St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
“Jesus desire is for us to be with him in Communion. This is what he aches for...”
Upon leaving the Last Supper, Jesus uttered a prayer. “Father, I will that where I am, they also whom you have given me may be with me in order that they may behold my glory which you have given me because you have loved me since before the creation of the world,” (John 17:24).
Looking into the face of his impending suffering and torturous death, his deepest desire was for us. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity who was canonized by Pope Francis on Oct. 16, 2016, reflected on this desire in her writings. St. John Paul II, who beatified her in 1984, had identified her as one of the most influential mystics in his spiritual life. She died in 1906 at the age of 26 from Addison's disease.
This contemplative Carmelite nun, taught that the Holy Spirit is timeless, and holiness is attainable for everyone. “We must be mindful of how God is in us in the most intimate way and go about everything with him. Then life is never banal. Even in ordinary tasks, because you do not live for these things, you will go beyond them,” she wrote.
During the last months of her life, Blessed Elizabeth wrote down theological reflections that she believed would help people grow in prayer. Blessed Elizabeth wanted Catholics to enter deep into the mystery of God in order to have a transforming encounter with Christ and change the way they encountered the world. One of the meditations she wrote about was the desire of Jesus on Holy Thursday.
Uniting with Jesus
“Jesus desire is for us to be with him in Communion. This is what he aches for, his deepest desire that he prays for. This is what Jesus was doing the night before he died.” Blessed Elizabeth called this Jesus’ last wish, his supreme prayer.
She wanted hearts to be informed by this desire. “If we do, our spiritual lives and prayers will explode,” she wrote. “Our thoughts will be soaked with God. Because if we realize that if this is the Son of God—he is the Word spoken by the Father that has become flesh, and this is Jesus’ deepest desire, it ought to evoke in us a desire that responds to it.”
Blessed Elizabeth wanted us to desire what Jesus asked the Father for: communion with God. We don’t have to take the afternoon off and bury ourselves in religious books and hours of prayer on our knees according to her. To be contemplative, she explained, we need to understand the simplicity of wanting to be united with Jesus and at the same time, the deepness. “Our omnipotent God, the creator of the World, wants most to be united with his poor limited frail creatures. He yearns for us to live with him.”
Blessed Elizabeth tapped into the understanding that we are made for something more than this world. In the midst of achievement, people are still empty, we are made for more, to dwell in union with God and God wants to dwell with us. When we live in unity with God, we have faith and we find our home with God. “The peace we were made to enjoy is found only by faith in Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is the only one who can lead me into the bosom of the Trinity into the heart of the Father and in the heart of the Father my heart finds rest and I find the fullness of my humanity and the joy that God created me for becomes mine.”
More inspiration from St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, can be found in the podcast, Beginning to Pray with Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity podcasts, in which Dr. Anthony Lilles presents the 10-day spiritual retreat written by Blessed Elizabeth. He is the academic dean at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and is the author of Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer.