Sunday, October 16, 2016

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, Laudem Gloriae

Elizabeth with her statue of 
Janua Coeli - she carried it with her
everywhere.  It depicts The Immaculate Conception
as she identified herself at Lourdes.
The Immaculate Conception - Gate of Heaven.

"A praise of glory is a soul that lives in God, that loves him with a pure and disinterested love, without seeking itself in the sweetness of this love, that loves him beyond all his gifts." - St. Elizabeth

Elizabeth Catez 

Dr. Anthony Lilles is an 'apostle' of St. Elizabeth.  He writes well of her.  Below are a couple of insightful excerpts from Dr. Lilles' latest article on the occasion of her canonization:
The Church celebrates St. Elizabeth of the Trinity — canonized Oct. 16 — on her feast day of Nov. 8. Her spiritual mission is to help us pass through the difficulties of our time with a certain greatness of soul, a fitting reminder for Election Day 2016.
On Nov. 9, 1906, at the age of 26, she succumbed to the final stages of Addison’s disease, an adrenal disorder which, at the time, was incurable. Her death came amid great social uncertainty for the Church and her Carmelite community in Dijon, France. Earlier that spring, the French government turned against the Church, by advancing a more aggressive secularism. The local Church was already racked with scandal, the local bishop having been removed from office by the Holy See. The state was taking legal action to confiscate Church property and put the Carmelites in exile. Anxiety over social concerns affected daily life for many — except for, perhaps, St. Elizabeth, her Carmel and those to whom she wrote.
In the midst of their own questions and concerns, Elizabeth helped her friends discover the mysterious and transforming ways God discloses himself even surrounded by distress. As she explained, “Everything is a sacrament that gives us God.” - Read more here.
The Praise of Glory - Laudem Gloriae

I believe that is Elizabeth's name for herself, perhaps her name in heaven.  She is Laudem Gloriae.  The spiritual meaning is not lost on me - but I don't know enough to discuss it.  Yet it is Elizabeth's 'doctrine' received through her understanding of the mysticism of St. Paul which resonates in my heart.  Just this past week, the readings from Ephesians at Mass recall the spirituality of St. Elizabeth, as if in preparation for her canonization:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. - Ephesians 1 - 1st Reading Thursday
The next day we read:
In Christ we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory. - Ephesians
The 'mission' of Laudem Gloria.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory. - Ephesians
I think her mission in heaven is to teach souls, to lead souls to God by the path of prayer - the prayer of recollection - the practice of the presence of God. Dr. Lilles would know more about her 'mission' and her teaching than I - but because I'm more or less 'unlearned' I think I can assure anyone reading this that the way of prayer St. Elizabeth teaches is open to anyone - it is a simple way of prayer, accessible to all. It is, or should be considered, ordinary mystic prayer. It is very simple to accustom ourselves to the prayer of recollection - a habit which prepares us for the habitual prayer of recollection.
As St. Teresa taught: “For this is not a supernatural state, but depends upon our own action and by God’s favor, we can enter it of our own accord” -Way of Perfection
Sometimes it is difficult to read the writings of female mystics, because they sometimes read like extravagant love letters to the beloved - yet buried within is the secret to sanctity, the mystical theology of the saints. It is important to go beyond the sentiment and understand the pure stream of scripture which refreshes the thoughts expressed. That is why Dr. Lilles' writings are so important to understanding the genius of St. Elizabeth.

Since my monastery days - I've been accustomed to understanding this Gospel as an invitation to recollection, the prayer of recollection. I like to imagine Christ, in the deepest center of our heart, of our soul, calling us to leave behind our preoccupation with externals, the distractions we seek and those which assail us. I like to think Jesus calls us to come down, to get out of our brains as it were, to put aside all the intellectual, theological speculation and commune with him in silent, loving prayer. Even when we find ourselves so imperfect. Despite our failures, I think Christ sees us already cleansed of our sins, and calls out:
"O soul, most beautiful of all creatures, that so greatly desires to know the place where your Beloved is, in order to seek Him and be united with Him.... It is a matter of great contentment and joy for you to see that He is so near you as to be within you. Rejoice and be glad in your inward recollection with Him, since you have Him so near. There desire Him, there adore Him, and do not go to seek Him outside yourself." - Spiritual Canticle

This prayer of recollection can become habitual, and like the sheep pastured by the Good Shepherd, the soul "will come in and go out and find pasture" - all the while remaining in his presence, before his watchful gaze. The prayer of recollection becomes the pasture, as it were. As Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection said, "That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times."

That's enough out of me - just remember - Stay awhile after every Communion and Our Lord will teach you how to pray, how to enter into this prayer of recollection - and each day you will remain in the presence of God, plunging deeper into the Blessed Trinity with every subsequent Communion.

"O my God, You are in me and I am in You. I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is You, O Lord, and You are in my soul. I can find You there always; even when I do not feel Your presence, You are there nevertheless, and I like to seek You there. Oh! if only I could never leave You alone!" (cf. Sr Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letters) - Divine Intimacy

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