Part 32 of this current paradise
A series of reflections on Saint Elizabeth the Trinity
(Start here with part 1.)
God made each of us, every human being, for bigger things – to love and to be loved. But why did God make some of us men and other women? Because a woman’s love is a picture of God’s love and a man’s love is another picture of God’s love. Both are made to love, but each is different. Women and men complement each other and together show God’s love more fully than either can do it alone.
This special love power, which belongs to a woman, is most evident when she becomes a mother. Motherhood is God’s gift to women. How grateful we have to be to God for this wonderful gift that gives such joy to the whole world, women and men alike! However, we can destroy this gift from motherhood, especially by the abortion evil, but also by the thought that other things like jobs or positions are more important than loving than giving oneself to others. No job, no plans, no possessions, no idea of ”freedom” can take the place of love. Anything that destroys God’s gift of motherhood destroys his most precious gift to women – the ability to love as a woman.
Mother Teresa wrote in a letter to those attending the United Nations Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995. So simple, so clear, so powerful, she explained what might be obvious, but what was hidden in a time of extreme confusion about the dignity of a woman’s unique calling: that motherhood of a woman is God’s “most precious gift” to her because through it loves them in a special way that reflects its own. It is their superpower, this “special power of love”. It has immense creative strength – and it is a major threat to the enemy kingdom. Satan cannot create, he can only forgive and distort. In his eternal frustration, envy, and anger, he tries to destroy this incredible God-given gift to the world. He tries to convince women that their motherly nature is being taught, rather than something that fits their nature, something that society writes like a fictional narrative that is now nothing more than evolutionary baggage – and that is thrown aside or suffocated can of other things.
And so, in anticipation of lies, God lifts up icons of Our Lady, our mother, in the bouquet of female saints and says: Here – here is motherhood. Here are women who beautifully reflect this restorative, redeeming kind of love that gives life to the world. And he heals our world through her highest self-giving and makes the beauty of motherhood tangible, touchable and imitable in our own life.
When I first read the above letter as a student, I remember the woman behind the words – a woman who had given up natural motherhood because of the consecrated virginity, but became a spiritual mother to thousands who died in the slums from Calcutta and all of us who learned from her how to love “the least”. Mother Teresa pointed us back to the lost and lonely in our own houses, she urged us not to forget the unborn child, she brought us closer to Jesus and nourished the hesitant longing in our hearts for him. It was literally A mother. She was complete and authentic a woman, and so really …she couldn’t be anything else.
Virginity according to the gospel means to renounce marriage and thus physical motherhood. The renunciation of this type of motherhood, a waiver that can mean a great sacrifice for a woman, enables another kind of motherhood: motherhood “according to the spirit” (cf. Rom 8: 4). Because virginity does not deprive a woman of her privileges. Spiritual motherhood takes many different forms. For example, in the life of consecrated women who live according to the charism and the rules of the various apostolic institutes, it can express itself as concern for people, especially for the most needy: sick, disabled, abandoned, orphaned, the elderly, children, adolescents, and prisoners and generally people on the margins of society. In this way, a consecrated woman finds her spouse different and equal in every person, exactly according to his words: “As you did to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25): 40). Spouse love always involves a special willingness to be poured out for those who fall within their own area of activity. In marriage, although it is open to everyone, this willingness is mainly the love that parents give to their children. In virginity, this willingness is open to all people who are embraced by the love of Christ, the spouse.
Marital love – with its maternal potential, which is hidden as a virgin bride in the heart of women – is also inclined to be open to everyone when it is connected to Christ, the Redeemer of every individual. This is confirmed in the religious communities of apostolic life and in other ways in the communities of contemplative life or in the monastery. (Mulieris Dignitatum, 22.)
