Thomas A. Droleskey
"Priests, my Son's ministers, priests, by their evil life, by their irreverences and their impiety in celebrating the holy mysteries, love of money, love of honor and pleasures, priests have become sewers of impurity. Yes, priests call forth vengeance, and vengeance is suspended over their heads. Woe to priests, and to persons consecrated to God, who by their infidelities and their evil life are crucifying my Son anew! The sins of persons consecrated to God cry to heaven and call for vengeance, and now here is vengeance at their very doors, for no longer is anyone found to beg mercy and pardon for the people; there are no more generous souls, there is now no one worthy of offering the spotless Victim to the Eternal on the worlds behalf.
"God will strike in an unparalleled manner. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His anger, and no one will be able to escape so many evils at once. The heads, the leaders of the people of God, have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has darkened their minds; they have become those wandering stars which the ancient devil will drag with his tail to destruction. God will permit the ancient serpent to sow divisions among rulers, in all societies and in all families; both physical and moral punishments will be suffered. God will abandon men to themselves and will send chastisements one after the other for over 35 years.
"Society is on the very eve of most terrible scourges and greatest events; one must expect to be governed by a rod of iron and to drink the chalice of God's wrath. (The Message of Our Lady of La Salette.)
The era of apostasy and betrayal in which we live has indeed sown divisions all across the vast expanse of the ecclesiastical divide, especially in our families. There is hardly a family in the Church today that has not been riven by the events of the past fifty years. A state of "cold war" exists in so many families over the most important matter in their lives: the salvation of their immortal souls as members of the Catholic Church. Husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters are estranged from each other as the adversary seeks to embitter hearts in the midst of his advances in the popular culture and within the counterfeit church of conciliarism itself.
These family divisions exist even in families who are immersed in all things conciliar, including their "full, active and conscious" participation in the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service. A wife, for instances, might see, at least in shadow form, "problems" with the Novus Ordo while her husband does not, considering that any discussion of "problems" is a sign of "disloyalty" to the "pope" and to the Church. A husband might want to enforce standards of modesty within his household, only to find that his wife has received carte blanche from their local conciliar "pastor" to dress herself and her children as she pleases. Some other wife, fearful of the curriculum found in their local conciliar schools, might want to home school her children while encountering deep resistance from her husband. Other families in the conciliar structures are torn apart on matters of whether to watch television at all, no less the offensive programming that is broadcast around the clock each day, and whether to consider "rock music" evil, finding little comfort and support from their local "pastors," especially when "youth" "Masses" feature "rock music" and immodesty.
Some families are riven over the most basic issues of the Faith: Who is God? Why should I obey Him? Why are His Commandments unchanging? Why should I believe that there is one, true Church? What can't I dress as I want and watch what I want on television at at the movies? Why don't all people go to Heaven no matter what they believe or how they behave? Why do I have to pray to Mary when I can go "straight" to Jesus Himself? Who says there is a Purgatory? What's the big deal about shopping on Sunday? Why can't women be priests? Why can't I limit the number of children I want to have? Who says women can't wear pants and short skirts and sleeveless blouses? Why can't men walk around shirtless or sleeveless themselves?
Such has been the triumph of the conciliar revolution that large numbers of baptized Catholics get married even as they have been denied a true understanding and love of the Holy Faith, leading to untold amounts of grief in the future in the event that one spouse actually grows in the Faith and wants his family's life to revolve around It so that each family member can strive for sanctity and be in Heaven for all eternity. All manner of "mixed marriages" exist even between baptized Catholics as one spouse's belief in and commitment to the Faith varies from the other spouse's. A desire to grow in sanctity on the part of one spouse can clash with the other spouse's desire to be worldly and to be accepted as "normal" by others who are equally worldly.
This is a problem that exists across the ecclesiastical divide, but it is heightened considerably when one spouse embraces the Immemorial Mass of Tradition while the other "prefers" the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service, no less when one spouse comes to understand that the Catholic Church cannot be responsible for the novelties and abominations and sacrileges and blasphemies of the past fifty years while the other spouse thinks that such a conclusion is a sign of "mental illness." Hard feelings are sometimes engendered. Battle lines are drawn. Phone calls are made to relatives and friends to convince the "wacko" spouse who is committed to that "old Mass" and/or who believes that the "pope" is not the pope that he is wrong and in need of psychological, if not psychiatric, assistance. Imagine being "different from others, especially when somewhere around 99.99% of people completely reject any semblance of a view that the "Vatican," of all places, is wrong about the "new" "Mass" and false ecumenism and religious liberty and separation of Church and State?
