“What did not lie in my plan lay in God’s plan.  And the more often such things happen to me, the more lively becomes in me the conviction of my faith that – from God’s point of view – nothing is accidental, that my entire life, even the most minute details, was pre-designed in the plans of divine providence and is thus for the all-seeing eye of God a perfect coherence of meaning.” – from Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being, Quoted in Communion with Christ, pg. 96

As we ‘grow’ our library via the Wish List and through the generosity of so many (a great big thanks to all of you from all of escwcus and from the generations to come who will read these books!), we have been able to add some phenomenal new books to the shelves…but not before they pass from sister to sister!

Recently we were blessed to receive (and I was blessed to read): Communion with Christ according to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  Though not Carmelite myself, I have a great love for many of Carmelite Saints, including St. Teresa Benedicta (aka Edith Stein).  I love her witness and the clarity and depth of her thought, but I am not always able to understand her writings.  And so, I am grateful for this new book by Sr. M. Regina van den Berg, F.S.G.M., which really helps to distill some of Edith Stein’s writings surrounding the subject of communion with Christ.

Sr. M. Regina visits 6 different aspects of Stein’s thought/writing on Communion: Communion with Christ and His Cross, Communion with Our Brothers and Sisters, Communion between Man and Woman, Communion with God’s Will, School of Communion, and Communion of Heart and Soul.

esWhile I am sure that men would enjoy this book as well, it does speak especially to the feminine heart.  While I enjoyed every single chapter and look forward to rereading it very soon, I most enjoyed the sections on empathy, catholic education, and formation.  There is a rich contemplative depth that is so inherent to the heart and thought of this great Saint.  Sr. M. Regina does a fantastic job presenting it and making it approachable and digestible, without diminishing depth or beauty.

I’ll close with a short excerpt: “When we live by grace and in the presence of the Person of Christ, our emotional life is also changed, says Edith Stein.  We see all in the light of Christ, and we feel joy and sorrow at that which causes Him joy and sorrow.”

And just one more: “Woman’s soul is first of all to be expansive; that is, it is to have room in it for others.  The natural feminine empathy and interest in the person is to be directed toward the other and for the other.  With the help of grace, this expansiveness is expressed as a tactful, loving empathy and interest that embraces the other, seeking to help and shelter him.”