Edith Stein’s Offer of Self to the Heart of Jesus

Foto-Edith-SteinI spent the Feast Day of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] reading her correspondence. There were several that left impressions, such as her correspondence with the novelist—Gertrude von Le Fort and a request to her Prioress to make an offering of herself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As the clouds of war were looming over Europe, Edith was confronted with concerns regarding the nature of suffering and self-sacrifice. In this letter she offered her life in atonement for the upcoming sins of the world.

The letter may come off as kitsch. Yet from a woman who once moved in the rarified academic air of Europe’s great philosophers this is nothing less than an expression of wanting to be drawn into the difficult mystery of redemption—an articulation of absolute self-emptying love.

[From Edith SteinSelf-Portrait in Letters 1916-1942]

Letter to Mother Ottilia Thannisch, OCD, Echt

Passion Sunday, March 26, 1939

Dear Mother: please, will Your Charity allow me to offer myself to the heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of propitiation for true peace, that the dominion of the Antichrist may collapse, if possible, without a new world war, and that a new order may be established? I would like it [my request] granted this very day because it is the twelfth hour. I know that I am nothing, but Jesus desires it, and surely he will call many others to do likewise

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