Friday, December 30, 2016

MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, MOTHER OF MINE


January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Of all the titles of Mary, her motherhood is the title I like best. I love to collect photos of Mary showing her with the Child Jesus. There is something in that mystery that draws me. Of course, it gives me much delight to know that I was also born on the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome - August 5th. The Basilica is the largest basilica in the West dedicated to the Mother of God. It was erected, as the story goes, at the site where Our Lady of the Snows appeared.

A great heresy in the Church, promulgated by Bishop Nestorius, claimed that Mary was not the Mother of God, but the mother of the man, Jesus. He proposed that Mary could not have borne God since he is God, but bore only the man. In saying this, he was actually denying the divinity of Jesus. This heresy was put to rest in 431 at the Council of Ephesus when the Greek Fathers of the Church, headed by St. Cyril of Alexandria, defined the maternity of Mary. It was on this Council that the title of "Theotokos" or "God-Bearer",was first used.

It is interesting to note that Mary's motherhood is presented to us by the Church calendar at the beginning of the year. This maternal role actually began at the Annunciation when Mary agreed to be the Mother of the Son of God. But because the Church wants to put the spotlight on the person of Jesus, the Emmanuel, Mary sort of faded into the background. Now that the climax of Christmas is somewhat over, Mary is again brought back on stage. It is also fitting to celebrate this feast at the opening of a new year because it brings to mind the reality that Mary is the dawn and Christ the Rising Sun. She is the one that leads us to God. She opens the way so that we can follow the path of true discipleship. The document "Lumen Gentium" says that Mary is the first of Christ's faithful disciples.

It is unfortunate that this motherhood of Mary is rejected by many, Protestants and Catholics alike. By Protestants, because of a misunderstanding and fear that she will take away from Jesus the honor and worship that he solely deserves. By Catholics, because they have reduced Mary solely as an object of empty and silly devotions, the heroine of mythic proportion. Saint Therese of Lisieux one day complained about the manner in which priests of her days talked about Mary in their homilies. "They talk of her imagined life, not her real life. Why can't they talk about how she doubted like us, that she suffered like us."

Of all the insights about Mary, one I ponder the most, is our late Pope John Paul II's words in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater that Mary is blessed BECAUSE SHE BELIEVED. It was her faith alone that we can all strive to imitate. Her other attributes of the Immaculate Conception and Divine Motherhood are attributes that will never be ours. But her faith, her trust and surrender, are virtues we can all imitate. Woman of Faith.. Mother of God... Mother of Mine.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Reflection



Christmas is my favorite liturgical season.  The joy of anticipation and the joy of realization, when the Child Jesus is finally in our midst, creates a feeling of both wonder and nostalgia.  I realize the    fact that Christmas can mean different things to different people.  For our elderly residents living in the Home it is a moment of loneliness and pain.  The loss of physical independence and the loss of family and friends, both because of distance and death, could bring about feelings of depression.  For most people, Christmas can mean work, lots of head-spinning work- unavoidable circumstances entailed in one's means of livelihood  or other duties and obligations called forth  by one's state in life.  It could mean a string of customers to satisfy, employees to be thanked, and friends to show love and gratitude to.  But despite all these, when the dust finally settles and the last box of gifts is wrapped, and when the soul finally gets itself down to adore and listen to church-bells ringing, the full reality of the hustle and bustle is brought home to consciousness- it is Christmas, a Child is born, Jesus.

Then our hearts begin to quicken and our eyes open to the awesome gift given to us.  We begin to have an understanding, limited as it may be, of the wonder and miracle of love.  Love is the fuel that keeps Christmas burning.  It is the love of God from the very beginning of time, the love of the Son who came to fulfill the Father's wish, the love of Mary who accepted the call to be the vessel of the Incarnate, and the love that burns in our hearts for those we hold dear.  That is why we endure the discomforts of work and toil, that is why we forgive and forget wrongs done to us, why we patch up tattered relationships - all because we love.  The love shown us by the Father and the Love made Incarnate, is the same flame of love that burns in our sinful hearts.  Imperfect as this love may be, tainted as it may seem, we share in the Divine Sonship.

