Saturday, March 31, 2012

"We are travelling east."

These are the last words we heard from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)--spoken, or perhaps written, from a cattle car near Breslau. She asked a brakeman to send them to her sisters in Carmel. The words chill the flesh: We know now her destination was the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

"We are travelling east."

The words struck me forcefully, however, for they also carry another meaning. The train rolled east. The east has always been a Christian word for the dawn of Christ, the final day will dawn in the East, Christ comes from the East. We pray turned toward the East (at least, we try to).

"We are travelling east."

In the east, Edith Stein stepped through that thin veil and greeted eternity.

We are also travelling east this week--east into the darkness of the tomb. In the east, we will greet eternity.

The rituals and repetition of the Holiest Week, all in anticipation of the Brightest Week, are only a sign and shadow of the Great and Eternal Day.

"We are travelling east."

Let us travel east with our Edith, until--as she is now--we are truly there.

Have a blessed Holy Week and Triduum.


Faith E. Hough said...

That is beautiful. I've never devoted myself to really reading up on Edith Stein, though I know a great deal about her through what friends and priests have told me. Is there a book you would recommend to begin with?

Erika Ahern said...

Edith rocks. Yes, the BEST book to start with for a great sampling is: <> (in the Modern Spiritual Masters series).

The other great start, for the more literary types (!), is her "Self Portrait in Letters"--published by ICS in her complete works series.

Have fun! :)

Erika Ahern said...

Um. Not sure what happened to my HTML there:

The BEST book to start with is "Edith Stein: Essential Writings"... sigh.

Faith E. Hough said...

Thanks! :)

Melanie B said...

Oh that is beautiful. I don't remember seeing that "we are traveling east" before.

Bella and I are currently reading a young person's biography of Edith Stein published by Pauline Media. She's really enjoying it though I'm a little concerned about how to explain the Nazis to an almost-six year-old. But she has such a hunger to get to know the saints and the one or two page bios in picture books just aren't satisfying her. I think after this I'm going to try to avoid martyrs for a while, though. St Isaac Jogues almost did us in.