Elizabeth of Hungary

18 November -- Lesser Festival -- of any Saint -- White

Elizabeth was born in 1207, the daughter of a king of Hungary, and was given in marriage to Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia, with whom she had three children. Theirs was a happy, if short, marriage but her husband of four years died of the plague. Elizabeth was driven from the court and she settled in Marburg. There she had a confessor, Conrad of Marburg, whose domineering and almost sadistic ways exemplified one who had himself been a successful inquisitor of heretics. She suffered mental and physical abuse from him, in the name of religious austerity, but bore it all humbly. Elizabeth became a member of the Franciscan Third Order, which reflected her life of caring for the poor, even cooking and cleaning for them. Due to the severe regime under which she lived, her weakened body gave way under the pressure and she died on this day, just twenty-four years old, in the year 1231.


Lord God,
who taught Elizabeth of Hungary
   to recognise and reverence Christ in the poor of this world:
by her example
strengthen us to love and serve the afflicted and the needy
and so to honour your Son, the servant King,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the Book of Tobit.

Bless God and acknowledge him in the presence of all the living for the good things he has done for you. Bless and sing praise to his name. With fitting honour declare to all people the deeds of God. Do not be slow to acknowledge him. It is good to conceal the secret of a king, but to acknowledge and reveal the works of God, and with fitting honour to acknowledge him. Do good and evil will not overtake you. Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life.

This is the word of the Lord.         Tobit 12. 6b-9

Responsorial Psalm

RArise, O God, and rule the earth,
[for you shall take all nations for your own].
God takes his stand in the council of heaven;
he gives judgement in the midst of the gods:
"How long will you judge unjustly,
and show favour to the wicked? R

"Save the weak and the orphan;
defend the humble and needy;
rescue the weak and the poor;
deliver them from the power of the wicked. R

"They do not know, neither do they understand;
they go about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken. R

"Now I say to you, 'You are gods,
and all of you children of the Most High;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince.'" R         Psalm 82

A reading from the Letter of James.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

This is the word of the Lord.         James 2. 14-17

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'

"Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 25. 31-46

Post Communion

Faithful God,
who called your servant Elizabeth to serve you
and gave her joy in walking the path of holiness:
by this eucharist
   in which you renew within us the vision of your glory,
strengthen us all to follow the way of perfection
until we come to see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.