Friday, August 24, 2007

Fragments from the book "In the silence of Mary" - presenting life of Mother Mary of Jesus, Carmelite Prioress and Foundress (1851-1942). In Chapter 4 of this book, we continue to follow young Sister Mary of Jesus spiritual development and growing intimacy with God - described mostly in her own words. "In the Hands of the Living God" - last fragments of chapter 4.

Sister Mary of Jesus' own summing up of these last two years of her hermit life was that they were 'nothing but a succession of graces. Dawn broke, day come, and God's life became my treasure, my wealth and my good'. Of these graces and of the knowledge of divine mysteries they left in her soul, only the faintest indication can be given. 'I was given' she says, 'a wonderful understanding....of the divine Order in my own soul, in the souls of others, in the world and in Religion'. Here is one passage which reveals something of her insight into the life of Carmel: it is a forerunner, as it were, of the Chapters of her later life which were to draw so plenteously upon the hidden springs of her knowledge. 'In Carmel, life is not in the exterior, in what we do: that is only the outer shell. Our life, our place is in God. This true life, how one longs to be able to give it to souls who do not even suspect it. Oh, how often souls are too active! Rest or action, sickness or health, in themselves are all equal - indifferent accidents that have no value save in God's choice of them for us. But, sometimes, He makes us touch nothingness in order to reach our goal, and to pass through nothingness in order to reach the All. Oh, then one finds that this 'nothing' can fill a whole life. In one's nothingness, one feels active - what am I saying? - one seems to participate in the activity of God. Yes, his action is ours - we do nothing, nothing visible, but we pass into Him, and in Him, with Him, what do we not achieve? It is then, too, Father, that your lives are, as it were, the activity of our souls: we work together and our actions are united'.
There are several passages which touch on the penetration she had been granted into the meaning of the divine attributes. Thus, she writes: 'I often saw in God a simplicity of which one can say nothing except that one understands it. In this shhowing God acted strongly upon my soul, transforming it and bestowing on it a share and emanation of this simplicity. These touches impressed upon my soul this simplicity which God had often made me glimpse and desire, but that he alone could and willed to give'. Again: 'Often during my days (of eternity, I could almost say), the divine unity appeared to me, without measure and without limit. This was an obscure perception in one sense, and profoundly indistinct, during which wonderful things happened'.
It was however, into the mystery of the Blessed Trinity that it was given her to enter most deeply during these years, Alreadym in the earlier phase, she mentions several times what she calls 'little gleams of light' on this subject. Once, as a novice , when she read in some book the simple sentence: 'They are three and these are but One,' her soul 'received something living of this Holy Trinity, of this divine Life - Trinity and Unity - it knew by some means other than the Faith that they were three and One.' Later on she experienced so many of these touches that she declared that even if revelation had not taught this dogma, she could not have doubted the existence of the Trinity, so distinct and so special had been the way in which each of the three Persons had touched her soul. In 1876 came the greatest of these experiences, when she passed three months in intimate contact with the Blessed Trinity.