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:: Monday, July 05, 2004 ::

St. Elizabeth the New Martyr

Today is the feast day of Grand Duchess St. Elizabeth the New Martyr.

I've always appreciated her story because she had a holistic understanding of the spiritual life. "All of her spiritual qualities were strictly balanced, one against another, never giving an impression of one-sidedness."

One account of her life noted that "she always appeared before people with a bright, smiling face. Only when she was alone or with a few close people, her face and especially her eyes reflected hidden sorrow; the mark of a great soul languishing in this world."

We call this "bright sadness"--the noetic vision of human life that takes seriously the sin of the heart and because of this, is the path to true repentance and newness of life. St. John Climacus said that "repentance is the daughter of hope and the denial of despair." Later, in his classic book "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" he promises that "if you put on the blessed and graced-filled mourning as a wedding robe, you will know the spiritual laughter of the soul."

The life of St. Elizabeth proves this to be true. When we are so often surrounded by frivolity let us run toward authentic joy...and thus accept gladly our sufferings.

In the midst of worldliness,
thy mournful heart dwelt in Heaven;
in barbaric godlessness,
Your valiant soul was not troubled;
You longed to meet your Bridegroom
as a confessor,
and He found you worthy of your martyric purpose.
O Elizabeth, with Barbara,
Your brave companion,
Pray to your Bridegroom for us.

:: Karl :: 8:47:00 AM [Link] ::

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