As I behold in love and muted wonder the crib in my cell, my heart expands at the thought that this Child, celebrated by Kings, Popes, Saints, and all people alike, came just for me.  Here in my cell, He and I alone, exchange intimacies of the heart, hidden from all others.  At the sight of Him lying in this crib of hay, the wonderful Pandora box of promises is opened - Peace, Surrender, Sacrifice, Joy, humility, new beginning, eternal happiness-  all promises of a New Year.  Whatever was in our life's slate this past 2016, the promise of 2017 opens wide.  Yes, the darkness has now passed, the rays of dawn had cast its full light, the Morning Star of our lives, has finally come.  Oh what joy! What gift! The whole world is grateful!  In the inner recesses of our hearts- we are speechless.  We can only accept it with loving disbelief.

Lord Jesus, as you have given us much, grant us the joy of giving you something this Christmas and all the days of our lives.  Bring to fruition all the good desires you have inspired in us.  Just as you gave yourself to us because of your inestimable love, help us to extend ourselves to others.  Just as you were Gift to us, undeserving as we are, let us be gifts for others, undeserving we may think them to be.  As the New Year opens wide its door, let us enter confidently, hopefully and joyfully with full expectations realizing that we can always begin again.  Help us to hold on to the joys and graces of these days.  Imperfect as we are, you know that we love You and desire only to follow You, all the days of our lives.  "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life!"



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Advent, Mary and Woman



Advent is a time of expectant longing. The prophet Isaiah expresses it beautifully when he says: “ Return for the sake of your servants!” or “ No ear has ever heard, no eye has ever seen, any God but you, doing such deeds for those who wait for him.” One senses an air of impatience, of calling out with insistence that God would come back. During Advent, we find expression of this longing in the way we celebrate this season. We remember those we love, we buy and give gifts, mend broken relationships and ponder the state of our inner life. God has planted that longing in our heart. He created it in us so that like Isaiah, we may cry out in a loud voice the desire for a deeper kind of fulfillment.

The mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus is God’s response to this cry. It is as if leaving heaven, God assumed a body and entered the realm of time to satisfy this longing. It was an act inspired by love for the sake of those He loves. This was the greatest manifestation of God’s power, but more so, His greatest manifestation of Love.

Our longings are about to be fulfilled in the coming days as we await the great day of Christmas. But before we bask in the glory of the coming of the Lord, let us focus our attention on Mary, the woman of the hour. The story of Christmas is intimately linked to Mary. Her presence dominates the scene. The spotlight is on her as the drama of the Annunciation unfolds. What vigilance she practiced! What vigilant expectation! What anticipation she manifested as she waited for the realization of the words of the angel. What deep faith she had as she allowed the light of the event to illumine her response and her actions following her consent. She was focused to go beyond the trappings of this great event of revelation: the vision of the Angel, the words proclaiming her greatness, and focused on the reality of a life offered to her. As the story of the Incarnation progresses, we shall see how Mary recedes into the background to give way to the presence of the Child- her Child- the Emmanuel. In this instance, I seem to hear the echo of a voice- that of the Baptist- who said “He must increase, I must decrease.”

Isn’t this the story of every woman? And in particular of a woman with child? Isn’t this the ethos of woman, to conceive within her the reality of God and in due time, according to the degree of our cooperation, give birth to the Son of God in the realm of grace? Aren’t the qualities inherent in woman- her nurturing instinct, her maternal solicitude, her intuition, her self-sacrificing ability for the sake of others- present precisely because of this reality? These qualities are never effaced whether one chooses a life of natural motherhood or single state of life as a lay person or as a consecrated woman.
The reality of spiritual motherhood is as real and deeper. A woman with child is reliving the mystery of God made Man. If we believe that we are temples of God, then we must agree that a woman pregnant with her child is pregnant “with God.” Can she like Mary, be vigilant so that the mystery does not pass her by? Can she look beyond the trappings of physical inconvenience, added responsibilities, added expense, added burden, and focus herself on the mystery being unfolded within her? Can she, like Mary, be joyful in the faith that tells her “she is blessed among women because she believes?” Believes in the power of LIFE? Believes in her dignity as a woman, a vessel of life? Can she, like Mary, sing in refrain the Baptist’s cry “He must increase” because the life within her is of God? And that she must decrease because she must forget herself with all her supposed needs?

The Season of Advent is a time of conceiving and giving birth. To conceive in faith desires that transcend ourselves and giving birth to them by the help of God’s grace thus transforming ourselves, our lives and those of others. We wait... Wait for what? For the Good News promised to us that God will come to be with us. As the Psalmist exclaims “God delights in his people!”

