Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, in the warmth of Bethany

Dwell in the secret of your Face. Elizabeth of the Trinity

by Roberto Fornara

Translated from Italian by Pauline de Cointet-de Vanssay, revision by Monique Orfeuil ndv

Ed. du Carmel, 192 p., €22

November 8 is the feast day of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, whose luminous spirituality, a marvel of balance, is to be discovered by as many people as possible. She is a little sister of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who died like her young in Carmel of a trying illness – at the age of 26, in Dijon, in 1906. The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar spoke of “Sisters in the Spirit”and of Elizabeth he wrote: “The structure of his spiritual universe, the content and the style of his theological thought are of a density, of a consistency without defect” (1).

“O my God, Trinity whom I adore”

Roberto Fornara’s intense essay, just translated into French, forms a very beautiful gateway to this universe. With intellectual rigor and theological precision, while remaining accessible, the Italian Carmelite offers a deep meditation on the famous prayer that Elizabeth composed in one go on November 21, 1904, after a community retreat of spiritual exercises preached by a Dominican father. “O my God, Trinity whom I adore” (also famous Elevation to the Trinity) contains the quintessence of his spirituality.

“O my Three, my All”, Elizabeth ignites at the end of her text, relying absolutely on the Trinity, in thanksgiving. “Elisabeth’s entire life and spiritual experience are bathed in this atmosphere of adoration: one cannot come to faith without passing through the dimension of wonder”, comments Roberto Fornara, who meticulously analyzes the symbolic, semantic and spiritual springs of this writing, and the influence of Saint Paul, Saint John and John of the Cross.

Rest in God

Its layout “nuptial” to love is the basis of his vocation, just as friendship, lived in the generosity of unfailing attention, was that of his relationship with others. Elizabeth, fascinated by the contemplative personality of Mary of Bethany, wanted the cell of her heart to be for Jesus a “Little Bethany”enveloping in this formula his desire for offering and adoration, his impulse to discover “the divine Host to the depths of our souls”.

The theme of the dwelling (the one that God is for us, a notion that runs through the entire Old Testament, and the one that we are for God, as enriched by the Evangelist John) is among others pertinently described by Roberto Fornara, as approached by the Carmelite: in the reciprocity of a movement of both abandonment and acceptance.

And it shows how “rest in God”it’s for Elizabeth “to be a house of Bethany, a hospitable place, where we can welcome him, listen to him, please him, seek to remain in his will. Elizabeth’s great discovery is that there is no obstacle, no contradiction between letting Him rest and resting in Him.”.


spiritual letters

of Elizabeth of the Trinity

Introduction by Brother Didier-Marie Golay ocd

Deer, “Lexio”, 620 pages, €12.50

The watchful “Lexio” pocket collection had the happy idea of ​​bringing together the letters of Elisabeth of the Trinity in a rich volume that demonstrates the coherence and brilliance of the thought of the Carmelite nun of Dijon. “May Christ captivate, enchain, invade my darling Guite, may she go and lose herself in Him like a drop of water in the ocean! Let us remain in his Love: it is there that he makes an appointment with the two little sisters to melt them into unity. she wrote, for example, to her dear little sister in 1902, remaining very close to her despite the closure. His desire to be with God in all things, his attention to strengthening those close to him who remained in the world spring from each writing, emphasizing fidelity and trust.

We would like to give thanks to the writer of this post for this remarkable material

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, in the warmth of Bethany

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