Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

July 4 | True Freedom

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal

A.D. 1271–1336

What is true freedom?

It is a fitting question on this day when we celebrate the independence of the United States of America, which has long been hailed as “the land of the free.”

The sad truth is, at this moment in history, gratification seems to be the master of most people’s hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. We find ourselves enslaved and imprisoned by a thousand different whims, cravings, addictions, and attachments. We have subscribed to the adolescent notion that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, without interference from any authority. Could the insanity of our modern philosophy be any more apparent?

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the strength of character to do what is good, true, noble, and right. Freedom is the ability to choose and celebrate the-best-version-of-yourself in every moment.

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal possessed true freedom, even in very difficult circumstances. And that freedom had transforming power.

Elizabeth was born in medieval Portugal and married off to King Denis at the age of 17 (though the marriage had been arranged when she was only 10 years old). She was confronted with his adultery almost immediately. Instead of giving in to resentment, she became a model of Christian faith for her husband and all those around her. She constantly strived for healing in her family, showing love not only to her children but also to her husband's illegitimate offspring. She prayed constantly for her husband to find the discipline and strength to be faithful.

Eventually, Denis repented and turned back to God. Once enslaved by his desires, Elizabeth had helped him become truly free.

Ultimately, freedom is not the core experience of life. No. Love is the essence of life. But in order to love, you must be free, for to love is to give yourself to someone or something freely, completely, unconditionally, and without reservation. To do that, you must first possess yourself. This possession of self is freedom and it is a prerequisite for love.

On this Independence Day, as we celebrate the freedom won for us, take a moment to reflect on freedom in your own life. Do you possess yourself fully? What is holding you back from being truly free? 

Whatever it is, it’s time to put it aside and embrace the freedom you were made for.


I will embrace the freedom I was made for.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Feast Day: July 4

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Ulrich

Patron Saint of: Widows, Brides, Charity Workers, The Falsely Accused, and Victims of Adultery

Symbols: An Olive Branch

Canonized: June 24, 1625

Canonized By: Pope Urban VIII

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