Lent with St Edith Stein Day 28: The Soul’s Tricolored Garment

Lent with St Edith Stein Day 28: The Soul’s Tricolored Garment


“The soul has said that she escaped disguised or camouflaged. To disguise oneself, that is, to hide one’s own clothing and one’s own form under another form, is what one does ‘in order to give someone whom one loves through this other form and clothing an outward manifestation of one’s love and attraction and thereby to win the Beloved’s favor and good pleasure.”

St Edith Stein, The Science of the Cross

               When we traverse the dark night, we must consider it to be a stealth mission. Therefore, we must adorn ourselves with the proper garments. Our camouflage not only conceals us from our enemies, but also makes us pleasing to God, to whom we desire to find union with.

               The soul has three enemies that she must elude in the Dark Night of the Soul. The devil, the world, and the flesh. Each of these enemies requires a theological virtue in order to be evaded, each is represented by a color in the soul’s camouflage.

               In order to elude the devil, the soul must put on the white undergarment of faith. Faith is a dazzling white, which blinds the intellect. Furthermore, this white garment is pleasing to God, who is the goal of soul’s journey. Robed in faith, the soul no longer is satisfied by natural knowledge or supernatural enlightenment. The soul longs only for union with God.

               In order to elude the world, the soul must put on the green coat of mail of hope. By turning its hope to heaven, the goods of the world can be seen for what they are: withered, dry, and dead. The hope of eternal life silences all other desires of the soul as it looks to God alone. In addition to being unseen by the world when wearing the coat of mail of hope, the soul no longer sees the world. Heaven is the soul’s only hope.

               In order to elude the flesh, the soul must put on the bright-red toga of love. When clothed with love of God, the desires of the flesh no longer hold any charms for the soul. In addition to protecting the soul against sensuality, love strengthens the other virtues. With the tri-colored camouflage, the soul is thoroughly protected from its three enemies and is found pleasing to God.

               St John of the Cross wrote that “Since…these virtues have the task of separating the soul from all that is less than God, they have also as a consequence the task of uniting her with God.” These virtues are dependent on each other. No one of the three will be strong enough to protect us without its counterparts. With all three, if you find that one is weak, they will strengthen each other.

Back to blog

Leave a comment