One of the most profound and important teachings of the New Testament is our need to, as St. Paul says, “Put On Christ.” We must actually allow Christ to both continue to live His life through us, and renew His mystery of salvation for those come in contact with throughout our lives. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, The Order of Carmel’s newest Saint, was particularly taken by this teaching and made it one of the central themes of her famous “Prayer to the Trinity.” Of course she drew much of her understanding of this deep Theological principle from the New Testament Letters of St. Paul. This particular program uses both the writings of St. Paul, and key phrases from St. Elizabeth’s prayer to help explain, and make practical for our daily lives, the application of this teaching. Of course, in order to come to a true understanding, a soul must be prepared to expose themselves, in a state of docility, to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Mark and Frances also address these issues as they relate to our contemplative prayer and our response to the circumstances of our individual lives. This is a wonderful program for those who are looking for solid principles on how to deepen our awareness and adoption of the person of Jesus Christ in our daily lives.
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Scripture: Phil. 3:10, Gal. 3:27, Heb. 12:29, Heb. 10:5, Rom. 12:1, Gal. 2:20, 1 Cor 2:2, Jn 15:5, Pa. 141:2
Books: “The Doctrine of the Divine Indwelling: A Commentary on the Prayer of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity” by Rev. Mere M. Amabel du Coeur de Jesus, Translated into English by a Discalced Carmelite; The Newman Press.
“Teresa of Avila–The Way of Perfection: A Study Edition,” Trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; Study prepared by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Conversation with Christ” by Peter Thomas Rohrbach, Tan Books. “Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
It is not everyday that we get a new Carmelite Saint, but it happened again on 16 October of 2016 when the Church Canonized Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the importance of St. Elizabeth’s Canonization, her primary message of Silence, Solitude and Prayer, and what this message might mean for the Church and the world at this time in history. It is always helpful to place a Saint in the context of both their individual experiences in life, and also the time in which they lived. This conversation then begins by identifying some of the earliest stories of young Elizabeth’s life, and also by looking at the political and social forces which were influencing her native France during the later part of the 19th and early part of the 20th Century. One of the most important theme’s in Elizabeth’s spirituality is her own understanding of her role as Co-Redemptrix, one who would willingly participate in the Redemptive work of her Spouse Jesus Christ. Indeed, one of Elizabeth’s favorite descriptions of herself was as the Bride of Christ. Her explanation of this title, and its impact on her understanding of her mission serve as important lenses into our understanding of her pursuit of sanctity and her path toward Union with Christ. Finally, as with all Saints, we want to view their lives so that we can gain some deeper understanding for ourselves how we might be guided and directed along our own spiritual journey. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity’s life then provides us with some very practical and valuable lessons. She is a wonderful example especially for those of us who are trying to live out our call to holiness in the midst of the world, as that was precisely what she did even before she entered Carmel.
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Books: “Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Life of Praise to God” by Sr. Giovanna Della Croce, OCD; Translated by Julie Enzler; Sophia Institute Press.
“The Complete Works: Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. One,” by Elizabeth of the Trinity; Translated by Sister Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Your Presence is My Joy: Life and Message of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity” by Conrad De Meester, OCD; Translated and Printed at Darlington Carmel.
Scripture: Romans 12:1
Articles: “The Life and Ministry of Carmelite Mystic Elizabeth of the Trinity” by Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction; http://catholicexchange.com/life-ministry-french-carmelite-mystic-elizabeth-trinity?mc_cid=642cfebe82&mc_eid=004d986b37
“Who is Elisabeth of the Trinity – Our Newest Saints?” by Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction; http://catholicexchange.com/elisabeth-trinity-newest-saint?mc_cid=642cfebe82&mc_eid=004d986b37
With these words St. Paul is intending to encourage and lift the spirits of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:9) to whom he is writing in this letter from the New Testament. In this uplifting conversation about reflecting on the Glory of Heaven, Mark and Frances discuss what so many of the Saints have written and spoken about the remarkable joy that awaits us in our final home. After a brief explanation of the various definitions of what the Catholic Church teaches about the nature of Heaven and how the faithful will dwell there, Mark and Frances go on to describe what matters now, what should we and must we be doing in this life to prepare ourselves, both for entry into and the fullest experience of our life to come. Drawing from the reflections of the Beautiful soul known as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, this conversation emphasizes that we are in possession of eternity even now, but we still have a role to play in bringing clarity to our vision of it, “We will be glorified in the measure in which we have been conformed to the image of His Divine Son.” (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, the Complete Works) This is a program that will provide great consolation as it reflects on the Glory and Majesty of our future, but will also challenge the listener to step out in faith and do whatever our Lord asks of us that we might more fully conform ourselves to His image.
