Monday, July 04, 2005

On the Same Day as the 4th

Having always felt bad for St Elizabeth of Portugal, whose feast falls on the same day as the American fireworks display, I decided to look her up.

And what an amazing woman! Daughter of royalty, wife of a king, mother of kings, she made peace. Quite truly, she made peace. She reconciled warring factions, warring relatives, even warring armies. She made peace.

How did she do this? She must have presented a formidable front or argued with a mighty wit, so one would think, a veritable Katherine Hepburn sort. I don't know: but I did read this--that she prayed, that she lived the evangelical call in her royal life, that she lived as a Franciscan tertiary after her husband's death, that she devoted her generosity to the poor and even to her husband's illegitimate children. Living a life in response to Jesus' call--that was her strength.

As one hagiographer writes, "Her birth had been peace, her work had been peace, and for peace she gave her life."

So truly, hers is a Feast fitting for the Fourth, for us. Today, no less than in the 13th,14th century in Portugal. And Peace--the Peace that comes from the King of Peace--is our calling too.

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