The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

The Spiritual Life: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and Contemplative Prayer, Part 3: Deep Silence

Authored by Dr. Anthony Lilles in Issue #4.1 of Catechetical Review
Deep silence might have been easier for Saint Elizabeth’s contemporaries to appreciate. They were spared the ceaseless sound of surrounding traffic, jets, and blaring music. Yet in other ways, early 20th Century industrial France had instilled the same sense to which we are tempted to succumb: to see ourselves as no more than a cog in wheel of social progress (or else regress). This awareness compels us to search for ways to manage the insatiable vacuum that torments our existence. It is into this searching and this vacuum that Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks. Against a banal existence, she proposes glory. The spiritual mission that she offers the Church is “to help souls cleave to God by a completely simple and loving movement, drawing them out of themselves and keeping them in the great silence in which God imprints Himself in them and transforms them into Himself.”[1] A Mission of Deep Silence Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity’s mission was launched when she produced one of the great spiritual masterpieces in the 20th Century, the prayer, “O My God, Trinity whom I Adore.”[2] Quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, contemplatives have found in her words a theological source for their own prayer. Opening up devotion to the Divine Persons of the Trinity, this prayer instills a great silence that can cause one’s whole existence to participate in God’s own life, to be completely implicated in his saving plan. The prayer has many rich theological references that converge in silence. Its voice and structure are more lyrical than logical. This may be due at least in part to the fact that Saint Elizabeth, a gifted childhood pianist, remained musical in her thinking and self-expression as an adult. This prayer has a certain theological melody, harmony, and rhythm. Its cyclic form is pregnant with the immensity, the beatitude and solitude that seized her heart. It wants to give birth to a simple and loving movement as it is pondered. Instead of a thematic transformation that an enraptured pianist might unfold, Saint Elizabeth manages to lay bare a transformed existence. This kind of doctrinal expression allows her to unfold a contemplation of the Trinity that is oblative.[3] Indeed, an offering of self to God animates the silence into which this prayer draws the soul.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Toward a Eucharistic Revival
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The Feast of Corpus Christi last month was a momentous event in the life of the Church in the United States. The celebration of this liturgy begins a Eucharistic revival, a period of historic importance that will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in the summer of 2024. The need for “revival” in relation to the Eucharist... Read more
The Spiritual Life: How the Eucharist Catechizes about the Meaning of Life
By Bishop Andrew Cozzens
Free The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is currently undertaking a Eucharistic revival. The idea for it began in 2019 when the bishops decided that we needed to respond to the moment of crisis in belief in the Eucharist in which we find ourselves—not only the discouraging results of the 2019 Pew study that reported that less than 30... Read more
The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
By Brian Pedraza
Free The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist should be numbered among the most kerygmatic of the Church’s doctrines. Here is where the Son of God, who out of the immensity of his divine love became incarnate, has chosen to dwell amongst his people until the end of time. Here is where divine charity makes itself available to the human heart. Here... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now