Reflection for Friday, November 17, 2006: 32nd week in Ordinary Time.

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Furlong, Beth
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Today is the Memorial Day for St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Rather than write on the Scripture Readings of today, I'm going to take the personal privilege of reflecting on St. Elizabeth for three reasons - 1) I share her name, 2) I learned some about her when I was in Hungary last Spring, and, 3) I share her interest in health care and decreasing poverty.||For the short 25 years that St. Elizabeth lived, she left an important legacy in Hungary because of her behaviors of helping others. She was born in 1207 and died in 1231. She was the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary and the wife of Prince Louis of Thuringa. She had great concern for poor and vulnerable populations. She built two hospitals and was very generous with the poor - eventually, giving up all her possessions. She was canonized four years after her death.||As I have read articles about her, I am struck by how she was "living out" Catholic Social Teaching - long before that modern-day language became common. In changing the health care system of that day in her geographic area (by building two hospitals and initiating access to health care), I can only marvel at what one woman did. Fast forward to 2006 - we do have the global financial health initiatives of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. But, I can not think of any other individual woman or man with the financial means who has made such a personal financial sacrifice as she did. In our time, what individual woman or man has built a hospital with one's own wealth? All the literature I read reflect how generous she was with her possessions to help the poor. In this, the 21st century, when so many individuals do not have access to health care - what a lesson she provides for us! ||The majority of us do not have that kind of personal wealth to distribute. So what do we do? I value the importance of helping the poor by what is referred to as "the two-foot model." "One foot" is service or charity on our part and "one foot" is being involved in some type of system change that ensures justice. Charity can be donating our time, money, and energy in a multitude of ways that helps the poor directly. Working for system changes that move us toward a more just world can also take a variety of forms. The answer to this question - "what do we do? - varies with each of us - depending on our individual lives.|What will you do to be more like St. Elizabeth?
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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