overwhelmed us in the shadows of death.
If we had forgotten the name of our God,
if we had spread out our hands before an alien god —
would God not have known?
He knows what is hidden in our hearts.
It is for your sake that we face death all the day,
that we are reckoned as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, Lord, why do you sleep?
Rise up, do not always reject us.
Why do you turn away your face?
How can you forget our poverty and our tribulation?
Our souls are crushed into the dust,
our bodies dragged down to the earth.
Rise up, Lord, and help us.
In your mercy, redeem us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.

Lord, to whom shall we go?
– You have the words of eternal life.

Hosea 1:1-9,3:1-5

The word of the Lord that was addressed to Hosea son of Beeri when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah were reigning in Judah, and Jeroboam son of Joash in Israel.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said this to him, ‘Go, marry a whore, and get children with a whore, for the country itself has become nothing but a whore by abandoning the Lord.’

So he went; and he took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, who conceived and bore him a son. ‘Name him Jezreel’, the Lord told him ‘for it will not be long before I make the House of Jehu pay for the bloodshed at Jezreel’ and I put an end to the sovereignty of the House of Israel.’ When that day comes I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.’

She conceived a second time and gave birth to a daughter. ‘Name her Unloved’ the Lord told him. ‘No more love shall the House of Israel have from me in future, no further forgiveness.’ (But my love shall go to the House of Judah and through the Lord their God I mean to save them – but not by bow or sword or battle, horse or horseman.)
She weaned Unloved, conceived again and gave birth to a son. ‘Name him No-People-of-Mine’ the Lord said. ‘You are not my people and I am not your God.’

The Lord said to me, ‘Go a second time, give your love to a woman, loved by her husband but an adulteress in spite of it, just as the Lord gives his love to the sons of Israel though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for fifteen silver shekels and a bushel-and-a-half of barley, and said to her, ‘For many days you must keep yourself quietly for me, not playing the whore or offering yourself to others; and I will do the same for you.’ For the sons of Israel will be kept for many days without a king, without a leader, without sacrifice or sacred stone, without ephod or teraphim. Afterwards the sons of Israel will come back; they will seek the Lord their God and David their king; they will come trembling to the Lord, come for his good things in those days to come.


You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood.
Once you were not a people at all and now you are the people of God.

Instead of being told ‘You are no people of mine,’ they will now be called sons of the living God.
Once you were not a people at all and now you are the people of God.

Baldwin of Canterbury: treatise 10

Love is as strong as death

Death is strong: it has the power to deprive us of the gift of life. Love is strong: it has the power to restore us to the exercise of a better life.

Death is strong, strong enough to despoil us of this body of ours. Love is strong, strong enough to rob death of its spoils and restore them to us.

Death is strong; for no man can resist it. Love is strong; for it can triumph over death, can blunt its sting, counter its onslaught and overturn its victory. A time will come when death will be trampled underfoot; when it will be said: ‘Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your attack?’

‘Love is strong as death,’ since Christ’s love is the death of death. For this reason he says: ‘Death, I shall be your death; hell, I shall grip you fast.’ The love, too, with which Christ is loved by us is itself strong as death, since it is a kind of death, being the extinction of our old life, the abolition of vice, and the putting aside of dead works.

This love of ours for Christ is a sort of return, though not equal to his love for us; and it is a copy, a likeness of his. For he first loved us, and by the example of love that he sets before us, he has become a seal by which we are moulded to his image — putting off the likeness of the earthly and bearing that of the heavenly, loving him as we are loved. In this he leaves us an example, that we may follow in his footsteps.

That is why he says: ‘Set me as a seal on your heart.’ As though to say: Love me, as I love you; have me in your mind, in your memory, in your desire; in your sighing, your groaning, your weeping. Remember, man, in what state I fashioned you, how far I preferred you before the rest of creatures, the dignity with which I ennobled you; how I crowned you with glory and honour, made you a little less than the angels, and subjected all things under your feet. Remember not only the great things I did for you, but what harsh indignities I bore on your behalf; and see if you are not acting wickedly against me, if you do not love me. For who loves you as I love you? Who created you, if not I? Who redeemed you, if not I?

Lord, take away from me the heart of stone, a heart shrunken and uncircumcised — take it away and give me a new heart, a heart of flesh, a clean heart. You cleanse our heart and love the heart that is clean — possess my heart and dwell in it, both holding it and filling it. You surpass what is highest in me, and yet are within my inmost self! Pattern of beauty and seal of holiness, mould my heart in your likeness: mould my heart under your mercy, God of my heart and God my portion for ever. Amen.


Love is strong as death; it blazes up like flashing fire, fiercer than any flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, nor flood sweep it away.

There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friend.
Many waters cannot quench love, nor flood sweep it away.

Let us pray.

We recognize with joy
that you, Lord, created us,
and that you guide us by your providence.
In your unfailing kindness, support us in our prayer:
renew your life within us,
guard it and make it bear fruit for eternity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.