On this feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, it is fitting to reflect on the need to offer our lives for peace in the world, especially when violence and hatred continues to escalate in various corners of the globe. The life of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a German Carmelite nun who was similarly killed during World War II, remains a powerful example.
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, more commonly known as Edith Stein, lived during a very bleak chapter in our world’s history. She was a Jewish convert living in a convent in Germany during World War II.
Realizing that her life was endangered she was transferred to a convent in the Netherlands. However, her seclusion did not last long. The Nazis invaded the country and eventually captured her, sending her to Auschwitz to die.
Before all of this happened, St. Teresa knew that she had to do something to work for peace. She did exactly what she thought would be most efficacious. St. Teresa asked her superior if she could offer herself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
She wrote, “Dear Mother, Please may Your Reverence allow me to offer myself to the Heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of expiation for true peace… If possible, without a new World War… I should like to do this today, because it is the twelfth hour. I know that I am nothing, but Jesus desires it, and during these days He will call many others to do the same.”
As members of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network we are called to offer ourselves daily to the heart of Jesus for peace in the world and for the many challenges facing humanity. May St. Teresa be a shinning example to us and encourage us to seek peace by not only offering ourselves to God in prayer, but also working for peace in our interactions with people every day.
For as the “Way of the Heart” proclaims, we are “apostles sent from the heart of the Father to the heart of the world.”