Today is the feast day of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, one of my favourite saints. I want to post about one of my favourite texts of hers.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, who died at the age of 26 in the Carmel of Dijon, but who had lived until 21, and while desiring ardently to enter Carmel, in the world and knew from experience the value of contemplation in the midst of the world’s ups and downs, wrote to her younger sister:
How simple and consoling it is! In the midst of your motherly cares and occupations you can withdraw into this solitude and give yourself up to the Holy Spirit. He may thus transform you into God, impressing the divine image of His beauty on your soul, in order that, when the Father looks down on you, He may see nothing but His Christ, and may say, “This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased!”
I like this passage very much, and I want to quickly look at each part in turn.
First, she says,
How simple and consoling it is! In the midst of your motherly cares and occupations you can withdraw into this solitude and give yourself up to the Holy Spirit.
This is as if to say: Everyone can walk the way of contemplative love with the Trinity! It is simple. It is beautiful. It comforts and consoles us to know this.
Then, she says,
He may thus transform you into God, impressing the divine image of His beauty on your soul
She is echoing, among others, John of the Cross, of course, in his insistence on the transformation of the soul and consequent, but humanly unpredictable, transfiguration of the body by the Spirit. We will become like God. We will be divinized. That is the result of contemplative love. Everything can be changed. God is all-powerful.
And she specifically recalls the theme of the Transfiguration itself:
“This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased!”
This links us back to the Transfiguration that the three disciples witnessed (Mt 17:5; 2 Pt 1:17). This was a very visible event. It was not a mysterious, hidden reality only. It was also seen with the eyes. It was full of light. And that is exactly what transformation does to us. It changes us, even down to the tips of our fingers and the lines of our face. This happened to Elizabeth herself, whose gaze was described as “luminous” and “serene” (no small feat, since, as a child, it had been forceful and self-willed!).