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saint John of the Cross: Doctor of Love

Doctor of Love
Feast Day: December 14th
Carmelite, Mystic, Doctor of the Church

The Carmelite Order celebrates the feast of Saint John of the Cross on December 14th. Saint John is first of my favorite male Saints, with St. Francis De Sales, as my second. Humanly speaking, his life was a story of poverty and sufferings but spiritually, it was a story of love between a creature and the Creator. To know Saint John we need to know some basic facts about him.

Juan de Yepes was born June 24, 1542 in Fontiveros, Spain. He had two brothers, Francisco and Luis. Luis died as a small child after his father's death. His father, Gonzalo De Yepes, belonged to a noble family of silk merchants. His mother, Catalina Alvarez, was an orphan girl who was raised by a local family and earned her living as a weaver. The two met when Gonzalo was on a business trip. Gonzalo fell in love with this attractive young woman and the two married "out of love" without the blessing of the Yepes family. Gonzalo was disinherited and the couple raised their family in hard work and financial straits but full of love and dedication. When Gonzalo died, Catalina was left to care for the boys. Life proved to be very difficult for her and the small family of three lived in abject poverty. Catalina assumed the heavy responsibility of feeding and raising her children. She was forced to move from place to place to look for a good paying job that would help her to meet even the bare necessities of life. This childhood experience of self-sacrificing love will form John and he would develop this subject and used it as a structure in his explanation of the Divine love of God and the standard of what our own response to God's love should be. His sayings of: "Where there is no love, put love and you will find love," "Love is repaid by love alone," "In the evening of life you will be examined in love," "When you experience something unpleasant, look at Jesus Crucified and be silent," are all sentiments formed by his own experience of self-emptying love.


Catalina was described as a very devout Christian woman who brought up her sons "with the greatest Christian spirit, and encouraged them to be devoted to the Mother of God." Years later, Saint John would recount a story of his childhood. He had fallen into a pond and a very beautiful lady appeared and stretched her hand to him in the motion of helping him. Young Juan refused to extend his hand to her because he did not want to get her dirty. A workman with a pole eventually fished him out of the pond and rescued him. Saint John often said that it was for this reason that he was very devoted and fond of Our Lady.The Shepherd Boy

We cannot speak of Saint John without mentioning Saint Teresa of Avila. The two met when St. John went back to Medina del Campo to celebrate his First Mass after ordination. He had entered the Carmelites but felt unhappy thinking he was called to a more austere life of the Carthusians. St. Teresa had founded a reformed Carmelite community of nuns in the same town and was beginning a process of finding men to join her reform for the friars. This was to be a providential meeting. They met and talked and St. John confided to her his plans. St. Teresa for her part convinced John to join her reform and assured him that whatever he was looking for with the Carthusians, he would find in the Reformed Carmel. John agreed provided that he did not have to wait long.
John and Teresa suffered much for the reform of Carmel. It resulted in St. John being held prisoner for 9 months in a Toledo cell by his fellow Carmelite brothers. True to the practice of the times, he received the beatings and penalty imposed on a "renegade " religious. He was in a solitary confinement, deprived of any kind of mental or physical activity, in the cold and dark prison cell with a very small window to allow a little bit of light to enter. When the time ordained by God came, he escaped and made his way to a monastery of Reformed Carmelite Nuns in Toledo. They barely recognized him for they found him emaciated, confused and looking barely alive.

St. John's experience in imprisonment brought with it a purification of the purest quality. It would bring out the sparkle already in the diamond that was St. John. It produced the most beautiful poetry Spain  ever had, the 'Spiritual Canticle." John of the Cross would serve the Discalced Order in a spiritual way. He is considered to be the co-founder of the Order along with Saint Teresa of Avila. He died in Ubeda December 14, 1591 from a blood poisoning originating from a gangrenous ulcerated leg sore. He was beatified by Pope Clement January 25, 1675. His canonization occurred 50 years later on December 27, 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He was declared a Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Pius XI August 24, 1926.
Personally, I love Saint John because he is a true voice of Truth. He is dependable because he doesn't water down the demands of the Gospel. He points to what is true and necessary and does not mince words to soften the blow. He challenges but at the same time he comforts with his words of love and understanding. He demands but at the same time understands the frailty of human nature. He holds up an ideal but makes room for human weakness. He feeds us with the solid meat of the spiritual. He is austere but at the same time poetic and eloquent. He speaks of mortification and detachment but always in the context of loving. He reminds us that we are special and loved by God. He reminds that we have been bought by the blood and death of Jesus and that nothing - no suffering, no trial, no persecution- can ever make us repay what He did out of love. Except to love Him back.


