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.
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 image of the Mother of God demonstrates the basic spiritual attitude which corresponds to woman’s natural vocation; her relation to her husband is one of obedience, trust, and participation in his life as she furthers his objective tasks and personality development; to the child she gives true care, encouragement, and formation of his God-given talents; she offers both selfless surrender and a quiet withdrawal when unneeded. All is based on the concept of marriage and motherhood as a vocation from God; it is carried out for God’s sake and under His guidance.
Saint Edith Stein
to the child she gives true care
Essays On Woman The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 2 (p. 48) ICS Publications, Washington DC © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.