St Elizabeth of the Trinity

Elisabeth Catez (1880-1906) was a gifted pianist and passionate young woman who entered the Carmel in Dijon in 1901. In childhood the image of being the ‘House of God’ was important for her. Born in a military family, she and her only sister were close to their widowed mother.  Young Elizabeth was kept waiting to enter Carmel, but she tried to live as a Carmelite in spirit until her mother relented.

Once inside Carmel, Elizabeth felt called to be a ‘Praise of Glory’ just as Jesus was the ultimate Praise of God’s Glory. Elizabeth’s spirituality is focussed on the mystery of the threefold God, her vocation a call to dive into the depths of this Godhead and stay there in loving contemplation. Her prayer to the Trinity (below) is one of her best known writings. She died of Addison’s disease at the age of twenty-six. Elizabeth was beatified in 1984 and canonised in 2016.

Image courtesy of Flavignerot Carmel
Image courtesy of Flavignerot Carmel

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to become utterly forgetful of myself so that I may establish myself in you, as changeless and calm as though my soul were already in eternity. Let nothing disturb my peace nor draw me forth from you, O my unchanging God, but at every moment may I penetrate more deeply into the depths of your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it your heaven, your cherished dwelling-place and the place of your repose. Let me never leave you there alone, but keep me there, wholly attentive, wholly alert in my faith, wholly adoring and fully given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, I long to be the bride of your heart. I long to cover you with glory, to love you even unto death! Yet I sense my powerlessness and beg you to clothe me with yourself. Identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself for me, so that my life may become a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, as Redeemer and as Saviour.

O Eternal Word, utterance of my God, I want to spend my life listening to you, to become totally teachable so that I might learn all from you. Through all darkness, all emptiness, all powerlessness, I want to keep my eyes fixed on you and to remain under your great light. O my Beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, overshadow me so that the Word may be, as it were incarnate again in my soul. May I be for him a new humanity in which he can renew all his mystery.

And you, O Father, bend down towards your poor little creature. Cover her with your shadow, see in her only your beloved son in whom you are well pleased.

O my `Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to you as your prey. Immerse yourself in me so that I may be immersed in you until I go to contemplate in your light the abyss of your splendour!
Composed in 1904