Saint John wrote his major works of The Dark Night, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Spiritual Canticle and Living Flame of Love. He also wrote some prose, prayers and Counsels. We have some surviving letters he wrote.

Saint John of the Cross is known as the Doctor of the Dark Night. That is an inaccurate description. His dark night was only a means to the greater end of transforming union in love. He is a Doctor of Love. Only if we see him in this light, will we cease to be afraid of him and his doctrine.


What is St. John's relevance in our modern day and age?  I believe first and foremost that he, like John the Baptist", is the voice that cries in the wilderness, "make straight the way of the Lord!"  his voice bears the impact of conscience.  Our lives can become filled with so many needs, longings and wants, ambitions and plans.  We find our plates full , and yet, still go away hungry and thirsty.  We find ourselves in a world of options and freedoms, and yet, find ourselves enslaved and limited.   We find ourselves soaring so high in our spiritual adventure, and suddenly, find ourselves on a rapid descent and sometimes ending with a fatal crash on the ground of life.  What does John of the Cross say to all these?  "On the way to the mountain, nothing, nothing, nothing. And at the top of the mountain, still nothing."  (Ascent of Mount Carmel).  God is much greater than all the goods of this earth.  Much greater than the loftiest of our spiritual experiences.  Much greater than our mind can conceive.  He teaches us that the ascent to union with God is accomplished in darkness and nakedness.  He teaches that God is not found AFTER the darkness passes, but that God is IN the darkness, and to embrace this darkness is the surest way to find God.  Faith, Hope and Love, the three things that last.  In the end, these are the surest guides we can depend on. We are living in these times of faith-crisis.  We look for signs and miracles.  We exalt grand spiritual experiences and gravitate to what our intellect can understand.  We are confronted by worldly idols and created some ourselves.  We put out our hands and frantically grab whatever makes us happy, only to be disappointed because they all make us feel empty.  In short, we look for God in all the wrong places.  St. John invites us to journey WITHIN.


Saint John of the Cross, pray for us!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mary of Guadalupe

Feast:  December 12th


The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a beautiful feast appropriately celebrated during Advent.  Just as the message of Guadalupe was a message of light piercing through the darkness, so is the message of Advent that of Light dawning upon mankind.  The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is beautiful in that it once again shows us the tenderness of Mary as mother, appearing to a humble native named Juan Diego on the hills of Tepeyac, to offer consolation and hope to a world wrapped in ignorance and darkness.  She appeared heavy with child, anticipating the beautiful event we are to celebrate Christmas night, when the Child to be born of her comes to save His people.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent


“I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul. For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice...” We call this prayer the “Magnificat” almost always used in reference to Mary. But this prayer can also be applied to John the Baptist. John was certainly a man singularly blessed by God to be the precursor of the messianic age. He was God’s mouthpiece announcing the dawn of a new age. His was the message of repentance, forgiveness and justice. The Spirit of the Lord was upon him because God anointed him to send glad tidings to the prisoners under the bondage of sin, to announce the year of favor from God. Interestingly enough, this was the passage used by Jesus for his own credentials when John, from prison, asked Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come or do we wait for another?” This same message was played out by two different personalities. One with a loud voice in the desert and an unyielding reed standing by the banks of the Jordan. Another with the power of love and service, a lamb who opened not his mouth, a bruised reed.

John knew his role in the salvation drama of Israel. He himself acknowledged that he is only the voice in the desert announcing the coming of the Lord. He is fully aware of the words of the prophet Isaiah. What struck me the most with him was his deep self-knowledge and his being fully rooted in the truth about himself. The questions (more like proposals) that were addressed to him were unhesitatingly answered with what he knew to be the truth. “I am not Elijah or the prophet or the Messiah. No, I am only a voice... Someone mightier is coming after me.... I am not worthy to untie his sandals....”

