Edith’s mercy

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“Let us entrust ourselves to the mercy of God who is coming to solve all the things that are flouting our strength … hope in this future revelation gives me great joy… when what we see externally in ourselves and in the others could take our courage away from us”.  It is Edith Stein who writes: A great German saint of Jewish origin, philosopher of deep speculative intelligence, assistant to Husserl, and patroness of Europe: it is appropriate to remember her not only during the next day of memory (27 January, in commemoration of the victims of the Shoah), but also because at her school we can find trust in mercy that shines despite the darkness of evil and violence, which characterize so dramatically the “short century” in which the Carmelite saint lived in Auschwitz till death.

One of Edith’s favorite biblical models was Queen Esther who had risked her life to save her people: “I have to constantly think about Queen Esther who was subtracted to her people to answer in front of the king. I am a little Esther, poor and powerless, but the King who has chosen me is infinitely great and merciful. And this is of great consolation for me”… “I have never liked to think that the mercy of God stops at the borders of the visible Church. God is truth; who is looking for truth is looking for God, whether they are aware of it or not”.

This hope in divine mercy, present in Stein, despite the fact that she experienced great difficulties and persecutions in first person, is exemplary exactly at the present time, when evil and violence continue to take root insidiously: even so “Misericordiae Vultus”, the Bill of Indiction of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, invites us to “look at the future with hope…crossing a door of mercy, whoever enters, will be able to experience the love of God who comforts, who forgives and gives hope”.

But how come mercy arises in front of evil? Edith Stein wrote: “The essence of love consists in going towards another person”: it evokes in our mind all the “verbs of action suggested by the archbishop of Catanzaro-Squillace and CEC President, Monsignor Vincenzo Bertolone, for the jubilee year:

“Take initiative and be fearless”, “make the first step”, “precede in love”, “move towards” and “seek those who are distant”. In front of the pressing spiral of violence that seems to make the present bitter and the horizon of our future obscure, learning more about the person of Edith Stein, mentioned above, can give us the necessary light to seize and offer stronger signs of the presence and of the merciful closeness of God.

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