It's a curious fact that as much as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity comes lauded to me, I find her the most astringent of the Carmelite saints. After the (perhaps) over-sweetness of St. Thérèse, the Practicality of St. Teresa, the mystic vision of St. John of the Cross, and the hard-headed, soft-hearted intellectualism of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, I find reading Blessed Elizabeth like sucking a lemon or eating an unripe persimmon. There is, for me a certain dryness.
What this suggests to me is that I must spend a great deal more time with her. It is through the intercession of those Saints to whom I have had a first a slight or moderate aversion that I have received the greatest graces and blessings. (It is as though God is teaching me that I must not be particular in my friendships--that the Saints are friends to all and all Saints are our friends in faith.) I did not care much for St. Thérèse; her prayers have blessed me time and time again. I think then that my approach/avoidance of Blessed Elizabeth must come to an end and I must find a way into her works. Perhaps by getting to know her better and more personally through her letters and then tackling the more "impersonal" writings.
Nevertheless, I walk the way of the cross this last week of Lent (I'm not counting Holy Week, although I suppose up until Holy Thursday, it is part of Lent) with Blessed Elizabeth.
Let us live by love so we may die of love and glorify the God who is all love (from The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints)
Don't forget that love, to be true, must be sacrificed: "He loved me, He gave Himself for me" [Gal 2:20], there is the culmination of love.
A life of love is a life of sacrifice. We know that down in the core of our being. Any parent who has loved a child, knows that the path is one of endless small sacrifices. Any person who has shared a living space with another (I'm thinking here of roommates) knows that the way of Christian love is one of endless compromise and dying to self.
There's nothing new and startling in these words, and yet it is so important to hear them again and again, to be constantly reminded of the reality that lies behind the words. We do well to remember that love is sacrifice, Jesus is our example. And we do well to remember that we are to die of love. As St. Thérèse reminded us earlier this Lenten Season, "to die of love is not to die in transports [of ecstasy]." It is, in fact, to be a "white martyr." To have given all that you have been given and all that you are for the good of another is a kind of martyrdom and a true expression of Jesus' deep concern for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast.
If it is to be so, it may only be so through God's grace and God's will.