Elizabeth of the Trinity: “I Die Daily” Thursday, Nov 8 2012 

Quotide morior exclaimed St. Paul, “I die daily!”

This doctrine of dying to self is the law for every Christian, for Christ said: “If anyone wants to follow Me, let him take up his cross and deny himself.”

But this doctrine which seems so austere, takes on a delightful sweetness when we consider the outcome of this death – life in God in place of our life of sin and misery.

That is what St. Paul meant when he wrote: “Strip off the old man and clothe yourselves anew in the image of Him who created you.”

This image is God Himself.  Do you recall His wish which He so clearly expressed on the day of creation: “Let us make man in our image and likeness”?

[…] St Peter writes… “we have been made sharers in His divine nature.”

And St. Paul recommends that “we hold firm to the end this beginning of His existence which He has given us.”

[…]  If anyone were to ask me the secret of happiness, I would say it is to no longer think of self, to deny oneself always.

That is a good way to kill pride: let it starve to death!

You see, pride is love of ourselves; well, love of God must be so strong that it extinguishes all our self-love.

St. Augustine says we have two cities within us, the city of God and the city of self.

To the extent that the first increases, the second will be destroyed.

A soul that lives by faith in God’s presence, that has this “single eye” that Christ speaks of in the Gospel, that is, a purity of “intention” that seeks only God; this soul, it seems to me, would also live in humility.

It would recognize His gifts to it – for humility is truth – but it would attribute nothing to itself, referring all to God as the Blessed Virgin did.

All the movements of pride that you feel within yourself only become faults when the will takes part in them!

[…] What God asks of you is never to entertain deliberately any thought of pride, and never to act on the inspiration of pride, for this is wrong.

And yet, if you find yourself doing either of these, you must not become discouraged, for again, it is pride which is irritated.

You must “display your misery” like Magdalene at the Master’s feet, and ask Him to set you free.

He so loves to see a soul recognize its weakness.

Then, as a great saint said, “The abyss of God’s immensity encounters the abyss of the creature’s nothingness,” and “God embraces this nothingness”

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); from Complete Works,  Volume I, ICS Publications, pp.124-126 quoted on Praise of Glory.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: The Virgin Remained the Adorer of the Gifts of God Saturday, Jul 2 2011 

“If you knew the gift of God,” Christ said one evening to the Samaritan woman.

[…] There is one who knew this gift of God, one who did not lose one particle of it, one who was so pure, so luminous that she seemed to be the Light itself: Speculum justitiae.

One whose life was so simple, so lost in God that there is hardly anything we can say about it:  Virgo fidelis, that is, “Faithful virgin, “who kept all these things in her heart.”

She remained so little, so recollected in God’s presence, in the seclusion of the temple, that she drew down upon herself the delight of the Holy Trinity: “Because He has looked upon the lowliness of His servant, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed!”

The Father bending down to this beautiful creature, who was so unaware of her own beauty, willed that she be the Mother in time of Him whose Father he is in eternity.

Then the Spirit of love who presides over all of God’s works came upon her: the Virgin said her fiat: “behold the servant of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word,” and the greatest of mystery was accomplished.

By the descent of the Word in her, Mary became forever God’s prey.

It seems to me that the attitude of the Virgin during the months that elapsed between the Annunciation and the Nativity is the model for interior souls, those whom God has chosen to live within, in the depths of the bottomless abyss.

In what peace, in what recollection Mary lent herself to everything she did!  How even the most trivial things were divinized by her!

For through it all the Virgin remained the adorer of the gifts of God!

This did not prevent her from spending herself outwardly when it was a matter of charity; the Gospel tells us that Mary went in haste to the mountains of Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

Never did the ineffable vision that she contemplated within herself in any way diminish her outward charity.

For, a pious author says, if contemplation “continues towards praise and towards the eternity of its Lord, it possesses unity and will not lose it.

“If an order from heaven arrives, contemplation turns towards men, sympathizes with their needs, is inclined towards all their miseries; it must cry and be fruitful.

“It illuminates like fire, and like it, it burns, it absorbs and devours, lifting up to heaven what it has devoured.

“And when it has finished its work here below, it rises, burning with its fire, and takes up again the road on high.”

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); Heaven In Faith, 38-40, from Complete Works,  Volume I, ICS Publications, quoted on Praise of Glory.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: Living in the Image of the Trinity Sunday, Jun 19 2011 

The Holy Trinity created us in its image, according to the eternal design that is possessed in its bosom before the world was created.

[…] God wills that, freed from ourselves, we should stretch out our arms towards our exemplar and possess it, rising above all things towards our model.

This contemplation opens the soul to unexpected horizons.

In a certain manner it possesses the crown towards which it aspires; “the immense riches that God possesses by nature, we may possess by virtue of love, by His dwelling in us and by our dwelling in Him.

It is by virtue of this immense love that we are drawn into the depths of the intimate sanctuary where God imprints in us a true image of His majesty.

[…] “Be holy for I am holy.”  It is the Lord who speaks.