The battles that have been and continue to be fought within families as a result of the loss of the Faith are tragic. Children are sometimes told that their father or their mother (whichever the case might be) is in need of "help" because he or she has been inspired by Our Lady's graces to quit the ways of the world and to grow in sanctity. People who have studied nothing of First and Last Things and who have a contempt for the glories of the lives of the saints consider themselves "expert" about the Faith, being reaffirmed these days in their utter ignorance by men masquerading as "bishops" and "priests" in the conciliar structures. What? Embrace a life of Holy Poverty? Renounce the acquisition of more material goods? Vacation only where one can find a true offering of the Mass at the hands of a true bishop or a true priest who makes no concessions to conciliarism? Throw out the television? Don't participate in the devil's holiday on October 31? Don't participate in "holiday" parties during Advent? What? Be different from the rest of the world? Why, why, this is, this is, this is crazy, isn't it?
Being "misunderstood" by one's closest relatives is certainly a difficult cross. So what? Nothing we suffer in this passing, mortal vale of tears is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer during His Passion and Death as those Seven Swords of Sorrow were plunged into His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Rejected, misunderstood? So what? Everything gets revealed on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. The intentions of all hearts and the circumstances of each life will be revealed then. While we pray for those who we believe have misunderstood us in this life and those who might even have rejected us, we may have to wait, barring Divine intervention in many cases, until the Last Day for a reconciliation with those from whom we have become estranged as a result the events of our current circumstances in the Church and the world.
For those who are suffering at the hands of family members because of their embrace of the Faith and/or because of their having come to see the truth of our ecclesiastical situation, the great and wonderful and humble saint we commemorate today, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the earliest followers of Saint Francis of Assisi, should be embraced as a model and intercessor par excellence. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who was married at the age of fourteen to her husband, Louis of Thuringia, was misunderstood by most of those who lived in Wartburg Castle. Saint Elizabeth was held in particular disdain by her brothers-in-law during her husband's life because of what was considered to be her "eccentric" habit of giving away everything that she had to the poor. These same brothers-in-law drove her out of the castle entirely after Louis, known in the German language as Ludwig, and then spoke against her to the very poor people who she had assisted so generously when her husband was alive.
Consider this passage from Blanche Jennings Thompson's magnificent Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns:
It was the third hard winter in village and castle. The weather was bitter cold, food was scarce, and tempers short in the Wartburg. Henry and Conrad [Louis's brothers] meant very well, but they did not understand Elizabeth. Without Louis to protect her, they treated her with little respect. Henry scolded and Conrad sneered. To them she was just queer and unreasonable. She made everybody uncomfortable, they said. Nobody likes to have his conscience prodding him constantly, and that was the effect that Elizabeth seemed to have on other people.
Landgravine Sophie [Louis's mother] stayed at the castle and tried to defend Elizabeth. there was now a strong bond between them. They had both loved Louis deeply. But, in spite of Sophie's sympathy, Elizabeth was ill-treated in the castle. It is hard to say whether or not Henry and Conrad deliberately turned people against her, but they certainly did nothing to protect her. Guda and Ysentrud shuddered at the cruel talk they heard again, just as in the olden days when Elizabeth was the little strange princess from Hungary. Even then she disturbed the ladies of the court by being "too pious," "too religious," or by "trying to act holy."
Down in the village the people whispered what they had heard from the servants in the castle.
"She wasted all the landgrave's money--gave it to undeserving beggars."
"Yes, and remember how she gave away the precious grain right and left? She should never have been trusted with money."
"It is a good thing that Prince Henry knows how to be firm with her. He has put strong locks on the granaries and gives her no money at all. Louis was always too lenient."
The minds of the people were poisoned against Elizabeth. The very ones whom she had nursed and cared for turned against her now.
One dark, cold night she suddenly made up her mind. She walked down the icy path to the village, leaning on cane for safety's sake. She planned to find some place for herself and the children to live. There were lights in several houses, and she tried one after another.
"Who is there?"
"The landgravine, May I come in?"
Silence. No one would open. At last a tavern-keeper took pity on her and let her stay in an old tool shed.
"I will drive out the pigs, my lady," he said, so that you can sleep."
