Friday, November 8, 2013

Lizzie's Day

One of our Carmelite Beati who is gradually gaining popularity in the Church has to be Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.  As things stand the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is now examining a miracle which may well see Lizzie canonised in the next couple of years - and how wonderful that would be.  Like many Carmelite Saints and Beati, it is in her name that Elizabeth's contribution to  Carmelite spirituality and theology is revealed - the Holy Trinity. 
Her life as a Carmelite was short, her writings few, but Elizabeth has left us some profound meditations on the Holy Trinity and on the Trinity's call to us to enter more deeply into his divine life.  Her theology is contained mostly in prayers she wrote, and her spirituality finds its most potent expression in her letters where she forms others in her way.  She recognised that she was called to be a "praise of glory" for God - that we all are to manifest in our lives the glory of God and to praise and honour the Holy Trinity by living our lives as lights shining brightly in the world.  Lizzie is an eternal optimist, literally, she orientated herself and her whole life towards eternity, to the God who is in eternity, and found everything in him. 
Another aspect of her spirituality was her relationship with Our Lady.  Her favourite title for Mary was "Janua Coeli" - the Gate of Heaven.  She a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and during her last illness she often referred to that statue by that title.  Our Lady is indeed the Gate of Heaven.  As she was the gate to earth for the Son of God who was born of her, now, as our Mother given at the foot of the cross, she is our Gate of Heaven, the one who can bring us to her Son. 
In her teachings on Our Lady, Elizabeth tells us that no one knows Jesus better than Mary, and if we wish to come to know Christ in a deeper way, we would be advised to see him in Our Lady's light, as she puts it.  From her retreat notes:
"It seems to me that we can also say, "No one has penetrated the depths of the mystery of Christ except the Blessed Virgin." John and Mary Magdalen penetrated deeply this mystery; St. Paul often speaks of "the understanding of it which was given to him"; and yet, how all the saints remain in the shadows when we look at the Blessed Virgin's light!
"The Virgin kept all these things in her heart": . . . It was within her heart that she lived, and at such a depth that no human eye can follow her. . . . When I shall have said my "consummatum est," it is again she, "Janua Coeli," who will lead me into the heavenly courts, whispering to me these mysterious words: "Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi, in domum Domini ibimus!" [I rejoiced when they said to me: let us go to the house of the Lord].
Bl E of T ill, near death full pic
Blessed Elizabeth with her statue of Our Lady, "Janua Coeli"

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