St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 9

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey

Intention

For an increase in the fruit of self-control

St. Paul speaks

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

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 unto death!  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.

Meditation 

St. Elizabeth’s biographer, Fr. Conrad de Meester, OCD, writes that her self-control during the last two years before she entered the Carmel of Dijon was quite evident and permitted the depth and richness of her heart to become visible to others around her. Even in her famous prayer to the Holy Trinity, that sense of self-mastery shines through as she writes these self-effacing lines: “to forget myself entirely… as still and as peaceful… may nothing trouble my peace… wholly present… wholly surrendered.” Like a radiology technician who instructs a patient, “don’t breathe, don’t move”, it seems as if St. Elizabeth is choosing not to breathe, not to move, but rather to remain transfixed as she gazes on her beloved Star.

And what about us? We may recognize that we need to grow in self-control, but have no clue where or how to begin. Why not begin with our prayer lives, our spiritual habits? If we can devote 5 minutes daily to devotion, scripture, meditation, even to silence, that 5 minutes of self-discipline can enable us to grow in self-mastery in other areas of our lives, as well. Is it worth a try? If we answer, “yes,” then St. Elizabeth probably would say this novena was worth the effort.

NOVENA PRAYER 

O Saint Elizabeth!
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)

 

8x10.ai
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

 

Scripture passages for the novena provided by Bible Gateway

Prayer to the Holy Trinity translated by the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Boston Carmel

Novena Prayer translated by the nuns of the Carmel of Dijon

References to Fr. Conrad de Meester’s biography of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity are drawn from Rien Moins Que Dieu: Sainte Élisabeth de la Trinité (Presses de la Renaissance, Paris, 2017)

Quote of the day: 2 August

“We went to Mass, and she didnt come back.”

Madame Catez

 

Dijon_Monastere_Carmel_de_Dijon
The former Carmel of Dijon | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

On 2 August 1901, the cloister door of the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Dijon opened wide to admit 21-year-old Elizabeth Catez as a postulant. Mother Marie of Jesus, the prioress of Dijon who was also the foundress of the new Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, had desired to take the young postulant with her to the new foundation. Mother Marie had discussed it with Madame Catez toward the end of June, who promised the prioress that she would make the supreme sacrifice and permit her daughter to enter a Carmel in another diocese. Elizabeth, in an attitude of total abandonment to the will of God, was ready to accept all.

Biographer Conrad de Meester, O.C.D. notes that at the beginning of July, Mother Marie of Jesus began to prepare for the new postulant in Paray-le-Monial. Elizabeth would enter on the First Friday in August—August 2nd. The entire month of July was spent with a sense of certitude in the Catez household that Sabeth would be over 100 kilometers from home, not a mere stone’s throw away, not even within earshot as the nuns would sing the Sanctus after Madame Catez would take a brisk walk to morning Mass at the Carmelite monastery.

The postulant’s trousseau was already prepared in Paray-le-Monial when Madame Catez was overcome with regret. She confided in a friend. The friend advised her that she should take up the matter with someone of authority. God writes straight with crooked lines, they say; in this case, the line of authority ran directly from the Sister who was the monastery Portress and an old friend of the Catez family: Sr. Marie of the Trinity.

When Sister Marie learned how distraught Madame Catez had become at the prospect of losing her daughter to the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, Sister had an idea: to have her own spiritual director, the esteemed Dominican friar Père Vallée, intervene with Mother Marie of Jesus. But first, Sister Marie needed to ascertain Elizabeths own sentiments in the matter. That was simple.

During the Diocesan Inquiry for the process of beatification, Sister Marie of the Trinity explained under oath that when Elizabeth next stopped by the monastery, Sister Marie quizzed her concerning her upcoming postulancy in the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial.

Do you have a special attraction for the city of the Sacred Heart?

No.

Does a foundation there attract you?

I rather doubt it. The peace and silence of an established monastery like Dijon would attract me much more. And the distance would cost my mother. 

Have you talked to Père Vallée about this?

No, I prefer to abandon myself and let the good God guide everything according to his good wishes.

Would you permit me to talk to Father about it?

Oh, yes!

Father de Meester writes that without the intervention of Sister Marie of the Trinity, the portress of Dijon, we would not even be speaking of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity from the Carmel of Dijon; she would be known as Elizabeth from the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial.

De Meester also indicates that when the Dominican Père Vallée learned of the great emotional toll it would take upon Elizabeth’s mother, he urged Madame Catez to speak honestly with Mother Marie about her misgivings and her sincere desire to remain near her beloved daughter. That distance of 140 kilometers between Dijon and Paray-le-Monial could make visits to the monastery difficult and rare.

 

Paray-le-Monial basilique
The 12th c. basilica of Paray-le-Monial. Photo taken from a glass plate negative | Gilles Péris y Saborit / Flickr

 

It was all a last-minute decision. On the 28th or the 29th of July, Madame Catez wrote to Mother Marie of Jesus, who was away at Paray-le-Monial. Father De Meester indicates that the prioress responded immediately and “with humanity and serenity.”

 

Dear Madame,

May the good God give you peace and joy in your great sacrifice. As far as I am concerned, I am happy to be able to contribute by leaving our dear child to [the Carmel of] Dijon and you can consider it as having taken place. I am writing to Dijon that they should prepare her little cell for the 2nd of Augustif I am not there to receive her, our dear Mother sub-prioress Germaine of Jesus and Sister Marie of the Trinityher guardian angelwill be there and I will find her when I return; I am really held back here. So console yourself right now, as well as my dear little Marguerite, Elizabeth will stay in Dijon. I really love Elizabeth because I feel that she loves Our Lord very much and that she will make a true daughter of Saint Teresa; if it is a sacrifice for me to lose her, it is a joy to give her to Dijon, of which I am still a mother and of which I will always be a daughter, the two convents will never be but one. I would like to write to Elizabeth, but I cannot do it tonight and I want to reassure you right away because it is painful for me to sense that you are in such anguish. Fear no moreI believe, dear Madame, that we are doing God’s will, and that’s all there is in this world.

 

MEESTER, Conrad de. Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité (French Edition) . edi8. Kindle Edition.
Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Dedicated to Cristhian, sine qua non.

 

Quote of the day: 19 April

“I will never forget the emotions of 19 April: I saw my child so recollected, so earnest, her tears did not cease to flow and I understood that God had taken possession of that heart so pure, so loving, which no longer would beat except for him.”

Madame Catez
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity’s mother recalls her daughter’s first Holy Communion, 1891
Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité

19 April 1891 taken on communion day sepia large
19 April 1891 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity First Holy Communion, St. Michael Parish, Dijon | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Order

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