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The science of the cross. Saint John of the Cross, Edith Stein

The science of the cross. Saint John of the Cross, Edith Stein.


Edith stein.. Martyr in the Auschwitz Holocaust


In the month of September or October 1568 the young Carmelite Juan de Yepes, known until then by the name of Juan de Santo Matía with which he had professed in Carmel, made his entry into the poor farmhouse of Duruelo, which was to serve foundation and cornerstone of the Teresian Reform that was then beginning. On November 28, along with two other companions, he committed himself to the observance of the Primitive Rule and took the nickname of the Cross as his noble title.

As we have just pointed out, Juan de la Cruz was by then no novice in the science of the Cross. The nickname he adopted in the Order shows that God united with his soul to symbolize a particular mystery. Juan tries to indicate with the change of name that the Cross will be from now on the badge of his life. When we speak here of the Science of the Cross


The same Savior, on different occasions and with different meanings, has spoken of the Cross: when he predicted his Passion and Death2 he had before his eyes in a literal sense the bonfire of ignominy in which he was going to end his life of the. But when he says «…he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me»3 or «he who wants to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me»4, the La The cross is the symbol of everything that is difficult and heavy, and that is so contrary to nature, that when one takes this burden on oneself, one has the sensation of walking towards death. And this is the burden that the disciple of Christ must carry daily.


Nowhere does this appear so clearly and impressively expressed as in Saint Paul’s message, which constitutes a well-developed Science of the Cross, a Theology of the Cross, lived in the soul. «Christ sent me… to evangelize and not with artificial words so that the Cross of Christ is not distorted. Because the doctrine of the cross of Christ is madness for those who are lost, but it is the power of God for those who are saved”; «…the Jews ask for signs, the Greeks seek wisdom, while we preach Christ Crucified, scandal for the Jews, madness for the Gentiles, more power and wisdom of God for those called, be they Jews or Greeks. For the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men, and the weakness of God is stronger than the strength of men.


The doctrine of the Cross constitutes the «Evangelium Pauli», the message that he has to announce to Jews and Gentiles. It is a simple message, without embellishments, without any pretense of persuading with rational arguments.


: «As for me, God forbid that I glory except in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified for me and I for the world»16. He who has decided for Christ is dead to the world and the world to him. He carries on his body the stigmata of the Lord 17; he is weak and despised before men but straight and, for that reason, strong, because the strength of God is his strength in weakness 18

With this knowledge, the disciple of Christ not only takes upon himself the Cross that has been imposed on him, but he himself is crucified. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified his flesh with his passions and lusts”


The Toledo prison also offered him abundant opportunities for this, he called the Holy Mother to Ávila to help him in her difficult mission. She had received the order to return as prioress to the Monastery of the Incarnation from which she had left. She had to, under the observance of the mitigated rule, suppress the abuses that had been introduced there and lead the numerous Community to a true spiritual life. For this, she found it essential to have good confessors. No one could find more on purpose than Juan, whose experience in her inner life she knew very well.


From 1572 to 1577 she worked here for the great benefit of souls.


On the night of December 3 to 4, 1577, some shod with their accomplices entered the house inhabited by the two father confessors and took them prisoner. Since then, all traces have disappeared.


Only nine months later, after her release, did it become known where she had been. Blindfolded he was led, through solitary neighborhoods, to the Convent of Our Lady of Toledo, the most famous of the convents of mitigated observance in Castile. They took his statement and, as he refused to leave the Reformation, he was treated as a rebel. He served as a prison for her in a narrow room, ten feet long by six wide, in which «how small he is,» as Teresa would later write, he barely fit.


This room had no window or other ventilation, but an open port in the wall. To pray his breviary, the prisoner had to get on a chair and wait for the sun to rise3. The door was secured with a padlock. When, in March, 1578, he was received

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