By s. Immakulata Adamska OCD,
Love One Another! 9/2008 → The main topic
The love of St. Edith Stein shimmers with a great range of hues. Those searching for truth are struck by its devotion to the truth, those longing for love by the sheer wisdom of this love, and those seeking rest from conflict, find comfort in its idea of reconciliation. It is in this idea of reconciliation that its creativeness and ability to bear fruit reside. The idea was born deep in St Edith’s heart, when, after her conversion, she discovered a new quality of life, one able to concentrate all its power in the spiritual “now” which is rooted in love. According to St. Edith: “In order to become real, love must always be a surrendering of the self. In love, life reaches its highest fulfillment.” Love begins to taste eternal life in the midst of time. It is therefore a foundation that the vicissitudes of life cannot destroy; on the contrary, it is a foundation upon which the soul may build joy and the courage to reach beyond its own self, its own pain.
The example of St. Edith Stein stirs us to seek creatively for answers to the problems that beset our world today, and even points out the path this search must take. Today when everything is being questioned and indeed contested, she suggests ways, which she tried and tested in the crucible of her own life. They are clear and decisive, though difficult, for they are demanding, but for that very reason — boundlessly enriching.
In this personal witness to St. Edith I must first of all attest to the spiritual friendship she has constantly bestowed upon me from our very first contact. This friendship is associated with the gift of “seeing with the heart,” a supernatural ability to internalize every experience, be it profound, superficial, or even seemingly without meaning. Seeing with the heart transforms the problem of conflict into a challenge to act. It opens the window to a deeper experience of supernatural faith, hope, and love. In the first years of my convent life, St. Edith Stein also taught me the “wisdom of love,” that harmony of thought, word, and deed which so powerfully emanates from her work and person.
In the process of my translating her works into Polish, St Edith Stein illuminated my understanding of her thought and often “prompted” the appropriate words to express it. Each published translation brought me new friends and helpers in the writing process. These were mainly people who had also come to experience her spiritual friendship. One particular gift from Edith were the free editions of her work and related literature, which I received from Germany. Another was the relative ease with which I secured permission to translate and publish her works in Poland during communist times.
An understanding of Edith Stein’s message and a focusing of attention on authentic Christian faith and morals can be of enormous help in our current atmosphere of moral, ideological, religious, and confessional strife, for it is only on such a foundation that Europe can hope to build that true unity that she so desperately needs today.