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Elizabeth

My Beloved loved me so much that He changed all the rules just in time for me, so that He can come into my soul every single day…

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (Hugues Merle)

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary was a Hungarian princess who was married to the German King Ludwig, and who became Queen of Germany. Together, during the 13th century, Elizabeth and her husband Ludwig (who she loved very much) had three children, one of whom became an abbess in a German convent. Saint Elizabeth died when she was only 24 years old.


During her life – despite being a Queen – Saint Elizabeth managed to live a life of austerity following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi. She focused on caring for the poor and progressing works of charity in the kingdom. Such works included the construction of a hospital that would accommodate a thousand patients each day. Ludwig supported her efforts.


Following Ludwig’s death from illness when she was only twenty years old, Elizabeth decided that she would never remarry and that she would live her life as a nun. Saint Elizabeth took a vow of celibacy and vowed to obey her confessor and spiritual advisor, who treated her very harshly and made strict demands of her behaviour and demands to her comfort.

But it is not the story of this medieval saint that has fascinated me, it is rather, one little fact about her life that I have found intriguing… Saint Elizabeth of Hungary would receive Holy Communion only THREE times each year…

And she did that because it was the practice of her day – and during the Middle Ages, Communication was allowed the least frequently that it has ever been in the history of the Church, with an expectation of annual Communion rather than weekly or daily Communion…


Such infrequent Communion was very common historically. Saint Therese of Lisieux in her autobiography, “Story of a Soul” expressed her JOY in being ALLOWED by her confessor and spiritual advisor to receive Holy Communion every few months. She would wait for the opportunity to receive the Blessed Eucharist…


And I have been reflecting on the changes in the Church around this practice. You see, at the turn of the twentieth century, Pope Pius X made two significant changes in the Church in relation to Holy Communion. The first was to lower the age at which a child to receive Holy Communion for the first time from 14 years old to the age of reason, which is generally understood to be around 7 or 8 years old. And the second change was to allow Catholics to receive communion as frequently as they desired – up to once daily…


And I have been reflecting on the great privilege it is for me to have been born into this time and this place…


You see, my Beloved prepared the world for my feeble little soul – just so that I could Communicate with Him every single day… And that means that every single day I can hold Heaven – God Himself, who is the Creator of all the Universe – inside my feeble little soul…


And that makes me tremble… For my Beloved loved me so much that He changed all the rules just in time for me, so that He can come into my soul every single day… And even Saint Elizabeth of Hungary did not have that privilege!


How much I love my Beloved for that!


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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