I read a short bio on this young woman, St. Elisabeth of Hungary while we were on our beach holiday last week. It is such a cliche to say her life struck me, but it actually did. She was a wealthy girl living in an opulent world. As a young woman she was married and gave birth to three children while her husband was continually out on military campaigns. During her short life she fed the poor and cared for the desperately sick. She was widowed and forced to be separated from her children. She spent her last days living in complete poverty subject to her own personal persecutor. She gave up everything in life to serve those around her and endured cruelty to do so. "Her life ended," as one person put it, "when most lives are beginning." She was only 24.
From the outside her life looks like nothing but a tragedy, but the hard facts of Elisabeth of Hungary's life belie the heart of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. History has tried to explain her and label her, but the explanation can only be found in Christ and His unfathomable love and the label may read something more like "pure in heart" rather than a watered down definition of saint. A young girl called out of a secular court by the Voice of her Father to bring His love to her poor and sick and dying subjects. It is not really the story of Elisabeth, it is the story of her Savior and how He brought her through the valley of the shadow and into His glorious light.