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St. Elizabeth

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Feastday: November 5

What we know of St. Elizabeth comes from the Gospel, the book of Luke, in particular. In Luke, Elizabeth, a daughter of the line of Aaron, and the wife of Zacharias, was "righteous before God" and was "blameless" but childless. Elizabeth is also a cousin to the Virgin Mary.

Zachariah, desiring a child, went to pray in the temple and was told by the angel Gabriel, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born." (Luke 1:13-15).

Zachariah was skeptical because both himself and his wife were elderly. For his skepticism, Zachariah was rendered mute until the prophecy had been fulfilled.

Elizabeth became pregnant shortly thereafter and she rejoiced.

Gabriel then visited the Virgin Mary at Nazareth, telling her that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and become the mother of Jesus.

Mary then visited Elizabeth, and her baby leapt in her womb. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth proclaimed to Mary, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" (Luke 1:41-45).

Mary visited with Elizabeth for three months, both women pregnant with child. After Mary returned home, Elizabeth gave birth to a son and named him John. This child was chosen by God to be John the Baptist. John would baptize Christ as an example to all, that all must be reborn of water and spirit.

Although Elizabeth's neighbors assumed the child would be named Zachariah, her husband insisted that John be his name. This astonished the neighbors for there were no men named John in Elizabeth's family, but Zachariah's insistence ended the debate. At the moment Zachariah insisted that they obey the will of God, and name him John, his speech returned.

After this, there is no more mention in the Bible about Elizabeth.

There are mentions of Elizabeth in the apocryphal works, but these are not within the cannon of the Bible. In the Apocrypha, it mentions that her husband, Zachariah, was murdered in the temple.

St. Elizabeth's feast day is celebrated on November 5.


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