SABETH - I do not fear my weakness (2)
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity was a 19th c. Discalced Carmelite nun from Dijon, France whose unique insight was her spiritual doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in our souls. Her nickname was “Laudem Gloriae” because her sole desire was to be a “praise of God’s glory” on earth, as in heaven. She died at the age of 26 from Addison’s Disease, adrenal insufficiency.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 9

When I am up above, will you let me help you, scold you even, if I see you are not giving everything to the Master? because I love you!

Intention

For the grace to give everything to the Master: It was the end of October when St. Elizabeth wrote the letter that has served as the prayerful foundation for our novena meditations. She was certain that she would die soon, and this letter to a dear friend served as her “spiritual testament.” At the head of the letter, she wrote this inscription: “Deus charitas est (God is love),” [I Jn 4:16] and she continued: “the hour is drawing near when I am going to pass from this world to my Father…” Totally surrendered to God, in an attitude of complete abandonment and self-giving to the Lord, she was prepared to meet her Spouse, the Bridegroom of her soul. Emptied of self, she was overflowing with divine love. She describes this as she writes: “Never was the heart of the Master so overflowing with love as at the supreme moment when he was going to leave his own! It seems to me as if something similar is happening in His little bride at the evening of her life, and I feel as if a wave were rising from my heart to yours! Dear Antoinette, in the light of eternity, the soul sees things as they really are.” And so, our novena comes full circle. Like St. Paul at his farewell to the elders of Ephesus, [cf. Ac 20:17-37] St. Elizabeth knows that what is essential counts. And, the example of self-giving and abandonment to Christ that she offers to us is the same example that we are called to offer to others. This is our vocation: to become great saints like Elizabeth of the Trinity. And to ensure that we are on the path to sainthood, she wants to help us in her own Totus Tuus way. Why not say yes? Say yes to holiness, yes to Elizabeth, say yes to Christ!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks

“When I am up above, will you let me help you, scold you even, if I see you are not giving everything to the Master? because I love you! … May He keep you wholly His, wholly faithful; in Him I will always be WHOLLY YOURS.”

Meditation 

In silent prayer, turn to Saint Elizabeth in your need. She is up above, ready to help you because she loves you. Ask her to show you how to give everything to the Master, Jesus Christ, in trust and love. Entrust yourself entirely to him as she did – he will keep you entirely his own!

NOVENA PRAYER 

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 the 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!

Trinity Flower
trinity flower | Marilylle Soveran
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
Closing Prayer from the official St. Elizabeth of the Trinity website

November 8: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

November 8
SAINT ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY
Virgin

Memorial

Elizabeth Catez of the Trinity was born in 1880 in the diocese of Bourges. In 1901 she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Dijon. There she made her profession of vows in 1903 and from there she was called “to light, to love, and to life” by the Divine Spouse in 1906. A faithful adorer in spirit and in truth, her life was a “praise of glory” of the Most Blessed Trinity, present in her soul and loved amidst interior darkness and excruciating illness. In the mystery of divine inhabitation, she found her “heaven on earth,” her special charism, and her mission for the church.

From the common of virgins or of holy women (religious)

Office of Readings

SECOND READING
From the writings of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, Virgin
(Oeuvres completes I (Paris, 1980), p. 200)

The indwelling Trinity

O my God, Trinity Whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of your Mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling, and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You even until I die of love! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to clothe me with Yourself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute Yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior. O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, come upon me, and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And you, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature: cover her with Your shadow, seeing in her only the Beloved in whom You are well pleased.

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.

RESPONSORY

You are God’s temple and the Spirit of God lives in you.
Glorify God in your body.
To the praise of his glory,
glorify God in your body.

PRAYER

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 8

I do not fear my weakness; that’s what gives me confidence.

Intention 

For the grace of confidence in God’s power. Here’s a Carmelite quiz: who wrote it? “The Almighty has done great things in the soul of His divine Mother’s child, and the greatest thing is to have shown her her littleness, her powerlessness.” St. Paul said that he was “content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” [II Cor 12:10] St. Elizabeth was a great disciple of her beloved St. Paul, singing and praising the power of God each day in the Liturgy of the Hours. Even in her suffering, she trusted in his power, just as her “little sister” in Lisieux had done ten years before. The answer to our quiz? Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. [Story of a Soul, Ms C 04r]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks 

“I do not fear my weakness; that’s what gives me confidence. For the Strong One is within me and His power is almighty.”

