Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Elizabeth, a princess in Hungary, was married at the age of fourteen to Louis IV of Thuringia, a German state. Both rulers were kind and saintly.
Elizabeth used her considerable royal resources to help the poor and hungry. She met them outside the walls of the palace, even building a small hospital there to care for the sick among them.
But there was some controversy within the castle, questioning her charity as a depletion of the governmental treasures.
Once, on a charitable journey, Elizabeth met her husband traveling with a band of such questioners. She carried baskets of bread to the poor, covered with her traveling cloaks. They demanded she reveal her cargo at which the bread is said to have been miraculously transformed into roses.
(St Elizabeth of Hungary with her crown and apron full of flowers. Blois château, France. One of a series of female saints in the Oratory (once the queen’s private chapel). Designed by Michel Dumas in 1858, the windows were painted by Claude Lavergne in 1859.)
As indicated by Pope Benedict XVI, Elizabeth is part of that long line of holy ones, whose relationship with Jesus moved them to justice and mercy for all people.
Praying with Elizabeth today, asking for insight on how to be loving and charitable in today’s world, one might consider this:
- What would it be like to greet our border refugees with baskets of bread rather than barbed wire?
- What would it be like if we built rose hedges rather than walls?
The caravan of refugees seeking asylum at our border mirrors many similar marchers throughout history, searching for a measure of equality and a livable life.
The music for today, aptly titled “Bread and Roses”, originated in the early 1900s, as women marched for improved working conditions and the right to vote.
Music: Bread and Roses