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©2009, Randall A. Beeler
O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.—Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity: Prayer to the Trinity, first stanzaMay I be established in You, O Lord. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You.
At first this seems like a plea to be away from the hectic nature of life—"just let me be in You, so that everyone and everything would leave me alone."
Yet, Elizabeth adds, "but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery."
Here Elizabeth's prayer unites with Saint Therese's "little way." Yes, Elizabeth seeks immolation in the Trinity—but not as a dissolution of self. Rather, as a fulfillment and maturation of self—something compared to which her presence in this life is as gossamer as a shadow in fog.
Elizabeth's seeks a peace in the Trinity not through retreat from this life but by being steeped in this life. Each minute is God's gracious means of immersing us more deeply in His love—precisely through those things that would destroy our peace with him.
So the works of the devil come to naught. For even as the devil plots evil in order to frustrate God's will, so God's immeasurable love transforms even such plots into means of steeping us more deeply in the self-giving fire of the Trinity.
Elizabeth seeks a way in which every moment is the only moment, eternal. The moment eternal is God's gracious carrying of us deeper into his mystery. The fragile earthen vessels of our embodied souls thus become, in the most trying moments, the tabernacle of the Beloved.
In such moments, even the most dire moments, the Bridegroom says to his bride,
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. (Song of Solomon 3:10b-13, RSV)My soul, His bride, says in return,
16 My beloved is mine and I am his, he pastures his flock among the lilies. 17 Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle, or a young stag upon rugged mountains. (Song of Solomon 3:16-17, RSV)