“My soul is always in my hands” [Ps 119:109]. My Master sang this in His soul and that is why in the midst of all His anguish He always remained the calm and strong One. My soul is always in my hands! What does that mean but this complete self-possession in the presence of the peaceful One?
There is another of Christ’s songs that I would like to repeat unceasingly: “I shall keep my strength for you” [Ps 59:9; cf. Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 28:8]. My Rule tells me: “In silence will your strength be” [Cf. Is 30:15, Rule of Carmel, no. 15]. It seems to me, therefore, that to keep one’s strength for the Lord is to unify one’s whole being by means of interior silence, to collect all one’s powers in order to “employ” them in “the one work of love” [Cf. Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 28], to have this “single eye” which allows the light of God to enlighten us [Cf. Mt 6:22].
A soul that debates with itself, that is taken up with its feelings, and pursues useless thoughts [Cf. Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 28:7] and desires, scatters it forces, for it is not wholly directed toward God. Its lyre does not vibrate in unison and when the Master plays it, He cannot draw from its divine harmonies, for it is still too human and discordant.
The soul that still keeps something for self in its “inner kingdom” [Cf. Living Flame of Love, Stanza 4:5], whose powers are not “enclosed” in God, cannot be a perfect praise of glory; it is not fit to sing uninterruptedly this “canticum magnum” of which St. Paul speaks since unity does not reign in it. Instead of persevering in praise through everything in simplicity, it must continually adjust the strings of its instrument which are all a little out of tune.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat: Second Day
17 August 1906
Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2014, I Have Found God, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity Volume 1: Major spiritual writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.