- Hurry and come down, for I must stay in your house today.
The master unceasingly repeats this call to our soul which He once addressed to Zacchaeus. Hurry and come down. But what is this descent that He demands of us except an entering more deeply into our interior abyss?
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. Such is Christ’s last wish, His supreme prayer before returning to His Father. He wills that where He is we should be also, not only for eternity, but already in time. It is important to know where we must live with Him in order to realize His divine dream. The place where the Son of God is hidden is the bosom of the Father, or the divine Essence, invisible to every mortal eye, unattainable by every human intellect, as Isaiah said: Truly You are a hidden God. And yet His will is that we should be established in Him, that we should live where He lives.
Remain in Me. It is the Word of God who expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but remain… permanently, habitually…
We must enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection… we must descend daily this pathway of the Abyss which is God. Abyss calls to abyss. It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God. There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love … Blessed are those who die in the Lord !
You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. St Paul comes to bring us a light to guide us on our pathway of the abyss. You have died ! What does that mean but that the soul that aspires to live close to God in the invincible fortress of holy recollection must be set apart, stripped, and withdrawn from all things in spirit.
I die daily. I decrease, I renounce self more each day so that Christ may increase in me and be exalted. I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me.
Our God, wrote St Paul, is a consuming fire, that is, a fire of love which destroys, which transforms into itself everything it touches. The delights of the divine enkindling are renewed in our depths by an unremitting activity: the enkindling of love in a mutual and eternal satisfaction. It is a renewal that takes place at every moment in the bond of love. Certain souls have chosen this refuge to rest there eternally, and this is the silence in which, somehow, they have lost themselves. Freed from their prison, they sail on the ocean of Divinity.
For these souls the mystical death becomes so simple and sweet! They think much less of the work of destruction and detachment that remains for them to do than of plunging into the furnace of love burning within them. They enter into Him by living faith, and there, in simplicity and peace they are carried away by Him beyond all things, beyond the senses, into the sacred darkness and are transformed into the divine image. Now this simple possession is eternal life savoured in the unfathomable abode. It is there, beyond reason, that the profound tranquillity of the divine immutability awaits us.
- St Elizabeth of the Trinity. Heaven in Faith