Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity..."I am going to Light, to Love, to Life."

Icon by Sister Mary Grace, O.C.D.

Clockwise around Jesus and Mary from 6 o'clock:
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein);
St. Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower); Elijah; St. Teresa of Avila;
St. John of the Cross; Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R.*

From a kindred spirit, and a fine Carmelite website

by James E. Milord

In our world of banal talk shows, where the gods of consumerism rule or impulse release, rumor and gossip, the first casualty is truth. In our age of distorted reporting of "news," is there any valence of society like silence as noticeable by its absence?

In November 1904, her community renewed their vows. While reciting them, Elizabeth felt a magnetic pull of grace. Returning to her cell, she took a sheet of notebook paper and, in her erratic handwriting, penned one of the most trenchant prayers in Carmelite history. She called it her Act of Oblation. In three minuscule years of formation, she had already come close enough to see the summit and, girding herself for the final assault, she wrote with ineffable pathos:

"O my God, Trinity whom I adore!
Help me to become utterly forgetful of self,
that I may bury myself in Thee, as changeless
and as calm as though my soul were already
in eternity . . . O my Three, my All, my Beatitude,
Infinite Solitude, Immensity wherein I lose myself!
I yield myself to Thee as Thy prey. Bury Thyself
in me that I may be buried in Thee, until I depart
to contemplate in Thy light the abyss of Thy greatness!"

Well, God took her at her word, and within months her trials became part of what often appears to be a horror story to outsiders. From that moment, Elizabeth literally took Revelations 2:17 to heart, where Christ promises "a new name," to those who persevere. In her final letter, following the agonies of the summer of 1906, she signs it falteringly: "Laudem Gloriae," with a postscript advising: "This will be my name in heaven." Grammarians frown over her poor Latin, but her affirmation was all that mattered. A few months later, on November 9, 1906, she mumbled her last words, summarizing her Trinitarian framework:
"I am going to Light,
to Love, to Life."

We are still close to her to intuit fully the significance of her life. A fleeting five years of the invaried round of prayer, penance and work, in utter seclusion - what can it conceivably tell our alienated world?

Elizabeth also refracted Our Lady’s inner "pondering," as a "woman wrapt in silence." She would have appreciated the Vatican Council’s references to Mary as a viator (pilgrim). I think, too, she would say a soft ‘Amen’ to Karl Rahner’s observation that with Mary, "We too have been made the holy temple of God. In us too, the Triune God dwells. We too have often been sent by Him, from this beginning, into our life that we may carry the light of faith to the flame of love through this world’s darkness, to the place we belong in His eternal radiance, His eternity."

In spite of violent headaches and a quivering fever, she smiled through it all, a sure sign of another deep secret of her discipleship: Joy. The final week was a ghastly ordeal. She predicted Mary would lead her to her "Three." At the very end, she opened her eyes that had remained shut for seven days, and gazed with luminous, fixed stare above the Prioress, and, in her habitual still fashion, without a sound, she was gone.

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,
Mike Rizzio, SOLT

Imitate Mary
Become like Jesus
Live for the Triune God

Seek the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ
See you on the High Ground!

If you have a few minutes please go to the following sites
and see what I have been compelled to work on since 2004.

I will attempt to answer any and all inquiries at


* - J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R. stands for: Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
O Beata Trinitas; St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

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