What delightful peace we experience when we place our joy in suffering!
For an increase in the fruit of joy
St. Paul speaks
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. (Colossians 1:24-26)
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks
It seems to me that the happy ones of this world are those who have enough contempt and forgetfulness of self to choose the Cross as their lot! What delightful peace we experience when we place our joy in suffering!
“In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the passion of Christ for the sake of His body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). The apostle finds his happiness in this! The thought pursues me and I confess that I experience a profound inner joy in thinking that God has chosen to associate me in the passion of His Christ. This way of Calvary I climb each day seems to me more like the path of Beatitude! (The Greatness of Our Vocation, 6-7)
St. Elizabeth’s penned these lines to her young friend Françoise de Sourdon around the 9th of September, 1906. It is a testament to her Carmelite ascetic spirit, knowing that, as St. John of the Cross taught, “in suffering, strength is given to the soul by God” (Dark Night II, 16:9). St. Elizabeth of the Trinity makes this 12-page letter—she called it a “journal”—a precious piece of spiritual direction for a nineteen-year-old aspiring to holiness. If this is St. Elizabeth’s advice to a young adult Catholic, what can we learn from her words of wisdom? Is joy in suffering a thing of the past?
O Saint Elisabeth!
In your great love of God,
You were always so close
to your friends’ needs.
Now, in Heaven,
Face to face with the Lord,
Do intervene near Him
for the needs we recommend to you.
(Make your request)
Teach us how to abide,
in Love and Faith,
with the Holy Trinity
in the utmost of our heart.
Teach us how to radiate God’s Love
amongst men, in our everyday life
just as you did yourself,
so that we may be a praise of God’s glory.
Our Father… (pray slowly, contemplating the meaning of the prayer)
Glory be… (three times, in praise of the indwelling Trinity)
of the Trinity, E 2014, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: General Introduction Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC