From the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 12, Verses 25 - 28:
'He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.'
When our mental and our spiritual strength is tested, through circumstance or through our own wayward and distracted nature, we might find some degree of solace and of direction in both the passage above from Scripture and the passage below from the writings of Elizabeth of the Trinity.
At one particular time in my life, I felt a deep despair around my patterns of behaviour and in my neglect of my personal values and personal integrity. I had then been swept along by a sense of disharmony and the pull of 'division', what Elizabeth of the Trinity so perceptively describes as a soul in 'useless ...debate(s) with itself'. There was a longing for stability and belonging, for an established, crystallized, inner strength to return or ( ... God willing!) to seize me again at this painful moment in an enlightening and compassionate way.
I recall being in the kitchen of my small apartment staring at this text - Jesus explicitly dealing with the Pharisees charge that he was an agent of evil and manipulation - and becoming aware of a human heart and a human mind that were completely 'out of synch' with one another. The words spoke to me of my disjointedness, a separation from the Eternal Source, a relentless noise of blame and strife in a precise moment of time. It was lonely and worrying. Yet it was compelling. Here was my 'house divided against itself'!!
It was somewhat after this given time, when I first looked with clarity on the passage from the Gospel of Matthew, that I felt able (and strong enough!) to focus seriously on how one might recollect and 'unify one’s whole being'. Is this not what the Great Commandment (Matthew 22; 34-40) is imploring. What are we solely before God? Where is our whole being? Like a child employs all faculties in a simple and a profound act of love, what are we to be in relation and response to to the reach and the presence of the Divine?
It is only in the silence, Elizabeth writes in her 'Last Retreat', less than three months before her death, that we move gently onwards, growing in spiritual awareness, 'vibrating in unison', holding a true sense of connection and direction. This is so reflective of the piece from the Gospel of Matthew. For Elizabeth we can become 'instruments of wonder' before God, we can overcome trials and tribulations, we can forge new life with a sweet embrace of the touch and glory of 'the kingdom of God'.
It is a bold piece of writing from Elizabeth, holding aloft the peace of Christ echoed in the passage from Matthew. She seems to understand how the human mind can 'scatter' our life force. She affirms how we are able to grow and become open to the 'light'. We come to recognise and identify with the simple and humble ways of Christ. A living restoration of strength and hope. It is friendship reborn, imitating a magical, a musical sound, a fresh perspective on power and on powerlessness, in our divided world and our divided selves.
Free the soul where possible urges Elizabeth, from the constant debate with itself! Let interior silence transform and to shape us, so as 'Unity' is not only a vague word on our lips, but a reality safe within our hearts, soothing our restless, and at times, our troubled minds! (AECI Admin)
From 'The Last Retreat', 17th August 1906 : St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
'There is another of Christ’s songs that I would like to repeat unceasingly: “I shall keep my strength for you”. My Rule tells me: “In silence will your strength be”. It seems to me, therefore, that to keep one’s strength for the Lord is to unify one’s whole being by means of interior silence, to collect all one’s powers in order to “employ” them in “the one work of love”, to have this “single eye” which allows the light of God to enlighten us.
A soul that debates with itself, that is taken up with its feelings, and pursues useless thoughts and desires, scatters it forces, for it is not wholly directed toward God. Its lyre does not vibrate in unison and when the Master plays it, He cannot draw from its divine harmonies, for it is still too human and discordant.
The soul that still keeps something for self in its “inner kingdom”, whose powers are not “enclosed” in God, cannot be a perfect praise of glory.'