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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Mother of Mercy and the Abyss of Love


The Mother of Mercy spoke through Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity. As death approached the young Carmelite, she addressed Mary's words to her Prioress as well as to every soul who longs for the coming of the Lord. The Mother of Mercy because the mercy of the Father is revealed in her Son, Jesus, Saint Elizabeth presents Mary's mission of mercy. The Carmelite reveals, through Mary's words, the generosity of the Lord who does not even withhold his own mother to help us and to affirm our faith. Just as Mary helped Jesus make his very first offering to the Father as his mother, the Virgin has come to help us make an offering of our lives too. Out from between my arms, entering into the world, Jesus made his first oblation to the Father, and He sent me to receive yours! I brought you a scapular as a pledge of my protection and of my love, and also as a "sign" of the mystery that will be worked in you. My daughter, I come "to cloth you in Jesus-Christ" until you "walk in Him," with the Father and the Spirit of love, into the very depths of the Abyss. I come until you are built up in Him who is your Rock, your Fortress. I come until you are "affirmed in your faith." I come until your faith is affirmed in the immense Love who plunges the very ground of your soul into the great Furnace. My daughter, this all powerful Love will accomplish great things in you. Believe in my word, the word of a Mother. This Mother thrills in seeing with what particular tenderness you are loved. Oh, remain in the deepest core of your being and behold Him who comes fully armed with gifts. The abyss of his love surrounds Him like a cloak: the Bridegroom! Silence! Silence! Silence! Letter 316, 24 Sept. 1906 The truth of our humanity is revealed only when we encounter the Bridegroom who gives Himself to us. In meeting Him, we discover how to offer ourselves as a gift of love for others and for God. He helps us realize that to make such a gift of self can only be learned from Him - for He not only exemplifies this gift, but enables it, the deeper our faith in Him becomes. Indeed, we must suffer the immensity of His love and overcome our tendency to promote ourselves rather than give ourselves. As long as self-promotion and self-occupation reign within, we lack the freedom to give, to offer our lives for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor. To arrive at the freedom required to offer our lives as something beautiful for God, as a living sacrifice, as a pleasing offering, the Lord must accomplish a great mystery in us. It is a mystery of holiness, a mystery of love. This mystery that God brings about in us also encompasses our own effort too.

This is why Mary is sent, to teach us how to love in the way the Jesus loved. She can do this because she knows in a singular way the particular tenderness of Jesus' love. Indeed, love never rises to anything if it fails to demand all our effort, all our strength, the endurance of hardships, many difficult renunciations, the humble acceptance of our own inadequacies and perseverance through many painful failures. Saint Elizabeth knew that this would be impossible but for the fact that the Lord Himself accomplishes all this and so much more in us - the more we believe in Him. So, she received the gift of the Mother of Mercy - and she wants us to experience how Mary can affirm our faith in the immensity of Mercy too.

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