BTP- L6 – Letter 169 pt. 1 – The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray w/Dr. Anthony Lilles podcast
Dr. Lilles continues the spiritual explorations of the Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. In this episode, we discuss letter 169, with a special focus on Heaven as a spiritual reality.:
To Canon Angles
[ July 15, 1903]
J. M. + J. T.
Monsieur le Chanoine,
My dear Mama, whom I saw last week, brought me your good letter, and I assure you that I can indeed sympathize with the suffering your eyes are causing you, and I am praying fervently for you. I was wondering a little what had become of you, but you find your little Carmelite close to God, don’t you? And that is where she finds you too; then no more distance, no more separation, but already, as in Heaven, the fusion of hearts and souls! . . . How many things have happened since my last letter! I heard the Church say “Veni sponsa Christi” [Come, bride of Christ]; she consecrated me, and now all is “consummated.” Rather, everything is beginning, for profession is only a dawn; and each day my “life as a bride”3 seems to me more beautiful, more luminous, more enveloped in peace and love. During the night that preceded the great day, while I was in choir awaiting the Bridegroom, I understood that my Heaven was beginning on earth; Heaven in faith, with suffering and immolation for Him whom I love! . . . I so wish to love Him, to love Him as my seraphic Mother did, even to dying of it. We sing “O charitatis Victima” on her feast day, and that is my whole ambition: to be the prey of love! I think that in Carmel it is so simple to live by love; from morning to evening the Rule is there to express the will of God, moment by moment. If you knew how I love this Rule, which is the way He wants me to become holy. I do not know if I will have the happiness of giving my Bridegroom the witness of my blood [by martyrdom], but at least, if I fully live my Carmelite life, I have the consolation of wearing myself out for Him, for Him alone. Then what difference does the work He wills for me make? Since He is always with me, prayer, the heart-to-heart, must never end! I feel Him so alive in my soul. I have only to recollect myself to find Him within me, and that is my whole happiness. He has placed in my heart a thirst for the infinite and such a great need for love that He alone can satisfy it. I go to Him like a little child to its mother so He may fill, invade, everything, and then take me and carry me away in His arms. I think we must be so simple with God!
I am longing to send you my good Mama; you will see how God is working in this beloved soul. Sometimes I cry for happiness and gratitude; it is so good to be devoted to your mother, to feel that she, too, is completely His, to be able to tell her about your soul and to be completely understood! . . . You really are the great attraction of the trip, I assure you; I love to remember those vacations at Saint-Hilaire, then at Carcassonne and Labastide, they were the best ones I had. With what fatherly goodness you received the confidences I so loved to make to you; I would be happy if one day they could be made once again through my dear grilles. Won’t you come to bless your little Carmelite and, quite close to her, thank Him who “has loved her exceedingly,” for, you see, my happiness can no longer be expressed. Listen to what is being sung in my soul and all that is rising from the heart of the bride to the Heart of the Bridegroom for you whose little child she will always be. Send her your best blessing; at Holy Mass, bathe her in the Blood of the Bridegroom; it is the purity of the bride, and she is so thirsting for it! A Dieu, monsieur le Chanoine, affectionately and respectfully yours,
Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity r.c.i.
Catez, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (pp. 110-111). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.
Special thanks to Miriam Gutierrez for her readings of St. Elizabeth’s letters
For other episodes in the series visit
The Discerning Hearts “The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity” with Dr. Anthony Lilles’
Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.
You can find the book here
From the Inside Flap
Few things in this earthly life are absolutely certain, but the most undebatable of these is death. Every person, even the atheist, will admit that death is certain. Death, however, is not the last event in this life of ours. Immediately after death, we shall be judged and then again on the Day of Judgment when all humanity will know us for what we are.
Too often the reality of Heaven and salvation are highlighted at the expense of the Church’s teachings on Death, Judgment, Purgatory, and Hell. Yet, these important doctrines of the Church hold the truths of salvation — truths that can lead us to Heaven or can pull us away from it.
In these pages, Fr. Wade Menezes, EWTN television host and Assistant General of the Fathers of Mercy, shows us that God has not called us to His wrath, but to salvation. He shows us that Heaven and Hell, salvation and damnation, eternal life and eternal punishment are all complementary doctrines. They need each other to be complete and we must understand the Church’s teachings on all of these doctrines in order to have a balanced view of the world.
Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell these are the Four Last Things toward which we are moving each hour of the day and night. Read this book, and you’ll have a firm grasp of one of the most important doctrines of Holy Mother Church that holds the truths of Heaven and our own salvation.
One of our all-time favorite conversations, one of our all-time favorite books…Anthony DeStefano’s “A Travel Guide to Heaven”! (Has it really been 10 years since this was published?) Filled with “Of course, that makes sense…” moments, this is a gem for the ages. A timeless read that I revisited recently that brought such encouragement and joy to my heart, that I wanted to share it, along with this classic discussion with Anthony, with all those who come to Discerning Hearts. Anthony is as much fun to talk to as he is to read! Enjoy!
You can find it here
From the description of the book:
Using the Bible as his guide, the author notes that heaven is not only a spiritual place, but also a physical place, a fabulous “luxury resort” more sumptuous than any on Earth. The residents are real, their bodies transformed into their most perfect selves—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By making a spiritual subject immensely physical, the book provides a picture of amazing places to visit, things to do, luxuries for pampering—not to mention deep, abiding joy.
Combining the clarity and logic of C. S. Lewis with a terrific sense of fun and adventure, DeStefano creates a brilliant, reassuring portrait of heaven, a place that has intrigued and puzzled humankind throughout history.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity—this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed—is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.
Deacon James Keating, PhD, the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.