Unpacking a Quote

Elisabeth

Today is the memorial of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. As I’ve done before on this day, I want to choose a rich text of hers and unpack it. Some of her best texts would never do as simple quotes, because they are too rich. Everything must be unpacked to overawe and bring us to Jesus.

In a letter to her sister (24 June 1906), Elizabeth writes,

That He may teach you Himself the science of love in your interior solitude; I keep you in mine. It seems that you are right there with me, “within me” (Lk 17:21), in my heaven.

Oh, how many layers and how many caverns to explore!

First, she says,

That He may teach you Himself the science of love in your interior solitude…

Who is the first teacher? Jesus. Jesus is our primary spiritual director and our greatest, closest, most intimate teacher. He teaches in our heart. We must enter and listen. We must enter into the “interior solitude”, which isn’t necessarily so solitary: first, because Elizabeth’s own sister is in the depth of Elizzbeth’s soul; also, because we can find silence with God wherever we are. It’s not place-dependent, though, of course, physical silence is helpful towards recollection, especially in the beginning.

She continues,

I keep you in mine.

That is to say, within my deepest heart, we are united. Continual union with Jesus leads to continual union with our neighbours. They get thrown into our interior, too. We are never so much with others as when we are “alone” and “in solitude” with Jesus.

Then:

It seems that you are right there with me, “within me” (Lk 17:21)…

The choice of words here is a reflection of the translation of the Scriptures which Elizabeth used; but it’s not foreign to our God’s desire to come into our interior depths, nor of our God’s desire to find and place our friends there, too. If someone is in the greatest depth of our soul, she is also

in my heaven.

Why heaven? Because the indwelling presence of God, the Trinity of Love, is heaven come down to earth. It is heaven in suffering and pilgrimage here-below, but it is heaven come down to earth, nonetheless. For Heaven is God, and God dwells in all those justified by grace.

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4 thoughts on “Unpacking a Quote

  1. Thank you for this very inspiring thought for the day. Another great human being hidden away in the depths of Carmel. I offer only one quibble, your last sentence. Can we find one iota of matter which is not permeated with the gracefilled Presence ? My very best wishes to you Ben !

    • According to typical terminology, God is “present” in everything, but he “dwells” in those in a state of grace. There is a difference, because grace builds on nature and is yet more. =)

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