Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Priority of the Poor and the Vulnerable

Today is the feast of St.Elizabeth of Hungary, the 13th century Hungarian queen, who with her German husband Ludwig, ruled over the kingdom of Thuringia.  During her brief life (she died at age 24) she was notable for her constant conern for the poor and the sick (she also gave birth to three children, lost her husband to the plague and became a Third Order Franciscan.).

But it was the personal priority that she gave to the poor and those who were hungry or sick that made her life so exemplary and so Christ-like.  She established hospitals and shelters for the indigent, selling her jewels and sumptuous clothing to provide the sick with food and medicine.  But she wasn' t just a benefactor at a distance.  Rather, she tended the sick and fed the hungry herself, daily, when she was able, with her own hands.  

Depicted in this relief print is one incident from her married life, when she shared her bed with a patient she was caring for who suffered from leprosy. Her husband was (understandably) alarmed to discover a leper in their room and in their bed.   He was quite upset with her until he had a vision, in which he saw his wife caring for Jesus himself.  

In this year grace, 2016, and as we move forward, it is the poor, in all of their distressing, frightening or seemingly hopeless circumstances, who must be the priority for Christians and people of good will.  Seeing our neighbors, even those we, in our frailty and weakness, resent and fear, as the beloved sons and daughters of our God, who is the loving, merciful and compassionate Father of us all.  

St.Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!

1 comment:

  1. I am alive today because of Elizabeth and the roses that she planted...