Meditation 

Make a list of those aspects of your character or behavior that you consider to be your principal weaknesses. As you pray, next to each weakness write down an aspect of God’s character that demonstrates his power in comparison to your weakness. For example, if you often feel fearful, make a note that God gives courage. If your heart is broken, make a note that God grants healing. In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to show you one point of God’s strength where he can overcome one of your weaknesses. Resolve to focus on his power at that point in your life. Share your progress with your confessor or spiritual director.

NOVENA PRAYER

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Mick Taylor
Mick Taylor (1945 -2017) | The Naked Ape
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 7

It is this intimacy with Him “within” that has been the beautiful sun illuminating my life… it is what sustains me today in my suffering

Intention

For the grace of a greater intimacy with Christ: it sounds like a wonderful thing, but we may think, “such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.” [Ps 139:6] On the contrary, intimacy with Jesus is a frequent theme in the homilies of Pope Francis, who always emphasizes how close the Lord is to us and how he never leaves us:

The Lord is a friend forever. Even if you disappoint him and walk away from him, Jesus continues to want the best for you and to remain close to you; he believes in you even more than you believe in yourself…  The Lord… is always with you and he is happy to be with you. As he did with his first disciples, he looks you in the eye and he calls you to follow him, to “put out into the deep” and to “cast your nets wide” trusting in his words and using your talents in life, in union with him, without fear. Jesus is waiting patiently for you. He awaits your response. He is waiting for you to say “yes”. 

Practicing the presence of God, St. Elizabeth grew in this friendship and intimacy with the Lord to the point that his presence became her sustenance in darkness and suffering. Like St. Paul, she desires that we might grow in this love, too, so that we may “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” and that we “may be filled with all the fullness of God.” [Eph 3:19]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks 

“It is this intimacy with Him “within” that has been the beautiful sun illuminating my life, making it already an anticipated Heaven; it is what sustains me today in my suffering.”

Meditation 

Consider the points of suffering in your life. Jesus loves you infinitely! Are you permitting his love to sustain you in your suffering? Where are you trying to bear your burdens alone? Let him love you and uphold you.

NOVENA PRAYER

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

pine cone kid
Pine cone kid | Kevin Conor Keller
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
Homily by Pope Francis (full text), Jubilee for Boys and Girls, 24 April 2016

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 6

I leave you my faith in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls

Intention 

For an increase in faith in the presence of God dwelling within: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity was a true daughter of her Holy Mother, St. Teresa of Avila. One of St. Teresa’s most famous dictums concerning prayer that has guided Carmelites through all generations is this: “Keeping Christ present is what we of ourselves can do.” This method of prayer, taught and recommended by the Discalced Carmelite friar of Paris, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, [The Practice of the Presence of God] was well known to St. Elizabeth. Perhaps she knew of St. Teresa’s method of keeping Christ present before she entered the Carmel of Dijon; certainly, she learned this method as she studied the works of St. Teresa, especially The Book of Her Life, Chapter 12, where the Saint explains the beginning stage of prayer. For St. Elizabeth, this practice of the presence of God is the springboard in prayer by which she dives deep into the abyss of mercy, the indwelling presence of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. St. Elizabeth experienced the abiding presence of God; by faith, she knew the truth of St. Paul’s promise to the Romans: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” [Rom 5:5]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks

“I leave you my faith in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls.”

Meditation

Just for today, practice being aware of the presence of God within you. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you to be mindful of God’s presence.

NOVENA PRAYER

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Berber elder and child
Berber elder and child | Tribes of the World
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 5

Here is the secret: forget self, give up self, ignore self, look at the Master

Intention

To share in the self-giving love of Christ: “Be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind,” St. Paul wrote to the Philippians. [Phil 2:2] The union of believers in the Church was Paul’s one, great goal. How to achieve it? “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself…” [Phil 2:5-7] For the Carmelite, union with God is the one, great goal, and the means to achieve it are similar: the self-emptying, self-giving love of Christ. Saint Elizabeth said that to achieve this self-emptying, we must study Christ and concentrate on His devotion to accomplishing the will of the Father.  With Christ, we must learn to say “Here we are, O Father, we come to do your will.”

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks

“Here is the secret: forget self, give up self, ignore self, look at the Master, look only at Him, accept as coming directly from His love both joy and suffering; this places the soul on such serene heights!”

Meditation

Use St. Elizabeth’s quote to make a spiritual checklist for yourself. Resolve to practice one point on the checklist for one day, or one week, or one month. Review your progress with your confessor or spiritual director.

