August 9: Ave Crux, Spes Unica

This homily was delivered by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, at the close of the Forty Day Fast for the Truth of Christian Nonviolence at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, August 9, 1997. The end of the fast commemorates the date in 1942 that marks the execution Edith Stein (Sr. Teresia Benedicta of the Cross) by the Nazis at Auschwitz.

Sr. Teresia Benedicta of the Cross is Jesus’ prophetic gift to His Churches because she voluntarily gives up all the accouterments of worldly power and wholeheartedly embraces the “powerless,” unrealistic, vulnerable Cross of Christ-like love. She says, “Ave Crux,” “Welcome Cross,” not out of ignorance of alternatives nor out of defeatism. She exclaims with open arms, “Ave Crux” because she knows it is “spes unica,” “our
only hope”-the only power that can help, that can save.

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