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Monday, 13 July 2015

Framing Prayer 18 Cell and City

So much more could be written on the deep spirituality of this young saint, Elizabeth of the Trinity. However, I need to move on to the Jesuits and to the Benedictines this week, so this post is the last one.

I cannot recommend her books enough to my readers. I have been borrowing these from a friend, and if any readers would like to purchase for me her complete works, in several volumes, I would greatly appreciate that.

Today I end with an amazingly appropriate image from Elizabeth for all lay persons to ponder.

Recall how I wrote several posts highlighting St.Catherine of Siena's guidance on creating a little cell within your self to which you can go for solitude and entering into the Presence of God. Recall that we must calm our own warlike instincts before building the space God wants us to have in order to meet us-St. Catherine's little cell

I think I have written about her little cell of contemplation more than any other one phrase-

"Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee."

 Elizabeth takes this idea and makes the interior cell into a city, the City of Jerusalem, the "inner kingdom of the soul",  the "the fortress, the unassailable citadel of interior recollection".

One interiorizes the holy city, notes Elizabeth. And, how does one do this? "If I want my city to have some similarity and likeness to that of  'the King of eternal ages and to receive the great illumination from God, I must extinguish every other light, as in the holy city, the Lamb must be its 'only light'",

When Christ stated that the Kingdom of God is within, this insight of Elizabeth's is what He meant.

We internalize this place in order to meet the Indwelling of the Trinity, Who is already there within us, waiting to be discovered. We have this Indwelling (follow the tags) from baptism. Only sin and imperfections keep us from finding God within. This is not pantheism, but a grace for those predestined by Divine Providence to be with God in the heavenly Jerusalem.

But, the quest begins here.

To create this little citadel within, one must get rid of trivial distractions and useless occupations which distract us. Distraction is the main reason, in my opinion, for the lack of interior solitude. Are we like Martha in our daily lives, too busy to sit at the feet of Christ and listen?

Elizabeth's interior city is not only where we meet God, and prepare a place for him, but where we meet the Love to give to others.

When things fall apart around us, and they will, we must be able to stand in the midst of chaos in the little city of our minds and heart, with Christ, listening, resting, praying, counseling.

Cell and city become one and those without this will have no protection in the days to come.