NOVENA PRAYER

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

“雲屯霧集” / 寧 Serenity / 山東省泰山 Mount Tai, S
“雲屯霧集” / 寧 Serenity / 山東省泰山 Mount Tai, Shandong Province | See-ming Lee
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 4

How serious life is: each minute is given us in order to “root” us deeper in God

Intention

For the resolve to seek to be rooted deeper in God. To be rooted deeper in God requires a special kind of fidelity in which we remain in communion with love, flow into love and allow ourselves to be rooted in love.  In the face of the exceeding love of God, Saint Elizabeth proposed that each of our acts, movements, thoughts, aspirations must be rooted more deeply in love (Heaven in Faith 43).  She does not have in mind a passing feeling, a nice wish or a vague intention.  As she herself witnessed even during her long difficult illness, this divine gift is welcomed in the concrete circumstances of the present moment no matter how challenging. Not limited to what is convenient but instead ready for any sacrifice, God’s love in us always opens up a way to thank Christ who for our sake was crucified by love. St. Paul writes to the Ephesians that he is praying for them, that the Lord “may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” [Eph 3:16-17] And to the Colossians, he urges, “continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” [Col 2:6-7]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks

“How serious life is: each minute is given us in order to “root” us deeper in God, as Saint Paul says, so the resemblance to our divine Model may be more striking, the union more intimate.”

Meditation

What prevents you from sinking my roots deeper in God? Pray for the grace to let go.

NOVENA PRAYER

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

roots red leaves
Roots In Red | Mark Faviell 
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

The Marie du jour – May 26

In the solitude of our little cell, which I call my “little paradise” because it is entirely filled with Him for whom all live in Heaven, I will look very often at this precious picture and will unite myself to the soul of the Virgin at the time when the Father was overshadowing her, while the Word was becoming incarnate within her, and the Holy Spirit was coming upon her to bring about the great mystery. It is the whole Trinity in action, surrendering themselves, giving themselves; and the life of the Carmelite must be lived within this divine embrace.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Burne-Jones, Edward, 1833-1898; The Annunciation
The Annunciation
Edward Burne-Jones (British, 1833–1898)
Oil on canvas, 1879
Lady Lever Art Gallery
It is the whole Trinity in action, surrendering themselves, giving themselves
Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt), around 25 June 1905
The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 226)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

The Marie du jour – May 8

“Virgo fidelis”: that is, Faithful Virgin, “who kept all these things in her heart.” [Lk. 2:19] 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!” [Lk. 1:48] 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.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

She remained so little, so recollected in God’s presence

 

Presentation-BVM_Pierre Mignard - 1635 (2)
The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (detail)
Pierre Mignard (French, 1612 – 1695)
Oil on canvas, 1635
Private collection

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity Complete Works, Volume I: I Have Found God
General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p. 110)
Edition produced, presented, and annotated by Conrad De Meester, O.C.D.
Translated by Sr. Aletheia Kane, O.C.D.
ICS Publications, Copyright © by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc. 1984, 2014

The Marie du jour – May 3

Avila, Incarnation, Jan. 19, 1572

St. Teresa’s vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation

1. On the eve of the feast of St. Sebastian, the first year in which I was prioress at the Incarnation, at the beginning of the Salve Regina, I saw the Mother of God descend with a great multitude of angels and sit in the prioress’s choir stall where there was a statue of our Lady. In my opinion, I didn’t then see the statue but our Lady herself. It seemed to me she looked something like she does in the painting the countess gave me; [1] although the power to discern this was quickly taken away, for my faculties were soon held in great suspension. It seemed to me there were angels above the canopies of the stalls in the back and above the front stalls; although they were not in corporeal form, for this was an intellectual vision.

She remained for the whole of the Salve, and she told me: “You were indeed right in placing me here; [2] I shall be present in the praises they give my Son, and I shall offer these praises to Him.”

2. After this, I remained in the kind of prayer I now have, that of keeping my soul present with the Blessed Trinity. And it seemed to me that the Person of the Father drew me to Himself and spoke very pleasant words. Among them, while showing me what He wanted, He told me: “I gave you My Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this Blessed Virgin. What can you give Me?”

 

Avila-Encarnation_Choir_1882-pilgrims-guidebook
Avila, nuns’ choir in the Carmelite monastery of Incarnation

 

[1] She is speaking of a painting given her by the Countess of Osorno, Doña María de Velasco, a friend of hers who lived in Valladolid. The painting is still preserved at St. Joseph's of Avila.

[2] When she took possession of her office as prioress of the Incarnation, October 14, 1571, she placed a statue of Our Lady of Clemency in the prioress's stall with the keys to the monastery in its hands.

Spiritual Testimonies: 21 Her vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

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