19 November 2009

Commemoration of Elizabeth of Hungary

From our Synod's website (and the Treasury of Daily Prayer):

Born in Pressburg, Hungary, in 1207, Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II and his wife Gertrude. Given as a bride in an arranged political marriage, Elizabeth became the wife of Louis of Thuringia in Germany at the age of 14. She had a spirit of Christian generosity and charity, and the home she established for her husband and three children in the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach was known for its hospitality and family love. Elizabeth often supervised the care of the sick and needy and even gave up her bed to a leper at one time. Widowed at the age of 20, she made provisions for her children and entered into an austere life as a nun in the Order of Saint Francis. Her self-denial led to failing health and an early death in 1231 at the age of 24. Remembered for her self-sacrificing ways, Elizabeth is commemorated through the many hospitals named for her around the world.

The Treasury offers a beautiful prayer for the day, asking "Mighty King, whose inheritance is not of this world, inspire in us the humility and benevolent charity of Elizabeth of Hungary." (p. 929) She is a shining light for Christ's people, pointing the way to live welcoming every person as Christ, and every need and suffering as His own.

The Writing for today (from Dr. Luther) captures her spirit: "But if anyone earnestly believed that he is receiving the Lord Himself when he receives a poor brother, there would be no need for such anxious, zealous, and soliticous exhortations to do works of love...together with godly Abraham we would run to meet the wretched people, invite them into our homes, seize upon this honor and distinction ahead of others and say: 'O Lord Jesus, come to me; enjoy my bread, wine, silver and gold. How well it is has been invested by me when I invest it in You!'" (p. 928)


Rev. James Leistico said...

before I read the biography, I thought Luther's writing was intended for those who wished they had the opportunity to care for the body of our Lord in death, as Joseph of Arimathea [and Nicodemus] did.

Susan said...

What am I not understanding here?

She had 3 children under the age of 5 or 6, and she left her calling as their mother to take care of other people. And this is a praiseworthy thing? I'm confused.

Maria said...

Wartburg castle has some lovely mosaics from the 19th century detailing her life.

Rev. James Leistico said...

Susan, I struggle a bit with that too. The two things I came up with were that first, she did make arrangements for the care of her children (which served them well, since she died only a short time later); and second, she didn't have Luther to teach her the holiness of motherhood's vocation.