Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (Part 1 of 2)

“She desires, not theology, but adoration; yet adoration of the word in its revealed character.  This requires contemplation of the word, contemplation born of “the mind of God” as it is implanted in the believer.  Her mission is not narrowly doctrinal, rather, corresponding to her Carmelite existence, it is a mission of life, a mission realized in silence, prayer and suffering.  This part of her mission remains invisible, as is true of all missions in the Church, especially the contemplative ones, whose real fruit remains hidden under God’s guidance and can never be described even in outline here on earth.  Still, in some missions, especially in the active ones, a portion (which can never be sharply distinguished from the other, invisible, part) is outwardly visible.   In some instances this occurs even with contemplative callings:  when testimony of hidden life in God must be given.  Elizabeth belongs to those missions that lie precisely on the line between visible and invisible.  Her calling is found in an invisibility of contemplation that points to a visible activity.  A certain visibility of thought can point to this invisibility of life, to thought’s origin, possibility and end.  Thus Elizabeth’s mission is located in the invisibility of the transcendent world toward which the vapor trail of existence directs all eyes even as it visibly disappears in the dusk.” 

[Excerpt from “Two Sisters in the Spirit.  Thérèse of Lisieux & Elizabeth of the Trinity”, by Hans Urs von Balthasar] 


9 thoughts on “Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (Part 1 of 2)

  1. “In some instances this occurs even with contemplative callings: when testimony of hidden life in God must be given.”

    I think there is very much that those drawn to greater contemplation aren’t saying here (or anywhere), at least in text. Some, perhaps because they don’t want to “blog Him,” and some perhaps afraid some will find their thoughts odd, and some because it feels like not the proper place to discuss Him. But I’m not sure laypeople have anywhere better to do so, and I am very sure that without contemplating Him more in this day and age, we can’t be more of the change we desire for the world– per His desire. And I’m not sure our first parents had anything to do but to contemplate the heart of God, so I am even more thankful for intrepid and generous souls who’d rather be silent, but who step beyond that line of invisibility/visibility to help return us more to Eden, where the Transcendent One walked in the shade of an evening with His loved and loving creatures.

  2. JustMe, you’ve expressed what was in my heart when I chose this particular quote. And quite frankly, the “raison d’etre”, (reason for being) for the Haven. Of course there is much that isn’t said, from everyone who reads this blog. But there is no where else but online for many of us, excepting perhaps those who belong to Third Orders (?), if these kinds of discussions are a part of belonging to a Third Order. I don’t know.

  3. Well, judging from the brawls at the Franciscan fraternity meetings I attended, I’d say it’s not carved in stone, lol. (I had NOTHING to do with it, honest!)

    I am most thankful for contemplative havens. I love it when someone typos the link to you in their blog roll as “Contemplative Heaven.” Darned close, my dear.

  4. Oh, Brother… 🙂 I believe you when you say that. I can just imagine your spiritual jaw dropping at such a scene…

    Contemplative Heaven. Yes.

  5. Thanks; you’re making me blush (so stop; I don’t need any more spontaneous rushes of heat than I already have).

    Third Order brawls? Kind of makes you want to stay in your closet. 🙂

  6. I’d pay big bucks for a spontaneous rush of heat right about now; it’s so cold in here, I’m on the verge of the sin of caribou-carcass-covering-coveting.

    Oh, I was disheartened beyond belief, Pia. It took years to think I ought to go ahead and actively discern.. then to be met with a small banquet upon which we might all get snoozy as well as pampered, then not on to business after a few prayers and report, but on to discussing what apparently had been a trouble for a while. People whispering about others near me, things getting really heated.. a guy with white hair (a minister general) whose face turned scarlet. And it was all so disorganized. It wasn’t organization I was seeking, but they’d already complicated much, so it should’ve been at least organized.

    When it was any better the second time, it just did me in. I know it was more fluke than not and that there are other fraternities, but whatever I do tertiarily, now, I do from here, yes.

  7. Absolutely! I have enough trouble with my own faults and failings, I couldn’t do another group thing, so I’ll participate spiritually, thank you. For me it’s a matter of avoiding near occasion of sin, but on the other hand, maybe just saying so is a lack of charity, and thus sin…(so I’ll shut up now…)

  8. Well, it was certainly an unfortunate introduction to this particular group, JustMe, but I would hope that such occurrences are not the norm in Third Order gatherings. I do know that belonging to a Third Order is a very sacred part of a member’s life. I suppose, as with any organization, a certain amount of time has to be given over to business/financial matters, and it’s probably the least favourite part of the gathering for all concerned. But I guess what I was wondering was, do the members at these gatherings actually have the time and atmosphere provided for spiritual discussions. I think, from what I’ve read and heard, for example, that lay Carmelites are always given a spiritual director, and I know they have liturgical celebrations at least for their important feast days. Retreats also. So I was thinking that, if they have “spiritual discussion” evenings on a regular basis, then for them, that would be so nourishing and helpful, and they might not be as prone to needing the Internet as we are.

  9. As I say, just a fluke, twice, and for me, perhaps a message to hold off until praying better and more. I’m sure that fraternity itself needed reformation, and maybe if I’d had more love, I’d have stood up and said so. There is actually another fraternity not far from here, but my heart is Tau-shaped already, the Church can do without my more public witness for now, and Francis knows who loves and follows the one who loved and followed the Master. What’s one more humility between friends? For those desiring secular Franciscan life, there is always the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, or the Confraternity of Penitents (I think). And indeed, perhaps the laity of Carmel are exactly as you say.

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