Whatever may be our way of life or the clothing we wear, each of us must be the holy one of God.

Who then is “the most holy?”  The one who is most loving, who gazes longest on God and who most fully satisfies the desires of His gaze.

How do we satisfy the desires of God’s gaze but by remaining simply and lovingly turned towards Him so that He may reflect His own image as the sun is reflected though a pure crystal.

“Let us make man in our own image and likeness.” Such was the great desire in the Heart of our God.

[…] When God sees that we are prepared to receive His grace, His generous goodness is ready to give us the gift that will give us His likeness.

Our aptitude for receiving His grace depends on the inner integrity with which we move towards Him

And then God, “bringing us His gifts,” can give Himself, imprint on us His likeness, forgive and free us.

[…]  The image of God imprinted in the soul is formed by reason, memory, and will.

[…] Now, this is not fully realized unless the intellect is completely enlightened by knowledge of God, the will captivated by the love of the supreme good, and the memory fully absorbed in contemplation and enjoyment of eternal happiness.

And as the glory of the blessed is nothing else than the perfect possession of this state, it is obvious that the initial possession of thee blessings constitutes perfection in this life.

To realize this ideal we must keep recollected within ourselves, remain silently in God’s presence, while the soul immerse itself, expands, becomes enkindled and melts in Him, with an unlimited fullness.

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); Heaven In Faith, 22-25, from Complete Works,  Volume I, ICS Publications, quoted on Praise of Glory.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: Substitute Yourself in Me that My Life may Become but a Reflection of Your Life Friday, Jul 23 2010 

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity.

Let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery!

Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose.

Let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart!

I would anoint you with glory, I would love you – even unto death!

Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm. me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life.

Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you.

In all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light.

O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery.

And you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.

O my “Three”, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed.

Enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendour!

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); O my God, Trinity whom I adore.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: How Rich We Are in the Gifts of God Tuesday, Jul 13 2010 

What an impenetrable mystery death is!

Yet, at the same time, how simple for the soul that has lived in faith, for those who “look not at the things which are seen….”

For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

St. John, whose pure soul was radiant with divine light, gives in a few words what seems to me a most beautiful definition of death:

“Jesus knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father….”

Is not the simplicity of these words touching?

When the final hour sounds for us, we must not suppose that God will come before us to judge us, but that we shall remain for all eternity in the state in which God finds us then, and our degree of grace will be our degree of glory.

By the fact of being delivered from the body, the soul can see Him without a veil within itself, as it has possessed Him all its lifetime, though unable to contemplate Him face to face.

This is perfectly true; it is theology. Is it not a comfort to think that He Who is to be our judge dwells within us throughout our miseries, to save us and to forgive our sins?

St. Paul affirms positively that we are “justified freely by His grace…through faith in His blood.”

How rich we are in the gifts of God, predestinate by divine adoption, and so heirs of the heritage of His glory!

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); quoted in The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Elizabeth of the Trinity by A Carmelite Nun of Dijon, pp. 134-135.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: There Is No Need For Beautiful Thoughts, Only An Outpouring Of Your Heart Wednesday, Apr 14 2010 

I am asking the Holy Spirit to show you this presence of God within you.

If you read the Gospel of John, you will see over and over again that the Master insists on this commandment: “Remain in me, and I in you”, and also that beautiful thought in which He speaks of “fellowship” with the Holy Trinity.

That word is so sweet and it is so simple.  It is enough – Saint Paul says this – it is enough to believe: God is spirit, and we approach Him through faith.

Realize that your soul is the temple of God, it is again Saint Paul who says this.

At every moment of the day and night the three Divine Persons are living within you.

You do no posses the Sacred Humanity as you do when you receive Communion.

But the Divinity, that essence the blessed adore in Heaven, is in your soul; there is a wholly adorable intimacy when you realize that; you are never alone again!

If you’d prefer to think that God is close to you rather than within you, follow your attraction, as long as you live with Him.

Think that you are with Him, and act as you would with Someone you love.

It’s so simple, there is no need for beautiful thoughts, only an outpouring of your heart.

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906): Letter 1273 to her Mother, May 27, 1906 @ Meditations From Carmel Podcast [Complete Works Volume II,  translated by Anne Englund Nash (ICS Publications 1995 pp.270-271)].

Elizabeth of the Trinity: That The Holy Spirit May Transform You Into God Tuesday, Feb 2 2010 

Elizabeth writes to her sister Marguerite:

I have lately been reading some splendid things by St. Paul about Divine adoption, and I naturally  thought of you.

Being a mother, you know what depth of love for your children God has put into  your heart, so you can understand how great is the  mystery of our being the children of God.

Does it not make you tremble, Marguerite? Listen to what my dear St. Paul says:

“God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…Who hath  predestinated us into the adoption of children…unto the praise of the glory of His grace”.

Which means that, almighty as He is, it does not seem as if  He could have done anything more grand.

Again: “If a son, an heir also through God.” And what is this inheritance? “God hath made us worthy to  be partakers of the lot of the saints in light.”

