The Christian Working Woman

When we get up in the morning, the duties and cares of the day will crowd in on us, if they have not already driven away the peace of the night. This is when we need to get things under control and say: Calm down! None of this must touch me now. My first hour of the morning belongs to the Lord. I want to tackle the day’s labor that forces itself upon me, and He will give me the power to succeed.

Then the day’s labor starts. Thee may not be a single hour when you achieve what you had set yourself: there is your own fatigue, unforeseen interruptions, quite a few unpleasant incidents, things that exasperate and frighten you, times when you meet unpleasant superiors, demands that cannot be fulfilled, unfair accusations, perhaps also distress of various kinds.

It is lunch time. You get home exhausted and worn out. Further attacks may be waiting for you. More ferment, more storms: anger, problems, sorrow. Don’t you have to get on with things as quickly as possible? No. Even if it is only within yourself, stop short for a moment, shut everything off and take refuge in the Lord. After all, He is with you.

And so it will go one for the rest of the day., perhaps, with great trouble, but in peace. And when it is night time again, and you understand, with hindsight, that all your toil has remained incomplete and that many of the things you planned are still undone, when you are ashamed and sorry about so many things: take everything as it is, place it in God’s hands and leave it to him. Then you can rest, really rest, and start the new day as if it were a new life.

Edith Stein, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
(Die Frau, ihre Aufgabe nach Natur und Gnade, volume V, pp. 88-90).

A version of the last paragraph has been making its way around Facebook. It’s one of my favorite passages and I’ve even copied it out in a notebook before. When I was flipping through the Mass book from her canonization (see more about going to her canonization here, I found the fuller passage and was struck by how beautiful the whole reflection is.

My first thought is that it’s obvious she was never a mother of small children. What a luxury to have an hour at the start of the day to pray uninterrupted! But oh does she nail it with all the bits about the cares and worries of the day. And I love how she puts it all into the proper perspective.

4 Responses to The Christian Working Woman

  1. Melanie Bettinelli August 15, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Celeste, Thanks for the recommendation. I have requested it from the library.

  2. GeekLady August 15, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Goldfinches show up associated with Jesus in a lot of paintings, too.  Fr. Z posts a lot about the Christological goldfinch.

  3. Celeste August 15, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    There is a beautiful picture book about this tale: The King of the Birds by Helen Ward.
    http://www.amazon.com/King-Birds-Helen-Ward/dp/1840117036

    I know you all will love it—the illustrations are pretty fantastic!

  4. Melanie Bettinelli August 16, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    GeekLady, I’d forgotten about that. Ok, now we need to go look up more about goldfinches.

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