It seems to me that the soul that is aware of its greatnessenters into the “holy freedom of the children of God” of which the Apostle speaks (Rom 8:21), that is, it transcends all things, including self.
The freest soul, I think, is the one most forgetful of self.
If anyone were to ask me the secret of happiness, I would say it is to no longer think 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 (cf. De Civitate 14:28). 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 (Matt 6:22), that is, a purity of “intention” that seeks only God (Rusbrock l’Admirable 34); this soul, it seems to me, would also live in humility: it would recognize his gifts to it—for “humility is truth” (Interior Castle VI:10)—but it would attribute nothing to itself, referring all to God as the Blessed Virgin did.
Catez, E 2014, I Have Found God: General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
When I read in the Gospel “that Mary went in haste to the hill country of Judea” (Lk 1:39) to perform her loving service for her cousin Elizabeth, I imagine her passing by so beautiful, so calm and so majestic, so absorbed in recollection of the Word of God within her. Like Him, her prayer was always this: “Ecce, here I am!” Who? “The servant of the Lord,” (Lk 1:38) the lowliest of His creatures: she, His Mother! Her humility was so real for she was always forgetful, unaware, freed from self. And she could sing: “The Almighty has done great things for me, henceforth all peoples will call me blessed.” (Lk 1:49, 48)
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day
Lord, I have given up my pride
and turned away from my arrogance.
I am not concerned with great matters
or with subjects too difficult for me.
Instead, I am content and at peace.
As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms,
so my heart is quiet within me.
Israel, trust in the Lord
now and forever!
The soul is incapable of truly acquiring control of the passions and restriction of the inordinate appetites without forgetting and withdrawing from the sources of these emotions. Disturbances never arise in a soul unless through the apprehensions of the memory. When all things are forgotten, nothing disturbs the peace or stirs the appetites. As the saying goes: What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t want.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book Three, Chapter 5
O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.
O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee (mention your request).
Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Nota bene: We are grateful to Professor Michael Ogunu, O.C.D.S., of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Nigeria for sharing this novena.
Here is the secret: forget self, give up self, ignore self, look at the Master
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!”
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.
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.
We are grateful to Israel González Espinoza for his kind permission to translate and publish his marvelous article highlighting the media blitz campaign that is the brainchild of Bishop Báez, our Discalced Carmelite confrère.
The pope is rehabilitating many men of God misunderstood for being prophets, says the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
October 11, 2018 | Israel González Espinoza
Bishop Silvio José Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, launched the hashtag #OigamosARomero on social media platforms as part of a tribute to the martyred Salvadorean Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez [still lovingly referred to as “Monseñor Romero”], who was killed by a paramilitary commando from El Salvador´s political far-right in March 1980; he will be canonized this coming Sunday, October 14 by Pope Francis in Rome.
Bishop Báez explained that the purpose of the initiative is for Nicaraguans to get to know Monseñor Romero’s thoughts, and from that point on they can reflect on his pastoral and prophetic life and work.
“I created the hashtag #OigamosARomero to be able to talk about this extraordinary man of God who gave his life for his people,” Bishop Báez stated.
Until now, the hashtag has been used to share famous quotes, photographs, audiovisual material, and even cartoons of the so-called “bishop of the poor” of Latin America.
The goal, according to Bishop Báez, is to establish a solid number of impressions and engagements for the hashtag during the rest of the week until Sunday, which is the day that Monseñor Romero will be raised to the full honors of the altar. Along with this, the objective is that Romero’s work may spread and that his words may have an effect upon the current sociopolitical situation in the country.
“Without a doubt, Monseñor Romero is a contemporary saint for our times; his life and his witness enlighten us,” the religious leader pointed out.
I believe that it is a mission of the successor of Peter to revendicate and rehabilitate all these incarnations of the Gospel who, with human eyes and pettiness of heart, were not understood.
Báez revealed that since his years in the novitiate with the Carmelite friars in San José, Costa Rica, he has been a professed admirer of the prophetic work of Archbishop Óscar Romero, whose total dedication to the poor and his ardent defense of human rights in the face of the Salvadorean military regime led to his martyrdom while celebrating the Eucharist.
“The Pope [Francis] has given indications of rehabilitating personalities who are deeply rooted in the Gospel, and who, forgetful of self, gave their lives for the poor, for social change, and for the fight for justice in history. In their day they were misunderstood, as were so many prophets or like Jesus himself.
“I believe that it is a mission of the successor of Peter to revendicate and rehabilitate all these incarnations of the Gospel who, with human eyes and pettiness of heart, were not understood. But today, the Pope invites us to see them as models of the Gospel and as paradigms to follow if we truly want to change the world,”Bishop Báez concluded.