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Keep Calm & Carry On Blessed Elizabeth Style

alec vanderboom

Context: Elizabeth wrote this letter to a 14 year old friend who had trouble keeping her temper-but whenever I read it I feel like she wrote it just for me!

"Yes, my darling, I am praying for you and I keep you in my soul quite close to God, in that litter inner sanctuary where I find Him at every hour of the day and night. I'm never alone; my Christ is always there praying in me, and I pray with Him. You grieve me, my Framboise; I can well see that you're unhappy and I assure you it's your own fault. Be at peace. I don't believe you're crazy, just nervous and overexcited, and when you're like that, you make others suffer too. Ah, if I could teach you the secret of happiness as God has taught it to me. You say I don't have any worries or sufferings; it's true that I'm very happy, but if you only knew what a person can be just as happy even when she is crossed. We must always keep our eyes on God. In the beginning it's necessary to make an effort when we're just boiling inside, but quite gently, with patience and God's help, we get there in the end.

You must build a little cell within your soul as I do. Remember that God is there and enter it from time to time; when you feel nervous or you're unhappy, quickly seek refuge there and tell the Master all about it. Ah, if you got to know Him a little, prayer won't bore you any more; to me it seems to be rest, relaxation. We come quite simply to the One we love, stay close to Him like a little child in the arms of his mother, and we let our heart go. You used to love sitting very close to me and telling me your secrets; that is just how you must [go] to Him; if only you knew how well He understands... You wouldn't suffer any more if you understood that." (L. 123)

(Note: a large "Keep Calm and Carry On" sign posted on the office door of the director of Mount St. Mary's seminary where I had my July retreat. I LOVED it. What a slogan for future priests and for all mothers!)