Friday, July 24, 2009

The Pain of Discipleship

These words of Elizabeth before entering Carmel can be a source of consolation to those who leave home and family to answer the call of God to Religious life. Leaving loved ones is never easy even if we know we leave them for God. The pain of separation is all too real for anyone but for someone entering the Carmelite cloister, with its strict rule on enclosure, it was felt as a form of death. Elizabeth felt the same way. When St. Teresa of Avila left her father, she wrote: "I felt like every bone in my body was being torn apart." But GOD is never outdone in generosity. Just like a mother who feels the pain of labor, that pain is changed to joy when her child is born. Let us listen to Blessed Elizabeth as she describes her own experience:

"How good God is! How wonderful it is to give oneself to Him and to abandon oneself to His will. When He wills anything, He is able to overcome all obstacles, and smooth away all difficulties. I had entrusted all my affairs to Him and asked Him to speak to my darling mother Himself. He did it so well that there was nothing left for me to say. Poor Mother! She is admirable! She understands that God wants me and that nothing can be done about it, and so she will allow me to enter Carmel in two months time. you must not imagine I do not feel the sacrifice. I offer it up to God every time I think of the parting to come. Could I offer a greater sacrifice than a mother like mine? He understands. He knows it is for His sake and He upholds me. O what Love! this one word says everything. To live for love means to live only for Him, in Him, by Him, and is to have, already here on earth, a foretaste of Paradise."

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