Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Have You Done to My Elizabeth?

I was surprised to read that the priest and confessor of Elizabeth of the Trinity asked this of her mother superior within months of Elizabeth's entering Carmel.

He had guided her prior and was stunned by her dampened spirit after short while in the convent.  Elizabeth finally pulled through but never regained the same sparkle and spirit she had prior to entering--not the same sparkle and spirit.

But she soon realized the Trinity indwelling her soul, and she went within frequently to rest in His Love.  She became adept at being among the religious sisters in the convent, cheerfully listening, speaking and doing in recreation time, and participating in verbal prayers.   But she was in another "place," within her soul, in His Real Presence.

Her vitality became that of the interior life.  When her health failed in the fourth year, she all the more was able to fully reside within the Trinity, while her body existed in the infirmary bed.  In general, others did not detect she was away, in this other place.  Some did, though.  Her best friend could sense it even in chapel, while the rest were praying.  Elizabeth was recollected and not "there" but yet present physically.

She had been brought to the stairway to heaven and climbed the steps.  She became the Trinity's Laudem Gloriae: Praise of Glory.  She referred to herself as Laudem Gloriae and wanted others to call her that, as well.

We might wonder if others thought her quite vain and presumptuous, and promoting herself with her far-off look or presence elsewhere with God while yet in their midst.  They may have thought she was playing a game of self-pride, calling herself His Praise of Glory.

Others realized she was communing with God, and after awhile her confessor better understood the change.  She was making the final ascent to union with God quickly.  She already was graced with deeply remaining in His Love in significant ways, regardless of what others said or thought or observed.  She was quite accepting of her impending death which came at age 26 and but five years in Carmel.

I have read numerous and various such contemplative souls and mystics.  Their lives are all very different in the unfolding, but they each were removed in a certain way, to another point of focus, to another realm, remaining in His Love, on the stairway to heaven, on earth as it is in heaven, or what other expression to describe it.

The question arises:  Did they end up "eccentric" to the world (outside the center or norm) due to God's providence and willed guidance?  What was the motivating force or Source, either way, that secured their path of suffering, detachment, and spiritual access and ascent?

We only have observation, the writings of others, and their own writings to make our guesses.  And guesses they remain because only the soul and God know the reality of their inner world.  But it is fair to guess that no matter the means of their snatches to increasing greater degrees of heaven while on earth, if they loved Him no matter what befell them, their path was God's path for them.  Anytime a soul says, "Thy will be done, Lord, not mine,"  He takes matters in Hand.

It is also good to note in situation after situation, that these souls had many pitfalls along the way.  Their main success was being redeemed no matter the obstacles, either their own or instrumented by others.  They gave God reign over their lives, and He "ran" them through the hurdles to the end of the earthly race.

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