Nothing Distinguishing

ElisabethBlessed Elizabeth of the Trinity is one of those saints who died behind a cloister wall but who began a very holy life in the world. She had a deep longing to live in Carmel for many years before she was able to set herself physically apart from the world and detach herself from creatures in order to belong “only” to the Creator.

While she was in the world, she had a certain spirituality, too. It involved detachment. She valued uprightness, truth, and silence. But perhaps most surprising of all, she lived just like everyone else. She was not removed from her neighbours. She shared life with them. True, this sharing was coupled with a deep interior silence and a predilection for exterior silence; but nonetheless the shared life remained.

While she was still a young teenager, one of her friends described her thus:

During her lessons, nothing would distinguish her from the other girls in class, except, that is, when she entered into the church. Then it was as if she entered into a new world!

We see something very typical of the young Elizabeth Catez. Nothing distinguishes her from her fellow travellers on the road of life, except her comportment about holy things.

Perhaps we could call this a kind of “Nazareth” spirituality. After all, it must have been largely the same for the Holy Family in Nazareth: alike in the regular, humdrum things of the world, but especially attentive to and careful about the things of God. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would have lived lives like everyone else with “nothing to distinguish them” from those with whom they shared life, except that more intense and fervent desire for God and the things of God. Such is the example of Elizabeth Catez; this she can teach us and call to our mind. The lives of the saints often highlight traits that are yet more brilliant in the life of Christ.

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One thought on “Nothing Distinguishing

  1. My reflections the past few days on the Annunciation and the extraordinary concealed in the ordinary was further propelled by this lovely post of yours. I especially like the phrase “Nazareth” spirituality; a common outward appearance with an elevated interior life. And “Nothing distinguishing” brings to mind Isaiah 53 “He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him nor appearance that we should be attracted to him”. Through another post on your blog I checked out a link to the online book Vademecum: The Divine Master to Benigna Consolata: “that as far as the exterior was concerned, all in her should be conformed to the common life; but in her interior life all should be extraordinary”. Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us!

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