I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God, and God is in my soul. — Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last time, we talked about the Trinity coming to dwell in our hearts. This month, we'll explore that idea a little further and use the classical term for that indwelling: sanctifying grace.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sanctifying grace for us, saying:
Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of His life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us (2023-2024).
Sanctifying grace is the life of God in the soul. Savor that teaching. We share in the eternal life of God by His grace. But remember what Jesus said:
I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (Jn 14:6).
So when the life of God is in our souls, the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity are in our souls. The life of God and God Himself cannot be separated. Our hearts become heaven — the house of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit. When we are in the state of grace, our hearts are the Holy of Holies.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a young French Carmelite who died in 1906, felt the truth of the divine indwelling profoundly. Shortly after she received her First Communion at the age of 11, Blessed Elizabeth was informed by the prioress of a Carmelite monastery (which Elizabeth would one day enter) that her name meant "House of God." Elizabeth certainly took it to heart! She was deeply aware of the Trinity within her soul. While in Carmel, she wrote an Act of Oblation, saying in part, "O my Three, my all, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness."
Since sanctifying grace is God dwelling within us and sharing His life and love with us, it makes sense that sanctifying grace in the soul is the goal of all other graces given by God. Every gift and blessing that comes from Him is meant to save us and make us holy, to open wide our hearts to welcome Him home and allow Him to give us eternal life. It's by His indwelling presence, by sanctifying grace in the soul, that we are brought to life again, into the new and everlasting life that we receive through Jesus and His Sacraments.
For this, we were created — to be "sons in the Son," to share in the life and love of God. Next time, we'll talk about the effects of original sin and how Adam and Eve's fall disrupted God's intention to make us all sons in the Son from the very beginning.
For more, see Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's The 'One Thing' Is Three (Product Code: TH-ONE) Point One: Communion with the Trinity, pages 27-49. To order, visit shopmercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426.
"O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in You, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into Your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and the place of Your rest. May I never abandon You there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to Your creative action" (Prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, CCC, 260).
Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart
Mary Pondered in Her Heart
The Heart of The Matter
Temples of the Holy Spirit
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
Confession Resurrects You
Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
Through Darkness Into Light
Mary, Mother of Christians
Salt. Light. Hope.