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Made for More

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

First Reading: Revelation 5:1-10

I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne.
It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth
was able to open the scroll or to examine it.
I shed many tears because no one was found worthy
to open the scroll or to examine it.
One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed,
enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne
and the four living creatures and the elders
a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.
He had seven horns and seven eyes;
these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world.
He came and received the scroll from the right hand
of the one who sat on the throne.
When he took it,
the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb.
Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense,
which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll
and break open its seals,
for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.
You made them a kingdom and priests for our God,
and they will reign on earth.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (Rev. 5:10) The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

Gospel: Luke 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

NAB

nov-17

Today is the feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. I didn’t know much about her, so I did some digging and learned she lived many vocations in her short life: wife, mother, widow, and religious sister, but through it all she devoted herself to deep prayer and the care of the sick and destitute.

It made me think about how we define ourselves as women in this day and age. I naturally identify as wife and mother, but sometimes in conversation I reallllly want to throw in the whole Army thing so I can somehow prove that there’s “more” to my story.

“I have skills! Life experiences! I’m more than what you see here!” I want to say.

And don’t we all crave that affirmation? That we are more than meets the eye, that we possess more depth and meaning than our appearance may lend?

What’s more, didn’t God create our souls to reach far deeper and wider than the limited roles by which we so often define ourselves?

You may be wife, widow, separated, single. You may be a physical or spiritual mother. You may be architect, artist, lawyer, linguist, homemaker, healthcare worker, teacher or student. And while important, we are meant to be defined by even more than just these roles. God gives us these worldly roles and titles as a mere part of, a daily contribution to, the whole of our life’s mission as His daughters. It’s not just a role for us to seek recognition or a season to “get through”—it’s that our whole selves, body and soul, and the significance of every season we live, is meant to be ordered toward our ultimate goal: sainthood.

In today’s world, which so often reflects the crumbling Jerusalem of old in today’s Gospel, the modus operandi is to “take control of your destiny,” to present ourselves in accordance with the world’s standards of money, success, and prestige. But Jesus has no place in this model of success, which is so quick to discard the purpose written on our soul, and which ultimately leads to human ruin.

Yet when we accept that true success is rooted in Christ Jesus—when we accept the current role in life He’s assigned us, chosen or not, as a finite season to form us—it lays another brick on the foundation of eternity. It paves the way to our eternal purpose. Like Saint Elizabeth, in different seasons and sometimes even in different roles, we are all still called to that same eternal purpose of sainthood.

It sounds like a tall order to fill, until we remember that’s what God specifically created us for. You and me—we’re His daughters, created to be Saints rejoicing with Him forever in paradise!

Worldly affirmation and success is not always a bad thing. But we would do well to remember that it’s not what defines us to the depths of our being.

Saints in the making—that’s the real “more” written on our souls, the underlying role that gives us true worth, now and into eternity.

What area of our life are you yearning for more? Ask God how you can use this season to spurn you on to Sainthood.

photo credit

Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.

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