Lent with St Edith Stein Day 32: The Triune One

Lent with St Edith Stein Day 32: The Triune One

“[The Soul] owes the wound full of delight to the Holy Spirit, the sweet cautery. The Son gives her to taste eternal life through his gentle touch. With his soft hand the Father transforms her in God.”

St Edith Stein, The Science of the Cross

               The divine work of union with God is threefold, as we serve a threefold God. The touch we feel from each is of the same substance, but the effects are felt differently in the soul.

               The Holy Spirit is the cautery. As we know, the spirit is a consuming fire. The fire of the Holy Spirit could reduce the entire universe to ash with its power. And yet it tenderly purifies the heart. It wounds us in order to heal us. In the fire of the Holy Spirit, the wounds of sin are turned into wounds of love. St Edith notes that “The more it wounds, the more it cures and heals.”

               In the fire of the Holy Spirit, the soul is transformed into a fire of love. Sometimes the wounds of the spirit are visible on the exterior. Some saints, such as St Francis of Assisi and St Padre Pio bore the stigmata, the physical manifestation of the wound of love. St John of the Cross noted that “what is a cause of pain and torment to their corruptible flesh is sweet and delectable to these souls who are purified and established in God.”

               The hand which causes the wound of love is God the Father and as St Edith says, “this hand could cast the entire world into the abyss were it to rest upon it more perceptibly.” Think about that. The hand of God could destroy all of the earth with but a touch, yet He touches us gently and wounds us only to heal us.

               The delicate touch we feel is Jesus, Son of God, the Word of God. Jesus touches our hearts lightly and gently. His meekness makes us meek. This tender, delicate touch can give us a taste of eternal life.

               St John of the Cross speculates that only a few experience this exaltation of Union with God, not because God does not desire to give it to all of us, but because most souls “refuse to take upon themselves insignificant discomforts and mortification and to work with persevering patience…and so he does not lead them forward any more in order, through the labor of mortification, to purify them and raise them out of the dust of the heart.”

               In the union of God, our faculties, desires, intellect, all become divine. It is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us. God desires this union for all of us. But we have to do the little work first. If we cannot persevere in patience through a one-hour zoom call, how can we pass through the Dark Night intact? Let’s hand over the little battles to God every day and let Him guide us along the path. Let’s die to ourselves in tiny tasks and offer them up to our mighty God. We are little souls on a little way, but there is a great light ahead of us if we persevere.

               St Edith says that “The soul then, in retrospect, recognizes that all has been a safeguard for her and that the light corresponds to the darkness. Not only is she rewarded for everything; all the imperfect desires that wanted to rob her of her spiritual life have been slain as well. So God’s hand by slaying, changed death to life.”

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