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birch forest in spring

Thy Will Be Done

Edith Stein

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“Thy will be done,” in its full extent, must be the guideline for the Christian life. It must regulate the day from morning to evening, the course of the year, and the entire of life. Only then will it be the sole concern of the Christian. All other concerns the Lord takes over. This one alone, however, remains ours as long as we live. And, sooner or later, we begin to realize this. In the childhood of the spiritual life, when we have just begun to allow ourselves to be directed by God, we feel his guiding hand quite firmly and surely. But it doesn’t always stay that way. Whoever belongs to Christ must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood: he must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.

Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully! The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and the Antichrist has broken into the open. If you decide for Christ, it could cost you your life. Carefully consider what you promise.

Before you hangs the Savior on the cross, because he became obedient to death on the cross. He came into the world not to do his own will, but his Father’s will. If you intend to be the bride of the Crucified, you too must completely renounce your own will and no longer have any desire except to fulfill God’s will.

If you decide for Christ, it could cost you your life.

The Savior hangs naked and destitute before you on the cross because he has chosen poverty. Those who want to follow him must renounce all earthly goods. It is not enough that you once left everything out there and came to the monastery. You must be serious about it now as well. Gratefully receive what God’s providence sends you. Joyfully do without what he may let you do without. Do not be concerned with your own body, with its trivial necessities and inclinations, but leave concern to those who are entrusted with it. Do not be concerned about the coming day and the coming meal.

The Savior hangs before you with a pierced heart. He has spilled his heart’s blood to win your heart. If you want to follow him in holy purity, your heart must be free of every earthly desire. Jesus, the Crucified, is to be the only object of your longings, your wishes, your thoughts.

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell. Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth.

Jesus, the Crucified, is to be the only object of your longings, your wishes, your thoughts.

Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds. You cannot get to them. Do you hear the anguish of the dying? You would like to be a priest and comfort them. Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you? You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them. Look at the Crucified. If you are bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is. You cannot help here or there like the physician, the nurse, the priest. You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross. Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine heart. Its precious blood is poured everywhere, soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you, asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer him? 

“Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”


From Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

Birch Forest
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