As we enter the darkness of the Holy Triduum, looking with hope to Easter, the example of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton shows us how to yield our lives to Christ, the Crucified One, that we might live.
The rituals of Holy Week evolved over millennia to help us enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. Through her own experiences of suffering and joy, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s life was a mirror of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.
Mother Seton’s extraordinary legacy of doing good in the world contradicts the story told by our secular culture, which says that children are an obstacle to women’s achievement.
God doesn’t want a casual relationship. He wants us to turn to him in everything we do. As St. Elizabeth Ann Seton says: “He wants us to lift our hearts to him. Always.” And Lent is a perfect time to practice giving Him all of ourselves, the way He gave himself to us.
A few weeks after her conversion, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton celebrated the Annunciation by receiving Holy Communion for the first time. Thereafter, even in moments of poverty, loss and death, Elizabeth would follow Mary’s example with grace, courage, and a mission to serve others.
St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton teach us that God won’t make troubles go away, but he will protect us in the midst of them. They both found strength by responding to God’s call, even when it meant leaving everything behind.
If we really understood Lent, we would be as enthralled with Ash Wednesday as Mother Seton was. It is through our Lenten journey inward into “the great empty” that we encounter God and meet our authentic selves.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton found in Sacred Scripture a path to God. Her life embodied what the Second Vatican Council called the “force and power in the word of God” that becomes the “support and energy of the Church.”
St. Peter is honored because despite his weaknesses, he loved and followed Jesus, and became the first pope. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton also chose a difficult path, when she answered God’s call, and entered the Catholic Church. Like St. Peter, Mother Seton’s humility became her greatest glory.