Each year Angela, at Where Angels Blog, has a patron saints drawing. She prayerfully draws the name of a saint for anyone who requests one. This is the fourth year that I have received the name of my patron saint from Angela.
My patron saint for 2011 is St. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.
The story of Elizabeth is beautiful. Here's my condensed version of the story from Luke.
Descended from the line of Aaron, Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary, Mother of Jesus. She and her husband Zachary were righteous and just before God, “walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.” But they had not been granted the desire of their hearts, to have a son, “and they were both well advanced in years.” Barrenness in those days was looked upon as a sign of reproach from God.
Zachary was fulfilling his priestly duties in the temple one day when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. Gabriel told Zachary that he and Elizabeth would have a son, to be named John, who would be great before God, converting many to the Lord and going before Him with the spirit and power of Elias. Zachary told the angel that he and his wife were too old to have a child, and because he did not believe he was struck dumb, unable to speak until after John was born.
After Zachary's time in the temple, Elizabeth did conceive and hid herself away for five months. At the sixth month, Gabriel announced to Mary in Nazareth that she would be the mother of Jesus, and he told her that Elizabeth was also with child. Mary hurried to the hill country of Juda to be with Elizabeth and share the wonderful news.
When Mary arrived at Elizabeth's house and greeted her, the baby John jumped in Elizabeth's womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. She exclaimed in a loud voice, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the lord.”
Mary responded with the beautiful words that we know today as the Magnificat. She stayed with Elizabeth for about three months before returning to Nazareth.
When John was born, all the friends and relatives congratulated Zachary and Elizabeth. On the eighth day when they came to circumcise John, they called him by his father's name, Zachary. And Elizabeth told them no, that his name would be John. They said that no one in the family had ever been called John before, and they went to Zachary and asked him what he wanted the baby boy to be called. Zachary took a tablet and wrote on it, “John is his name.” And immediately he was able to speak again, blessing God. The people wondered about the future of this baby, whose birth was so obviously the work of God. And Zachary was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, speaking the words that we pray each morning in the Divine Office, the Canticle of Zechariah.
And Elizabeth's baby boy, John “... grew, and was strengthened in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”
I am delighted to have St. Elizabeth as my patron saint for next year. I have a very special intention that I will ask her to pray for every day. Thank you, Angela!