The greatest challenge of our time is secularism.
This is what Pope Benedict XVI stated last
April, during a question-and-answer session
with young people from Rome. Society today
creates the illusion that God does not exist,
or that God can be restricted to the realm
of purely private affairs. Christians cannot
accept this, the Pope said, adding: "The
first necessity today is that God becomes
newly present in our lives."
Hundred years ago a simple cloistered Carmelite
Sister, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity,
died in France. Her story is important to
us if we want to make God 'newly present'.
Though she lived only twenty-six years, barely
five of them as a Carmelite, she has emerged
as one of the most captivating and relevant
mystics of our day.
Equipped with a 'will of iron' and a hot
temper, Sabeth as she was dotingly called,
was a particularly outgoing person with a
flair for friendship. Photos of Elizabeth
as a teenager show an attractive, beautifully
dressed young woman. She was a gifted pianist
who at one time thought of pursuing a career
of a concert pianist. "She was a girl
with rhythm in her head." She loved
After a rather protracted struggle, her mother
consented to Elizabeth's desire to enter
the Carmel of Dijon in France. It was August
2, 1901. She received the habit the following
December, and with it, the name 'Elizabeth
of the Trinity', a name that delighted her,
because by then, this God who is a family
of intertwined Love, had become the keynote
of her spirituality.
Elizabeth's spiritual journey in Carmel was
a succession of normal everyday moments and
deep periods of harsh darkness. The time
before her profession was arguably the most
difficult period in her life. Even her superior,
Mother Germaine expressed misgivings about
taking her vows in such a state.
We know of her spirituality from her
letters and notes she wrote after her
They are real gems. "Every happening,
every event, every suffering as also
joy, is a sacrament that gives God
soul." "Yahweh, whosoever
on you is resplendent!"
"It is simplicity that, hour by hour,
increases our resemblance to the divine."
"Prayer is repose, a relaxation. One
must come in total simplicity to the One
whom one loves."
"You will never be commonplace if you
are vigilant in love." "One must
erase the word discouragement from one's
dictionary of love." "The weakest
soul, even the one that is most blameworthy,
is the one that has the best grounds for
But it is her focus on God-within-us that
makes this Carmelite sister so special. "What
a joyous mystery is the presence of God inside
us, in this intimate sanctuary of our souls."
"All three persons dwell in the soul
that loves them in truth." "God
dwells within you, do not leave Him so often."
"I so love this mystery of the Holy
Trinity; it is an abyss in which I lose myself!"
Her death was painful. Slowly she started
losing all her physical strength. Photos
of her in bed show a very emaciated nun trying
to smile faintly. Her last audible words
were, "I am going to Light, to Love,
to Life!" She died on November 9, 1906.
Her message is her secret. Many times life
is like a storm. Problems and worries are
like winds that shake us to the core. So
her suggestion makes a lot of sense. Root
yourself in God the Father, God the Son,
God the Holy Spirit, she suggests. Ground
yourself in Them who dwell within us and
you will find security and safety.
"Make a little cell in your heart for
Jesus … take refuge there… Oh! If you only
knew how the good God loves pure hearts!
It is there that He loves to reign."
Living in intimacy with this divine Family
can well be the boost we all need to start
living a real life!
This will release us from the grumbling and
the criticism mode that many times dominate
our life. Reading the letter of Saint Paul
to the Ephesians, she discovered that we
have been set apart to be the praise of glory
Thus she understood how a full life is a
life that constantly pays tribute to "her
Three, her All, her Beatitude". Let
us face it. They deserve it because they
work so hard for us! They not only cheer
for us when we are down but They are always
ready to give us a helping hand when we need
it. Gratitude knocks away our senseless negativity.
"O my God, Trinity Whom I adore, help
me to become utterly forgetful of myself,
so that I may establish myself in you, as
changeless and calm as though my soul were
already in eternity." You see, Christianity
is not about us, it is about Them!!
"I think that in Heaven my mission will
be to draw souls by helping them to go out
of themselves in order to cling to God by
a wholly simple and loving movement, and
to keep them in this great silence within
which will allow God to communicate Himself
to them and to transform them into Himself."
Amen to that!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright