Elizabeth of Hungary, Princess of Thuringia, Philanthropist, 1231
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains tremble in the heart of the sea? Though the waters rage and swell, and though the mountains quake at the towering seas. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place of the dwelling of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; therefore shall she not be removed; God shall help her at the break of day. The nations are in uproar and the kingdoms are shaken, but God utters his voice and the earth shall melt away. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come and behold the works of the Lord, what destruction he has wrought upon the earth. He makes wars to cease in all the world; he shatters the bow and snaps the spear and burns the chariots in the fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.’
Clap your hands together, all you peoples; O sing to God with shouts of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared; he is the great King over all the earth. He subdued the peoples under us and the nations under our feet. He has chosen our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loves. God has gone up with a merry noise, the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.
O sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill. God reigns over the nations; God has taken his seat upon his holy throne. The nobles of the peoples are gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. For the powers of the earth belong to God and he is very highly exalted.
The Lord sent a word against Jacob, and it fell on Israel; and all the people knew it - Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria— but in pride and arrogance of heart they said:
‘The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.’
So the Lord raised adversaries against them, and stirred up their enemies, the Arameans in the east and the Philistines in the west, and they devoured Israel with open mouth. For all this, his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.
The people did not turn to him who struck them, or seek the Lord of hosts. So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day - elders and dignitaries are the head, and prophets who teach lies are the tail; for those who led this people led them astray, and those who were led by them were left in confusion. That is why the Lord did not have pity on their young people, or compassion on their orphans and widows; for everyone was godless and an evildoer, and every mouth spoke folly. For all this, his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.
For wickedness burned like a fire, consuming briers and thorns; it kindled the thickets of the forest, and they swirled upwards in a column of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land was burned, and the people became like fuel for the fire; no one spared another.
They gorged on the right, but still were hungry, and they devoured on the left, but were not satisfied; they devoured the flesh of their own kindred; Manasseh devoured Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they were against Judah. For all this, his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.
Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth, so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain? For all this, his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.
‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.
‘Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
who taught Elizabeth of Hungary to recognise and reverence Christ in the poor of this world:
by her example strengthen us to love and serve the afflicted and the needy
and so to honour your Son, the servant king, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.