Aug 9 – Memorial for St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), martyr
After witnessing the strength of faith of Catholic friends, Teresa (1891-1942), originally a Jew, became interested in Catholicism and studied a catechism on her own, and she eventually ended up “reading herself into” the Faith.
She became a Carmelite nun, teaching and lecturing at two schools. However, anti-Jewish pressure from the Nazis forced her to resign both positions. She was smuggled out of Germany, and assigned to Holland. When the Nazis invaded Holland, she and her sister Rose, also a convert to Catholicism, were captured and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where they died in the ovens like so many others.
– Patron Saint Index
Moses said to the people: ‘Put this question to the ages that are past, that went before you, from the time God created man on earth: Was there ever a word so majestic, from one end of heaven to the other? Was anything ever heard? Did ever a people hear the voice of the living God speaking from the heart of the fire, as you heard it, and remain alive? Has any god ventured to take to himself one nation from the midst of another by ordeals, signs, wonders, war with mighty hand and outstretched arm, by fearsome terrors – all this that the Lord your God did for you before your eyes in Egypt?
‘This he showed you so that you might know that the Lord is God indeed and that there is no other. He let you hear his voice out of heaven for your instruction; on earth he let you see his great fire, and from the heart of the fire you heard his word. Because he loved your fathers and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out from Egypt, openly showing his presence and his great power, driving out in front of you nations greater and more powerful than yourself, and brought you into their land to give it you for your heritage, as it is still today.
‘Understand this today, therefore, and take it to heart: the Lord is God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other. Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today, so that you and your children may prosper and live long in the land that the Lord your God gives you for ever.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour. I tell you solemnly, there are some of these standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.’
Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today, so that you and your children may prosper and live long in the land that the Lord your God gives you for ever.’
The world we live in does not like to have any rules within it. There is a desire to stay free and to engage in behaviour that makes one comfortable to achieve whatever they so desire. The readings of today remind us that these rules are not meant to bind us but instead are supposed to help free us from the troubles of our daily lives.
Christianity has been perceived to be a religion of rules and regulations. However, these are supposed to help us become better Christians and become closer to God. We are all called to deepen our relationship with God through prayer. I believe that prayer will allow us to understand what God wants from us and we will then be able to understand the intention behind the rules.
Any meaningful relationship requires work and this work will mean the setting up of boundaries. Rules are not meant to constrict us but instead to allow us to live life freely. This means that we need to die to ourselves. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that we need to give up everything and come follow him. It may seem a great sacrifice but I believe that it will all be worthwhile.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant us the wisdom to surrender our will and let your will act in us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who trust in us.