Friday, February 22, 2013

Lenten Meditations with Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

As we journey along and complete this first full week of Lent, I thought I'd provide a few beautiful thoughts and quotes from Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, who was able to always hold the Crucified Chiet, Her Beloved, in her heart. She expressed these thoughts frequently to her family and friends whom she wrote letters to. 

To her dear friend, Germaine: A Carmelite, my darling, is a soul who has gazed on the Crucified, who has seen Him offering Himself to His Father as a Victim for souls and, recollecting herself in this great vision of the charity of Christ, has understood the passionate love of His soul, and has wanted to give herself as He did! ... And on the mountain of Carmel, in silence, in solitude, in prayer that never ends, for it continues through everything, the Carmelite already lives as if in Heaven: "by God alone." The same One who will one day be her beatitude and will fully satisfy her in glory is already giving Himself to her. He never leaves her, He dwells within her soul; more than that, the two of them are but one. So she hungers for silence that she may always listen, penetrate ever deeper into His infinite Being. She is identified with Him whom she loves, she finds Him everywhere, she sees Him shining through all things! Is this not Heaven on earth! You carry this Heaven within your soul, my little Germaine, you can be a Carmelite already, for Jesus recognizes the Carmelite from within, by her soul. Don't ever leave Him, do everything beneath His divine gaze, and remain wholly joyful in His peace and love, making those around you happy!

In one of her poems she expressed her union with Christ on the Road to Calvary in poignant terms:

The Carmelite is a given soul,
One immolated for the glory of God.
With her Christ she is crucified;
But how luminous her calvary!
While gazing on the divine Victim,
A light blazed forth in her soul
And, understanding her sublime mission,
Her wounded heart exclaimed, '"Here I am!"

The Carmelite is an adoring soul,
Wholly surrendered to the action of God
Intently communing through all things,
Her heart uplifted and her eyes full of heaven!
She has found the One Thing Necessary,
The divine Being, Light, and Love.
Enfloding the world in her prayer,
She is an apostle of truth. (June 29, 1902)

During her Last Retreat (Day 13), Elizabeth writes in her spiritual journal as follows:

The soul that wants to serve God day and night must be resolved to share fully in its Master's passion. It is one of the redeemed who in its turn must redeem other souls. 'I suffer in my body what us lacking in the passion of Christ for the sake of His body, which is the Church." She walks the way of Calvary at the right of her crucified, annihilated, humiliuated King as HE goes to His passion "to make the glory of His grace blaze forth." He wants to associated His bride in His work of redemption and this sorrowful way which she follows seems like the path of Beatitude to her, not only because it leads there but also because her holy Master makes ger realize that she must go beyond the bitterness in suffering to find in it, as He did, her rest. 

Bl. Elizabeth's offerings to Christ were indeed heroic and might even seem overwhelming or nearly impossible for us to pursue and achieve. BUT we can start with the little things in our lives this Lent. By giving up little comforts and preferences, and suffering little insults, setbacks, contradictions, and our own wills  we begin to be shaped and molded more and more into the humble servant that Elizabeth speaks of and became. Indeed her interior way of practicing the constant presence of the Trinity meets with St. Therese's Little Way to teach us that each moment gives us an opportunity to love and to offer our joys and sufferings to God. If we simplify and break down our days into continual present moments waiting to unfold, we can more easily walk our own path of sanctification via the Cross, and give our own daily fiat moment by moment.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Divine Communion- Unitive Participation in the Trinity

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Enjoy listening to this beautiful homily on our call to Divine Cummunion with the Three.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meditation on the Passion during Lent

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Today, we begin our first full week of Lent. If we have been undecided on our Lenten observances and resolutions, now is the time to focus in and make some decisions on how we wish to come closer to God through our sacrifices/fasting, acts of mercy, alms giving, and prayer.

In order to experience the Resurrection of Christ in some forty days, we must toil in the garden of our souls and be willing to detach and lay aside the many attachments that we still cling to. Christ showed us how to do this when he went out to the desert to pray to His Father, and prepare for his public ministry. He faced the many temptations of the devil during this time, but His eyes remained fixed and His spirit steadfast in doing the Will of His Father.

Like the time given to Christ, this time is given to us as a gift. It is a time of digging deep within to purge that which blocks us from Our Lord, and keep us from our ultimate purpose- to enjoy union with God here on earth. To overcome our sinful natures, we must not only give up ice cream or tv, but we must replace it with something meaningful. This always starts with prayer.  God does not need our chocolate or our holy 'projects', but instead He desires our hearts. He wants to free us from the chains that bind us in order to show us something better, and to share something intimate within Him beyond this world.  When we endeavor to give something up during Lent, which is important and necessary, we must link it to Our Beloved Jesus who gave up His very life for us.  We must go deeper in our contemplative journey and seek nothing less than His Sacred Heart and His Holy Face. We must ponder that we are dust, and to dust we must return. We must be able to see clearly in the eyes of our soul, what Jesus' Passion and Death involved, and how it ransomed us from eternal death.  This goes beyond what we profess to believe in the recitation of the Creed every Sunday, to an event etched upon our hearts and in our minds. It must be real and not on paper.  

After her own conversion when she encountered the statue of the wounded Christ, St. Teresa of Avila insisted on the importance of meditating on the humanity of Christ, most especially His Passion and death. ‘Fix your eyes on the Crucified’….”  St. John of the Cross underscored the importance of following Christ Crucified as we ascend Mount Carmel. In his doctrine of nada or nothingness, we must become more and more naked and simple in clinging to God in pure faith.  His maxim tells us, "He will be unable to reach perfection who does not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that his natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquillity and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act."

His Maxims of Love go on to tell us these gems of wisdom as we begin Lent:

8. Crucified inwardly and outwardly with Christ, you will live in this life with fullness and satisfaction of soul, and possess your soul in patience." 

13. Let Christ crucified be enough for you, and with Him suffer and take your rest, and hence annihilate yourself in all inward and outward things.

16. Bear fortitude in your heart against all things that move you to that which is not God, and be a friend of the passion of Christ.

17. Be interiorly detached from all things that move you to that which is not God, and be a friend of the passion of Christ.

Let us ask for the grace of perseverance that we can run the race so as to win it. Let us humble ourselves and look closely at the Passion of Christ and how we have contributed to it. Then let us move forward in His grace and allow Him to more fully enter our hearts and to transform them in a process of death and resurrection this Lenten season, so that at the end of these forty days we can confidently say, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20)

Let us pray with St. Therese, as she prays in her poem To Live for Love:
To live of love, ’tis not to fix one’s tent
On Tabor’s height and there with Thee remain.
‘Tis to climb Calvary with strength nigh spent,
And count Thy heavy cross our truest gain.
In heaven, my life a life of joy shall be,
The heavy cross shall then be gone for aye.
Here upon earth, in suffering with Thee,
Love! let me stay. (See