Some old work clothes hung on a hook. These he put on a bench and over her knees and left her. There she sat in the cold until dawn. Then she heard the Mass bell from the Franciscan church.
The friars were chanting their morning prayers when they saw in the half darkness the figure of the landgravine. She walked toward the altar, surrounded by the light of their candles as by a glory, and began in a clear voice to sing the Te Deum. After a startled moment the friars joined her. She was welcome in the House of God.
Elizabeth had always wanted to give up everything and be a beggar like Brother Francis [of Assisi]. This was her change Guda and Ysentrud [her loyal attendants] brought the children down to her, and she took them with her as she begged from house to house. But door after door was shut in her face. The royal princess, Elizabeth of Hungary, Landgravine of Thuringia, accompanied by the royal children, were turned away by her subjects. Guda and Ysentrud wept bitterly.
A poor priest gave them shelter and a bed of straw, but orders came from the castle that they must all move immediately to the home of a certain nobleman who was an especial enemy of Elizabeth. Unwilling to offend Henry, he did give them a small dark room, but refused food, heat, or any other comfort. The next day Elizabeth took her little family back to the friendly tavernkeeper's shed. Before she left, she touched the walls of the room as she used to as a child in the Wartburg Castle.
"Thank you, kind walls," she said, "for sheltering us against the weather as well as you could. I should like to thank you master, but I have nothing to thank him for."
Of course Elizabeth could not keep the children with her in the kind of life she was leading. She had to send them to trusted friends of their father--at least for a time. She herself continued to live in the shed, supporting herself by spinning and weaving. Something deep in her heart had made her turn from the medieval idea of servant and master. Long, long before the rest of the world would accept the doctrine of brotherhood, she, like St. Francis, believed in the equality of men. She preferred poverty to luxury made possible by the misery and labor of serfs and slaves. In spite of her sufferings, she was happy to be like Christ. [Blanche Jennings Thompson, Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns, Vision Books: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1958, pp. 150-153.]
Yes, many even in a Catholic world at the beginning of the Thirteenth Century thought that anyone who took the Faith too seriously and saw the very image of the suffering Christ in the faces of the poor was just a little "nuts," a little "crazy" in the head. What? Pray a lot before the Blessed Sacrament? Practice severe mortifications? That's just not quite right, huh? "Normal" people don't do such things. Ah, may we all be as crazy as Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and suffer much from those around us for being so! Such is the path to sanctity by dying to self and disordered self-love.
Saint Elizabeth forgave her persecutors, her own brothers-in-law. She forgave the poor people whom she served so generously when she was their queen. Imbued with the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, who said "Deo Gratias!" whenever he was spat upon or beaten up by thieves or insulted by worldly Catholics, Saint Elizabeth never harbored grudges. She willed the good of those who insulted her, those who calumniated her, those who subject her to homelessness and a life, if for a time, of begging from door to door. She imitated her Divine Redeemer, who forgave and made excuses for His executioners, namely, each one of us by means of our sins, as He hung on the gibbet of the Holy Cross. We can do no less. We must will the eternal good of all men, especially those of our own households who may, for one reason or another, hold us in the same contempt with which Saint Elizabeth of Hungary was held by her brothers-in-law (and by her mother-in-law before she had a change of heart over the years) and her fellow countrymen who had benefited so much from her selfless acts of generosity in their behalf.
Our Lady of La Salette predicted that families would be torn apart. As noted before, we must pray for a happy reconciliation in eternity with all of those from whom we are estranged in this life. Nothing matters save that we save our immortal souls as members of the Catholic Church who die in states of Sanctifying Grace. No amount of misunderstand, ridicule, ostracism, rejection, humiliation or other injustices at the hands of others matter at all. Our sins did far worse to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His Most Blessed Mother. We must accept the sufferings of the present moment with joy and with gratitude, always remembering friend and regrettable foe in the Memento for the Living in the Canon of the Mass and remembering those who have died in the Memento for the Dead in the Canon.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who was indeed an exemplar of the Social Reign of Christ the King (and suffered for it in her own castle!), can help reunite divided families in eternity, if not before, if we turn to her Heavenly intercession.
We would do well today to pray a Rosary in her honor as we ask the Queen of the Friars Minor, Our Lady herself, to exhibit the love of the Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son that was exhibited so perfectly by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who now rests in the abode of that same Sacred Heart as she, Saint Elizabeth, gives praise to the Heart out of which It was formed, the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Lady of the Rosary, us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pontianus, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints