Lent with St Edith Stein Day 34: The Hidden Life of Love

Lent with St Edith Stein Day 34: The Hidden Life of Love

“God awakes in many ways in the soul. If we wished to enumerate them all we should never come to an end. But this awakening of the Son of God which the soul here indicates, is elevated above all else and full of benefit for her.

St John of the Cross, Living Flame

               A soul that has reached union with God experiences many awakenings, but the Hidden Life of Love is especially moving. St John of the Cross describes it “as though all the kingdoms and dominions of the world and all the powers and virtues of heaven are moved…as though all the virtues and substances and perfections and graces of every created thing glow and unanimously make the same movement at the same time toward the same goal.”

               In this awakening, the soul is able to see not only that God lives in every thing and sustain it, but how. The soul feels as though God is waking up inside it, but it’s the other way around. The soul is waking up and gains an immense clarity. The grandeur and glory of God’s power is fully evident to the soul. If it wasn’t already abiding in union with God, it would be overwhelmed, but instead grows stronger.

               We speak frequently of the glory and might of God. As Christians, it’s kind of our thing. Think of it like this: Even if you’ve never eaten an orange, you know that it’s sweet. You can also know that it has Vitamin C and can help boost your immune system and make you feel good. But knowing that it’s sweet and good isn’t the same as tasting it. It’s not the same as taking it in and absorbing its goodness. When we achieve union with God, we won’t just know that God is good, that God abides in all things, that God has a purpose for everything. We’ll be able to really taste it, to take it in. To feel it and see it in a way that we can’t right now.

                As we’ve made our way through The Science of the Cross, we’ve discussed union with God a lot. That is our goal, our desire, hopefully in this life. If not this life, then in Heaven. And this union is obtained through spiritual purgation, by passing through the Dark Night of the Soul. Here in this chapter, St Edith does some analysis of St John of the Cross’s writings and provides some additional color around the process of obtaining union with God.

               She writes, “The fundamental setting is the same: there is no other way to union than that which leads through the cross and night, the death of the old self. Nor can one strike out in afterthought what was frequently emphasized: that the author and interpreter of the Night Song had arrived at union. But the union seemed to be achieved in the night, indeed on the Cross. Only later, it seems, did the saint have the happy experience of just how wide Heaven opens itself even in this life.”

               I think this is a great point of reflection. We want to attain Heaven and be united with God in eternal glory. But we achieve union with God in the darkness, on the cross. It’s in the misery and suffering that we join ourselves to him, not in light and glory. He’ll take us to that, but that comes after. So if you’re dealing with darkness, keep moving forward in faith. That’s where we find God.

               Holy Week is going to be upon us tomorrow and I am so excited to be on our way to Easter. We will continue with daily sessions throughout Holy Week, Monday through Saturday. Thank you again for joining me and I hope that you will continue to tune in. May God bless you and may the saints be with you!

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