BTP7 Heaven In Faith Day 4 Prayer 1 by St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray w/ Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

Episode 7 “Heaven in Faith” Day 4 Prayer 1  – “Our God, wrote St. Paul, is a consuming Fire”

This episode with Dr. Anthony Lillis and Kris McGregor discusses Elizabeth’s emphasis on the universal call to contemplative prayer and her belief that living in love, as she describes, should be an immediate and constant reality for Christians. Dr. Lillis elaborates on the retreat’s core message: that individuals are called to dwell in the love of the Trinity, experiencing this love in the present moment, and allowing it to inform and transform all aspects of their lives.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Elizabeth’s reflections suggest that contemplative prayer deepens one’s relationship with God and facilitates a transformation into divine love, influencing not only personal spirituality but also familial and communal relationships. Dr. Lilles connects this transformative process with the broader Christian tradition, including references to other saints and scriptural teachings. He also addresses potential misunderstandings about Christian mysticism, clarifying that becoming like God does not mean losing one’s personhood but fully realizing one’s humanity in the divine image.

Overall, the discussion underscores the profound impact of contemplative prayer on personal growth, familial bonds, and the ability to love authentically and selflessly, reflecting the heart of Christian life and vocation.

Day 4 First Prayer

13. “Deus ignus consumens.” Our God, wrote St. Paul, is a consuming Fire, that is “a fire of love” which destroys, which “transforms into itself everything that it touches.” “The delights of the divine enkindling51 are renewed in our depths by an unremitting activity: the enkindling of love in a mutual and eternal satisfaction. It is a renewal that takes place at every moment in the bond of love.” Certain souls “have chosen this refuge to rest there eternally, and this is the silence in which, somehow, they have lost themselves.” “Freed from their prison, they sail on the Ocean of Divinity without any creature being an obstacle or hindrance to them.”

14. For these souls, the mystical death of which St. Paul spoke yesterday becomes so simple and sweet! They think much less of the work of destruction and detachment that remains for them to do than of plunging into the Furnace of love burning within them which is none other than the Holy Spirit, the same Love which in the Trinity is the bond between the Father and His Word. They “enter into Him by living faith, and there, in simplicity and peace” they are “carried away by Him” beyond all things, beyond sensible pleasures, “into the sacred darkness” and are “transformed into the divine image.” They live, in St. John’s expression, in “communion” with the Three adorable Persons, “sharing” their life, and this is “the contemplative life”; this contemplation “leads to possession.” “Now this simple possession is eternal life savored in the unfathomable abode. It is there, beyond reason, that the profound tranquillity of the divine immutability awaits us.”

Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity, vol. 1 (featuring a General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings) (Elizabeth of the Trinity Complete Work) (pp. 98-99). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. Contemplative Prayer and Daily Life: How can I integrate contemplative prayer into my daily routine to remain in constant communion with God? What practical steps can I take to cultivate a more prayerful attitude throughout my day?
  2. Dwelling in Love: Saint Elizabeth emphasizes the call to dwell in the love of the Trinity. Reflect on what it means to “dwell in love” in your own life. How can you open your heart more fully to this divine presence?
  3. Transformation through Love: Consider how the experience of God’s love has transformed or can transform your life. In what ways do you see yourself being called to change, to die to self, and to live more fully in God’s love?
  4. The Role of Suffering: Reflect on how encountering Jesus in the painful parts of your life has or can bring about spiritual growth. How can you invite God into these areas of struggle or suffering?
  5. Family and Community: Dr. Lilles connects Elizabeth’s teachings to the concept of the family as a “school of love.” How does your faith influence your relationships with family and community? In what ways can you foster a more loving, Christ-centered environment in your home or community?
  6. Christian Joy: Consider the distinction between happiness and joy in the Christian sense. How have you experienced the joy of the Lord even during challenging times? What does it mean to find joy in God’s presence regardless of external circumstances?
  7. Spiritual Maturity: Reflect on the process of becoming fully human and fully alive in God’s image, as discussed by Dr. Lilles. What does spiritual maturity look like for you? How can you cooperate more fully with God’s transformative grace in your life?
  8. Love in Action: Saint Elizabeth wanted her spirituality to apply to the real world. Reflect on the statement, “my only occupation is loving.” How can you apply this ideal in your interactions, decisions, and service to others?

We would like to thank Miriam Gutierrez for providing “the voice” of St. Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D., has served the Church and assisted in the formation of clergy and seminarians since 1994. Before coming to St. Patrick’s, he served at seminaries and houses of formation in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The son of a California farmer, married with young adult children, holds a B.A. in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with both the ecclesiastical licentiate and doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum). An expert in the writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church, he co-founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and the High Calling Program for priestly vocations. He also founded the John Paul II Center for Contemplative Culture, which hosts symposiums, retreats, and conferences. In addition to his publications, he blogs at .

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