Only in our knowledge of the truth can we truly deliver the message of God. Only in knowing ourselves can we fully serve God without the danger of losing our souls. The “proposals” we can encounter in the service of God can become a wine that intoxicates us. We can easily forget that the message is more important than the messenger. We can easily forget that we are not the Elijah’s, or God forbid we have the illusion that we are the Messiah, of our world with subtle agendas. We are only voices in the deserts of this world, witnessing to the reality that there is One, more powerful and more important who will accomplish the impossible which we cannot do ourselves. John was important in the plan of God, and so are we, but only to the extent that we remain in the vine, rooted in the truth of who we truly are on the chess board.

John the Baptist never witnessed the fullness of God’s revelation. He never saw the fullness of God’s intent to save his people. He never witnessed the victory of the Resurrection. And yet, God needed him to prepare the way of this ultimate victory. We may never witness the ultimate victory in our fight for justice. We may never reap the harvest of our labors but God needs us to proclaim the Good News of His Son. We may never see the end to abortion, euthanasia, social injustice, poverty and sufferings in this world. But we should be firm in our faith and hope that One who is mightier will come and will make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.

I believe that only if we truly make this our conviction that we can rejoice always and pray without ceasing as St. Paul exhorts us to do in the second reading. I believe that if we can seek out the good from the bad can we retain what is good. Only then is it possible to be thankful in all circumstances. Only then can we be found blameless until the coming of the Lord. For as St. Paul says, God is faithful and He will accomplish His plan present since the foundation of the world.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Advent's Main Characters



There are three major personalities in the season of Advent: Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary. It is very helpful to meditate on the significance of these three personalities and to find their significance in the event of Christmas.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent- Be vigilant in Love!


With Mother Nature having transformed herself into the colorful trees and that cold wintry air, the Church's liturgical year turns its page to a new season- the Season of Advent- which begins this Sunday.  We traditionally celebrate our New Year on the 1st of January, but our church calendar actually starts its new year in the evening hour of the last Saturday of the 34th week in Ordinary Time.  Prior to this, the reading at Masses were pointed towards the "end times." The readings were ominous in character, apocalyptic, and speak of the end of the world as we know it and the final coming of Jesus as Judge of the living and the dead.  Advent also speaks of another coming.  It is the season of vigilant waiting.  There is a penitential spirit implicit in our celebrating Advent.  The penitential color of purple vestment worn by the priest at Mass reminds one of the same color vestment worn during Lent.  But when one pays close attention to the readings used at the liturgical celebration, one would notice, aside from the reminders of preparedness, a loving expectation of something beautiful to come or someone wonderful to come.  We are encouraged during Advent to lay aside cares and avoid distractions which may come in the way of our interior vigilance and waiting for the Lord.  Advent is really a spiritual preparation for the birthday of Jesus.  There is a tendency in everyone to be so taken up with the many activities connected with Christmas.  There's the shopping to be done, cards to be written and sent, parties to plan, etc.  Unfortunately, these have become part and parcel of the days leading up to Christmas.  I used to think that it is impossible to fully appreciate the season of Advent because of these demands.  Even when one is living in the convent like I do, there are demands and responsibilities the Sisters find themselves responding to.  But I found that it is possible to take the time to be quiet, to lay aside concerns, and to plan one's activities so as to make room for the spiritual.

There is beauty in Advent and Christmas none of the other liturgical feasts have.  Although Easter is theologically larger in significance, Christmas speaks to the heart.  It is my favorite season.  The idea of God coming to us as a Child, in total dependence, awakens in everyone a sentiment too deep for words.  It brings out the best in everyone.  We find ourselves more loving, more giving and forgiving, at Christmas.  Let us enter into the Advent Season with determination to be open to whatever the Spirit of God brings and to listen attentively to the prophecies read in Scriptures during Mass.  Let us imitate Mary in her loving vigilance, waiting for the coming of the Lord, as a Child.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Feast Day:  November 8

The Carmelite Order celebrates the feast of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity on November 8th. Elizabeth was a beautiful soul who tasted the delights of contemplating God in the depths of her soul and invites us to do the same.
She was born July 18, 1880 in a military camp of Avor in the district of Farges-en-Septaine, France to a military family. Her father, Joseph Catez, was a captain of the 8th Squadron of the Equipment and Maintenance Corps. Her mother, Marie Rolland, was the daughter of a retired Commandant. The couple was blessed with two lovely daughters, Elizabeth and Marguerite. The family moved to Dijon in 1882. As a child, Elizabeth was described to possess a terrible temper. She was inclined to bouts of tantrums and her early photos show her flashing eyes. It was said that a Canon close to the family exclaimed after being a witness to these outburst, “this child will either grow up to be a devil or an angel.” She is described to be quick-tempered and unable to manage her anger well. This character flaw will be foremost in Elizabeth’s mind as she strove to grow deeper in the spiritual life.


