On Wednesday, we gathered again for mid-week evening prayer and to listen to another saint and martyr of the church as together we considered the cost of discipleship.  This week we encountered the profound reflections of Sister Teresa Benedicta.  She was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism, eventually becoming a Carmelite nun.   Her life as a devout Christian did not spare her from the horrors of the holocaust, and she was killed at Auschwitz in 1942.

In the poignant poem that Sister Theresa crafted on Good Friday in 1938, she unveils a truth that resonates deeply with our Lutheran understanding of discipleship—namely, the willingness to share in Christ’s suffering as a pathway to sharing in God’s promise.[1]  Sister Teresa beautifully depicts Mary’s faithful presence beneath the cross, illustrating her role as the “Mother of Sorrows.” Through her willing embrace of Calvary’s anguish, she secures anew the gift of life for every soul.

Similarly, Sister Teresa’s contemplation on the writings of John of the Cross sheds light on the gift of taking on the sins of others, emphasizing its profound connection to Christ.[2]  As Lutherans who treasure the connection we have to Jesus in our baptisms, we’re similarly united in such suffering when taken on for the sake of our neighbor.  Thus, the “love of the cross” is not at odds with our identity as joyful children of God; rather, as Sister Theresa suggests, it fills us with a deep and pure joy as we partner with Jesus’ redemptive work.

This Lenten journey invites us to embrace the call to share in Christ’s suffering with hearts full of joy and gratitude. By bearing our own crosses with love, we participate authentically in God’s vision for the world.  May God’s blessings accompany you abundantly as you walk this path of discipleship with courage and faith.

May God’s peace find you today.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray… God of love, we give thanks for the life and witness of Sister Theresa Benedicta.  Grant us courage to embrace suffering joyfully, knowing it unites us with Jesus, fulfilling the promise of your vision for the world. Amen.

[1] Edith Stein and the Mother of God

[2] Edith Stein and John of the Cross