May 12, 2012

Elisabeth of the Trinity Episode 14

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity believes that deeper encounters with the Lord await those who embrace the path of integrity.  The Lord in fact constantly sends his grace to those who believe that He died for them to set them free.  Those who cleave to this saving truth by praying to Him find themselves constantly examining their lives in the light of the Gospel, constantly seeing deeper ways they can follow the Lord.

To have died in Christ means to be raised up in new life in Him.  This is the grace of baptism.  Those who accept this grace are filled with new life.  The old way of life before they believed no longer animates them they way it once did.  The old values are empty and lifeless.  The more they say yes to the new life of baptism in each moment, they also discover in that same moment that they are in fact spiritually dead to everything in this world that once motivated them.

At the same time, these disciples at the beginning of their spiritual lives have not yet entered deep into the peace of the Lord.  They struggle with thousands of imperfections, involuntary habits and sinful inclinations that distract them from what they really want.  The beginning of the spiritual life in fact takes great determination and perseverance.

However, this beginning is not about developing one's own cleverness or ability to be good or even learning how to feel good about oneself.  Instead, beginning the spiritual life is about realizing how completely reliant we really are on the life of Christ.  He Himself is the source of our faithfulness. Here, perseverance and determination are aimed at not simply trying harder but rather generously accepting all the graces the Lord sends at each moment.  It is what God is doing in our efforts and even our failures that is paramount and it is this for which we must constantly give thanks.

What is spiritual integrity and purity of heart?  It is a gift from God given to those who love God enough to ask for it.  Those who learn to rely on the Lord in this effort begin to see how much He is faithful in their weakness.  This kind of openness, this kind of surrender, allows God to be even more generous.  Such souls, by the purity and integrity of their faith, are given an even deeper and more peaceful freedom - a freedom that is like the freedom of God Himself, a freedom that only God can provide.

Making sure we know this is what Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity believed to be an important part of her spiritual mission.  In the retreat she wrote for her sister, she constantly returns to this idea.  The battle for integrity takes great effort and we must constantly encourage each other so that we can all be open to this wonderful gift.
"Our aptitude for receiving His grace depends on the inner integrity with which we move towards Him.  And then God, bringing us His gifts, can give Himself, imprint on us His likeness, forgive, and free us."
To hear the next episode of my pod-casts on Elisabeth of the Trinity's Heaven in Faith, click here.