Blessed Louis of Thuringia
This German prince lived during the last part of the twelfth and first part of the thirteenth centuries. He married St. Elizabeth of Hungary when he was twenty-one and she was just fourteen. The marriage had been arranged by their parents. This was the custom. But they both loved God, and he gave them great love for each other. So it was that they were very happy together. Their joy increased when God sent them their three children. The youngest was Blessed Gertrude.
Louis helped his wife in her many works of charity for the poor. He also joined her in devout prayer. Time after time, the people saw their handsome prince and his lovely wife helping the poor. It is said that once Elizabeth brought a leper into their castle and nursed him in their bed. For a moment, when Louis saw that, he was angry. Then, suddenly, instead of the leper, he saw our crucified Lord lying there. After that proof of how much Jesus appreciated Elizabeth's charity, Louis had a hospital for lepers built.
One long, bitter cold winter, Louis had to be away from his land. When he returned, Elizabeth was overjoyed. The next year Louis left on a Crusade to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. But on the way, he caught malaria, and soon was dying.
Because he had always lived in close union with Jesus, the brave ruler felt no fear of death. He received the Last Sacraments and died peacefully in 1227.
Reflection: "Let us pray today for married couples, that their love for each other will help them grow in personal holiness.