“Ambitious for True Greatness”

All the movements of pride that you feel within yourself only become faults when the will takes part in them. Without that, although you may suffer much, you are not offending God. Doubtless self-love is at the bottom of those faults which, as you say, you commit without thinking. But that, my poor darling, is in a way part of us. What God asks of you is never to entertain deliberately any thought of pride, and never to act on the inspiration of pride, for this is wrong. And yet, if you find yourself doing either of these, you must not become discouraged, for again, it is pride which is irritated. You must display your misery like Magdalene at the Master's feet, and ask him to set you free. He so loves to see a soul recognize its weakness. Then, as a great saint said, "the abyss of God's immensity encounters the abyss of the creature's nothingness," and God embraces this nothingness.

My dearest child, it is not pride to think that you do not want to live an easy life; I truly believe that God wants your life to be spent in a realm where the air breathed is divine. Oh! You see, I have a profound compassion for souls that live only for this world and its trivialities; I consider them as slaves, and I wish I could tell them: Shake off the yoke that weighs you down; what are you doing with these bonds that chain you to yourself and to things less than yourself? It seems to me that the happy ones of this world are those who have enough contempt and forgetfulness of self to choose the cross as their lot! What delightful peace we experience when we place our joy in suffering! 

“In my own flesh I fill up what is locking in the Passion of Christ for the sake of his body, which is the Church” (Co I 1:24). The Apostle finds his happiness in this! The thought pursues me and I confess that I experience a profound inner joy in thinking that God has chosen to associate me in the Passion of his Christ. This way of Calvary I climb each day seems to me more like the path of beatitude! Have you ever seen those pictures depicting death reaping with his sickle? Well, that is my condition; I seem to feel myself being destroyed like that. Sometimes it is painful for nature and I can assure you that if I were to remain at that level, I would feel only my cowardice in the face of suffering: But that is looking at things from the human point of view! Very quickly I open the eye of my soul in the light of faith. And this faith tells me that it is love who is destroying me, who is slowly consuming me; then I feel a tremendous joy, and I surrender myself to him as his prey. 

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (t 1906) was a French Carmelite nun whose writings focused on the indwelling of the Trinity. She died from Addison's disease at the age of twenty-six. 


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Updated: September 19, 2021

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