St. Elizabeth couldn't bear to wear a crown when in the presence of the King of kings.
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St. Elizabeth of Hungary was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, and though her role provided her much comfort and power over people, she knew the true source of her leadership.
Pope Benedict XVI reflected on St. Elizabeth’s life in a general audience in 2010, where he highlighted the humility of this royal princess.
With her profound sensitivity, Elizabeth saw the contradictions between the faith professed and Christian practice. She could not bear compromise. Once, on entering a church on the Feast of the Assumption, she took off her crown, laid it before the Crucifix and, covering her face, lay prostrate on the ground. When her mother-in-law reprimanded her for this gesture, Elizabeth answered: “How can I, a wretched creature, continue to wear a crown of earthly dignity, when I see my King Jesus Christ crowned with thorns?”
St. Elizabeth spent her life in the service of others, imitating Jesus, the King of kings. She did not seek to abuse her power, but to use it for the advantage of the poor and most vulnerable.
She is a true example for all who have roles of leadership: the exercise of authority, at every level, must be lived as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good.
Elizabeth diligently practiced works of mercy: she would give food and drink to those who knocked at her door, she procured clothing, paid debts, cared for the sick and buried the dead. Coming down from her castle, she often visited the homes of the poor with her ladies-in-waiting, bringing them bread, meat, flour and other food. She distributed the food personally and attentively checked the clothing and mattresses of the poor.
Her example of profound humility as a royal princess reminds us of how we can honor Jesus as King in our own lives, imitating his example and using our own resources for the good of all.