There’s so much fear and frustration in our world today, and we’re reminded of it everywhere we go. But we’re not the only ones to experience a crazy world. St. Edith Stein worked in a hospital for people with infectious diseases before becoming Catholic and a nun. And then, her life was cut short when Nazis killed her at Auschwitz because she was Jewish. Living in fear of contracting a deadly disease or being directly affected by racial injustice were things she experienced throughout her life. Here are some concrete ways to live well in these crazy times, based on quotes from St. Edith Stein’s writings.
St. Edith says to live each day, in whatever vocation or occupation to which you are called, “in the light of eternity.” In other words, don’t get too caught up in the nitty gritty of what’s happening in your vocation on a single day. Put your struggles into perspective — we are called to live eternally, and this world is just a first step in that direction. Some practical ways to live this out include the following …
Don’t forget prayer, especially when you become fearful or frustrated in your day.
Try praying the Rosary tonight before watching your wind-down show or before reading your favorite book or catching up on the news.
When you realize you’ve been replaying a situation from work over and over again, decide to let it go.
As frustrating as it is, reliving it one more time will not make it go away or help you stay focused on what’s most important.
A second helpful quote from St. Edith is, “The true Christian is not obliged to renounce the things of this world or to lessen his natural abilities.” In other words, you are called to be fully you in how you approach your life, and shouldn’t have to dumb down your talents or gifts to be who you’re called to be. Some practical ways to do this include the following …
Use your talents in response to people or situations you encounter, not the talents you wish you had.
Maybe your gifts would be put to better use in a different volunteer position, or a different group from that of your friends. That’s a good thing. Find what you’re good at and help out in those ways.
Edith also says we don’t have to give up the things of this world.
So, celebrate a good day with dessert. Better yet, bring a treat to someone else across town and share it with them, just because.
How Edith Stein Made Me a Woman
Finally, St. Edith suggests that you not try to know everything. When you attempt that, you “skim the surface of everything and plunge deeply into nothing. And that superficiality can never be true humanity.” In other words, it’s okay to have some things you don’t know about. Shoot for quality and depth in the things you are passionate about, and don’t try to know a little about everything. That attitude also puts you in a great position to learn from others, rather than always having an opinion or an answer about every topic that comes up.
How to do this?
Disconnect from the constant stream of news sometimes by logging onto social media less often.
That steady stream of information alerts you to many things, but only gives you a tiny taste or one side of an issue, and often leaves you feeling like you know more about an issue than you do.
Sit outside for a few minutes throughout the day.
If your July is like mine, it probably means the evenings and mornings are the most pleasant times of the day to get out of the air conditioning. During those times, allow yourself to think. Give yourself time to process the information and opinions you have chosen to read that day.
It helps to know that the saints have been there before us in times as challenging as our own. St. Edith Stein, pray for us!
4 Ways to develop empathy according to Edith Stein