Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Fear – a very real emotion.
Faith – a virtue that helps us overcome fear.
A message I have posted on the front of my refrigerator reminds me daily, The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.
In today’s first reading, we can hear the fear in their voices and almost feel it as they describe the inhabitants as “huge, veritable giants,” causing the people to wail into the night.
Then we hear the story of the Canaanite woman whose faith and hope are so deep that she refuses to give up. Jesus’s disciples asked him to send her away because she had asked them for help. She was persistent, as any desperate mother of a sick child would be. Making her way directly to Jesus, she wasn’t surrendering. The dialog between Jesus and this woman might remind us of the pleading of a teenager with a parent or an employee who refuses a decision of authority – meeting every response with a rebuttal until the defenses are worn down. The Canaanite woman’s faith achieved salvation; not only was she bold, but she trusted in the goodness of the Lord.
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, whose memorial we celebrate today, was born as Edith Stein of a prominent Jewish family in 1891. She abandoned her Jewish faith, was baptized in 1922, and eventually entered the Carmelite order. With the Holocaust at its height, she was sent to Auschwitz and died in the gas chamber on August 9, 1942. Her post-conversion life shows us a drive that never wavered and the mighty faith she had in God as she suffered the evilness of Auschwitz. Her writings fill 17 volumes.
Are you living in fear or boldly in faith?
God our Father, thank you for always protecting us when we might be fearful. Grant us the strength and boldness to always trust in you with deep faith. Amen.