And  then, as if to show that it does not mean in the far future, the Apostle adds: “Now, therefore, you are no more strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God.”

Marguerite! this heaven is the centre of our soul; as St. John of the Cross says, when we are in its deepest centre, we are in God. How simple and consoling it is!

In the midst of all your motherly cares and occupations you can retire into this solitude and give yourself up to the Holy Spirit, so that He may transform you into God, impressing the divine image of His beauty on your soul, in order that, when the Father looks down on you, He may see nothing but His Christ, and may say: “This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased!”

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); quoted in The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Elizabeth of the Trinity by A Carmelite Nun of Dijon, pp. 130-131.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: Remember That He Is Within Us Sunday, Jan 24 2010 

Elizabeth writes:

Since we aspire to become “victims of charity”, like our holy Mother St. Teresa, we must allow ourselves to become rooted in the charity of Christ, as St. Paul says in the beautiful epistle of to-day.

How is that to be done ? In living raised above all that is around us with Him Who dwells within us, and Who is charity. He thirsts to give us all He is, to transform us into Himself.

Let us rouse our faith and remember that He is within us, and wishes us to be true to Him. How many acts of self-denial we can offer unknown to all but Him! Let us lose none of them.

It seems to me that the saints are souls completely oblivious of self, lost in Him Whom they love, with never a thought of self or of creatures, so that they are able to say with St. Paul: “I live, yet not I, but Jesus Christ liveth in me”.

No doubt we must immolate ourselves in order to be so transformed, but we love sacrifice because we love the crucified God.

Oh, let us be in earnest about it! Let us give our soul to Him, telling Him that we long to love but Him alone; let Him do all, for we are feeble and childish, and it is such joy to be the little babe of the good God!

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); quoted in The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Elizabeth of the Trinity by A Carmelite Nun of Dijon, pp. 118.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: We Must Allow Ourselves To Be Transformed Into His Image Monday, Jan 11 2010 

Elizabeth writes:

Love dwells within us, so all I do is to enter into myself and lose myself in Those [the persons of the Trinity] within me.

[…] I am Elizabeth of the Trinity, that is to say, Elizabeth disappearing, submerged in the Three.

Let us give ourselves up to Them, sacrificing ourselves every moment without seeking for anything extraordinary.

Let us make ourselves small, allowing Him Who is our all to carry us in His arms as a mother does her child.

Yes, we are weak indeed, I may say we are nothing but misery; but He well knows that.

He delights in forgiving and raising us up, in bearing us in Himself, in His purity and infinite sanctity.

In this way He purifies us by continual contact with Him. He wishes us to be stainless, and He Himself will be our purity!

We must allow ourselves to be transformed into His image, which will be accomplished simply by loving Him ceaselessly with such a love as causes unity between those who love.

I wish to be a saint that I may glorify my Divine Master; ask Him to make me live for love alone, which is my vocation.

Let us unite ourselves to Him, so that our days may be in continual communion with Him; let us awake in love, deliver ourselves to love all day by doing the will of the good God, in His sight, with Him, in Him, for Him alone;

let us give ourselves incessantly in the way in which He wishes; then, when night comes, after a colloquy of love in our heart throughout the time, let us sleep again in love.

Perhaps we may know of faults and infidelities on our part. Let us abandon them to love which is a consuming fire, and thus we shall have our purgatory.

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); quoted in The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Elizabeth of the Trinity by A Carmelite Nun of Dijon, pp. 117-118.

Elizabeth of the Trinity: Transmerged into the Blessed Trinity Thursday, Dec 31 2009 

Elizabeth writes:

Since our Lord dwells in our soul, His prayer is ours, and I desire to partake of it unceasingly, keeping like a little pitcher beside the fountain, so that I may be able to give life to others by letting His inexhaustible streams of charity overflow on them.

For them do I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in the truth.

Let us make these words of our adorable Master our own.

Yes! Let us sanctify ourselves for the souls of others, for as we are all members of the same body we can cause the Divine life to circulate throughout the great body of the Church in proportion to the share we possess of that life ourselves.

[…] When I think of my name…my soul is conducted by the great vision of the mystery of mysteries into that Trinity Which even in this world is our cloister, our dwelling-place, the infinite Being enclosed in which we can traverse all things.

I am just reading the beautiful teaching of our Father St. John of the Cross about the transformation of the soul into the Three Divine Persons.

To what sublime glory we are called! I can understand the silence and recollection of the saints who could not withdraw from their contemplation, so that God could lead them to the divine mount where union is made perfect between Him and the soul, which is His mystic bride.

What an adorable mystery of charity that God should call us by our vocation to live in such a knowledge!

…I should like to respond to it by passing through this world like our Lady, keeping all these things in my heart, retired, as it were, into the depth of my soul, so as to lose myself, to be transmerged into the Blessed Trinity Who dwells there;

then my device, my radiant ideal, as you call it, would be realized, and I should really be Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); quoted in The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Elizabeth of the Trinity by A Carmelite Nun of Dijon, pp. 113-114.

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