For a loving person, everything turns into prayer. That’s exactly what Saint John of the Cross taught us when he spoke about mediated experiences. Everything becomes a means to union with God, a means to deeper knowledge of Him, and consequently to deeper love.Elizabeth describes her prayer as “being alone with God alone.” Holy Mother Teresa describes prayer an intimate sharing between friends and being alone with Him whom we know loves us.
So she began reading and was taken by the Way of Perfection. When she went to confession during a mission preached by the Redemptorist Fathers,
she was given the assurance that by divine favor, the Lord had preserved her Baptismal innocence. In other words, she had not committed a mortal sin. The same has been said of our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus and of Saint Therese, a little flower with a stem of steel. You have to have that kind of willpower to really grow and to become holy. When that experience happened, she became confirmed in her vocation to Carmel.
I want to say something about the theology of vocation.
Vocation is a gift like everything else. Therese says over and over again, “everything is a gift, everything is a grace.” But that gift needs to be nurtured like a little plant. It needs to be taken care of. It needs to be enhanced. It needs to be defended in order to become rooted. So in the theology of grace, God is giving. As St. Augustine says, “God cannot do it without me. I cannot do it without Him.” So there has to be the flux and reflux of God giving and myself receiving the gift to make it become alive in me.
Elizabeth wanted to enter Carmel right away, but her mother said no. She would not give permission until she reached the age of 21. So Elizabeth waited. She waited, hopeful that her mother would experience a change of heart. In the meantime, she didn’t waste any time. She offered herself as a victim for a sinner, a very public sinner and for the sins of the whole world.
In January 1900, she was on another retreat, this time with a Jesuit, Father Joseph Hoppenot. At that time she resolved to lead a life of a Carmelite in the world. Does that sound familiar? That’s us. Don’t get me the excuse, I cannot be a saint because I ‘m a mother. I’m a grandmother. I have a profession. So what? It doesn’t make any difference. It’s more difficult for us because we don’t have the canonical hours established, because we don’t have particular times of silence and recollection, and a special time for spiritual reading which nourishes our way of life. But if we are not saint, it is for one reason and one reason only. And that is that we don’t want to be.