Visions of Heaven
Book: “Inside Heaven and Hell: What History, Theology, and the Mystics Tell Us about the Afterlife” by Thomas W. Petrisko, St. Andrew’s Productions.
The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, “The present state of the world and all of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and were asked my advice, I should reply: Create Silence! Bring men to Silence. The word of God cannot be heard in the noisy world of today. This conversation focuses on the celebration of the Feast of St. John of the Cross. We briefly discuss the theme of silence in John’s own writings and the importance of it in his life, but then we go on to see how John’s writings and teaching on the theme of silence so profoundly impacted Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, and how she married John’s poetry to her own experience of entering into a silent and intimate encounter with the Lord. Since this is December, the conversation also reflects on our own need to enter into silence in anticipation of the arrival of the Lord, and how the Blessed Mother was for John, Elizabeth and can be for us, the model of the interior soul, waiting in silence for the arrival of the gift of her son.
The Twelve Degrees of Silence by Marie-Aimee of Jesus; Trans. from the French by Souer Ginette, Missionary Recluse
The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, ICS Publications.
Elizabeth of the Trinity: The Compete Works, Vol. 1: General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings,” ICS Publications.
A Soul of Silence: Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity by Mary Amabel du Coeur de Jesus,OCD
Some of the best guides in the area of the spiritual life provided their communication via letters, among them are St. Padre Pio, St. Francis de Sales and Jean Pierre de Caussade. Certainly written communication does have its limitations, but there are also some benefits to it. Another great source of spiritual insight are the casual letters of many of the great saints. Though they may not have been intended for publication, and even less so as a form of spiritual direction, much of this literature can none-the-less serve as a window into the heart and soul of a person in Union with God. In the life of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Carmelite who died at the young age of 26, we have a wonderful collection of over 300 letters that span the time before she entered Carmel, and leading up to only days before she died. In these letters we read and see the continuing maturity of a soul in headlong pursuit of God. At first communicating her desire to deepen her relationship, then moving to a fuller understanding of the nature of the relationship, and finally blossoming into a full encounter with the Trinity who she discovers within herself. In letters to her mother, her sister, her cousins, aunts, Priests and friends, we are given an insiders view to the development of both her spirituality and the growth of her soul. In the end we see how Elizabeth moves from the young and still unsure novice to an eventual master of the spiritual like, and one who is able, before she dies, to provide all of us with profound guidance and direction on how to pursue an intimate relationship with God. This program is a wonderful introduction to the life of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity and her unique Carmelite Spirituality.
The Complete Works, Volume Two: Letters from Carmel by Elizabeth of the Trinity; ICS Publications.
“This conversation will address Elizabeth of the Trinity’s Last Retreat, offered not long before her death. The conversation focuses on Elizabeth’s sublime theology of how we must learn to rise above everything in our life that is not God, and how all that happens to us can truly be used to help us to enter into the center of our soul. Finally, we address the last stages of Elizabeth’s earthly journey and her passage to eternity.” cinnamon
“This particular program deals with our univeral vocation in Christ. As baptized Christians, we are all called to Union with God through Christ. This conversation explores our call to build ourselves into Holy Temples where the Trinity might dwell and where we can participate in the very life of the Three Divine Persons. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity explains how we can begin to build what St Augustine refers to as the City of God within our souls. This program builds on the theme of simplicity, solitude and silence in our prayer life.”
“This program picks up on the biographical sketch of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity after her entry into Carmel. It then goes on to explore some of her major writings, both her individual retreats and her letters. Blessed Elizabeth understood very clearly the need to dispense with anything that did not lead her to God, but she did not attempt to achieve this by simply leaving the world. Rather, she shows, through her writings, how the real objective must be to bring everything in a persons life under the submission of Christ. She speaks of the need to see with the “single eye” and practice the principles of silence, simplicity and solitude.”
“This program offers a brief biographical sketch of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. Blessed Elizabeth was a Carmelite nun who lived in France and died in her early twenties, in 1906. Her remarkable writings are considered materpieces of spiritual insight, and they deal largely with the life of the Trinity dwelling within each of us. This program covers the major events of her life leading up to her entry into Carmel, and how the more significant events of her childhood served to form her and draw her into an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.”