This week, as I prepare for my journey through Lent, I have started reading Edith Stein’s The Hidden Life, a collection of her essays and meditations. Edith Stein was a Discalced Carmelite sister and, along with all the Carmelites, she followed the tradition of Elijah, the Old Testament prophet who was most associated with Mount Carmel in Israel. They saw Elijah as an example of gospel poverty, and an authentic prototype of the Saviour.
In the first mention of Elijah in the Old Testament, he names himself as one who stands before God. Edith Stein describes this thought as foundational to the Discalced Carmelite sisters whose vocation is also
To stand before the face of the living God...
But it is the way Edith describes Elijah’s stance that speaks to me most deeply of her own inner desire, for she says of Elijah,
He stood before God's face because this was the eternal treasure for whose sake,
he gave up all earthly goods.
She goes on to say,
Elijah stands before God's face because all his love belongs to the Lord.
I do not pretend to know the depth of what Edith describes, but I hear her soul’s passion to be constantly in the loving presence of the living God. It refocusses me on what is most important in life and calls me to be still and pay attention to the One who loves me so deeply. May you, as Lent begins this week, take time to “stand before the face of the living God” and give all your love to the One who loves you so deeply.
22 February 2023
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi Pexels.
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