Elizabeth fully lived her calling as the bride of Christ. But she also accepted her female calling as spiritual Mother. She did this in her tender concern for her own aching mother, her devotion to her sister, the attention in her letters to the concerns and joys of those whom God had given her to love. She saw every person with an intuitive sensitivity directly in her soul. She mourned a friend who had lost her little daughter and led her gently Mary: “My heart,” she said, “must tell you immediately that it is one with yours and ask Him who inflicted the wound to heal it, because only He can do it! I understand your heart’s grief so well, my dear little Marie-Louise, that I will not try to bring you human comfort; You should take refuge in the heart of a mother, the heart of the virgin. It knew all the breaking, all the tearing and it always stayed so calm, so strong, because it was always based on the heart of Christ! “(Letter 134)
The heart of a woman, the soul of a woman is created to be like that of Maria – a refuge, a hiding place, a “protection in which other souls can develop”, so the words of St. Edith Stein. Elizabeth was the safe place to fall and find hope for everyone who knew her. When another friend mourned for her husband, Elizabeth empathetically assured her: “My whole soul, my whole heart is one with yours, because you know, Madame, what deep affection connects me with you.” (Letter 195)
When the Carmelite woman heard that her sister had her own little Elizabeth (baby ‘Sabeth’ was born on March 11, 1904), she admitted to crying “like a little baby”. (L 196)
“Oh my darling,” she wrote, “I think I love this little angel as much as her little mother, and that says a lot. And then, you know, I feel totally in awe of this little temple of the Holy Trinity. Her soul shines like a crystal that radiates God, and if I were near her, I would kneel down to worship the one who dwells in her. My Guite, would you kiss her for your Carmelite aunt and then take my soul with you to remember your little Sabeth? If I were still with you, how I would like to cuddle, rock … God knows what else! But the good God has called me up the mountain so that I can be her angel and envelop her in prayer, and I very happily offer him everything else for her; and then there is no distance for my heart and I am so close to you that you feel it, right? “ (L 197)
Behind the walls of the monastery, Elizabeth’s motherly love had been transformed and enriched, taking on a new, deeper power. She promised to feed her niece’s spiritual life and her prayers were not without effect – little Sabeth would eventually enter the same monastery as her aunt!
Because she was also so attentive to her sister’s spiritual growth and taught Guite about the trinity that dwells in her soul, she had to assert the sacred audacity when Guite went to heaven: “I will be happy, my most beautiful Christ in it to see your soul; I will not be jealous, but with the pride of a mother I will say to him: I am a poor guy who brought this soul into your life. “(L 239) When she got sick, she sensed that from heaven she felt that her motherly role would only get stronger.
It was really the way she saw a Carmelite Marian life, “as a dual calling: ‘virgin mother’. Virgin: represented by Christ in faith; Mother: Save souls, increase the number of adoptive children of the father, the joint heir of Jesus Christ. “(L 199) She had an excellent model in her superior, Mother Germaine, who saw her beloved Elizabeth sensitively through spiritual darkness, relaxed rules when she was caring for Elizabeth and her family, and steadfast in hers during her illness and death Side remained. “If you knew what kind of mother I have by my side: a true mother, her heart has the tenderness, the delicacy that is only known to the hearts of mothers,” she confided to a friend. (L 268) For example, if Elizabeth was too sick to receive Communion, Mother Germaine thoughtfully knelt on her bed after receiving the Eucharist every morning so that Elizabeth could worship the Lord who was fully present in her. In her tenderness, she revealed to Elizabeth what every mother reveals: the face of God, full of mercy and love.
The Church, itself a mother, invites all women to accept the special brand of love – the receptive, intuitive, attentive, sensitive, reflective, maternal –especially maternal– love that is her own. Make yourself the highest gift and see how souls come to life under the roof of their feminine heart, regardless of their state of life, their personality, their particular mission or the break of their past or present circumstances. To participate in the redemption of the world and the restoration of all things for God under Christ and to do so with a special spiritual beauty.
And besides man’s male love, to radiate God’s love in a way, as Mother Teresa said, “more complete than both of them can do alone.”
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