But despite this weakness, Elizabeth also was gifted with good natural qualities. She was naturally affectionate and did not think twice to show it. When one reads her letters to friends, her warmth and affectionate nature come through. She was loved wherever she went and was popular among her friends. She loved to travel and loved beautiful, fashionable clothes. She was an accomplished pianist and her soul was sensitive to everything beautiful and harmonious. It was this artistic soul that will open up for her the discovery of a Presence within her.

When her father died, Mme. Catez, Elizabeth and Marguerite moved to a smaller house not far from a Carmelite monastery. In fact, it was so near to the house that Elizabeth could see the belfry of the chapel from her bedroom window. A great spiritual transformation occurred in Elizabeth during her First Communion in April of 1891. Her writings talk about her account of “being fed by Jesus.” This experience was the turning point in her life. From that moment onward, Elizabeth began a journey of self-discovery, self-mastery and self-conquest. She also discovered her vocation to Carmel.

It is wonderful to read Blessed Elizabeth’s writings because they are full of love and expressions of great longings. Her description and re-discovery of the mystery of the Divine Indwelling in her soul is so vivid that one cannot help but be immersed in what she is describing. Her writings are lofty and mystical and she spoke in the language of the mystics. She truly lived out her personal mission of being the apostle of Divine Indwelling in Carmel. Her appeal is different from St. Therese and yet Elizabeth read Therese's "Story of a Soul" while a Postulant in her Dijon Carmel. In a photo taken of her at this time with the Community, she can be seen holding this book next to Mother Germaine, her Prioress. There is a certain euphoria and excitement surrounding St. Therese but Blessed Elizabeth manifests a more subdued, serious and austere aura about her. She was very heavily influenced by the writings of Saint Paul and most, if not all of her writings, are meditations and reflections on the works of this great apostle to the gentiles. It was in one of St. Paul's letters that she discovered her personal mission in Carmel: to be "laudem gloriae", to be God's Praise of Glory. Being a praise of glory for Elizabeth meant becoming "another humanity in which Christ can renew the whole of His mystery." She expounds on St. Paul's cry of "filling up in my body what is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ." All these sentiments were not driven only by a pure sense of asceticism but more so because she understood that love is proven by the crucible of the Cross. " A Carmelite is a soul who has gazed on Christ Crucified, who has seen Him offering Himself to His Father as a victim for souls; and entering into herself under this great vision of Christ's charity, she has understood the passion of His soul and desired to give herself as He did!"

Elizabeth of the Trinity teaches me that God dwells in silence. The Rule of Carmel teaches that "your strength will lie in silence and hope." When asked by her Prioress what her favorite point of the Rule was, she referred to the practice of silence as indicated in the holy Rule. It is in silence that we must seek Him and we have to acquire that virtue of silence in order to allow God to communicate Himself to us. Being silent is not just the absence of words. Being silent more so means being abandoned, docile, submissive to the Spirit so He can accomplish his works in us. Being silent means having a “single eye” to view all things.  A silent and peaceful soul is one who is convinced that nothing happens by accident, no second causes, that God ordains all, and that everything is  grace. A noisy soul is one that constantly swims upstream, who constantly sees the danger behind every sacrifice, who measures every step so she doesn’t fall. It reminds me of the song The Rose -“it’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance, it’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes a chance, it’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live."

Elizabeth died of Addison’s disease on November 9, 1906. She was beatified by Saint Pope John Paul II on November 25, 1984 and canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016. Her dying words were “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life.”  In her own words:

“Let us live with God as with a Friend. Let us make our faith a living thing, so as to remain in communion with Him through everything. That is how saints are made. We carry our heaven within us, since He who completely satisfies every longing of the glorified souls in the light of the Beatific Vision, is giving Himself to us in faith and mystery. It is the same thing. It seems to me I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God and God is in my soul. The day I understood that, everything became clear to me, and I wish I could whisper this secret to those I love in order that they also might cling closely to God through everything.

 Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us!