Manifestation and Expression of this Love for God
Even when she was very young, she felt a pleasant joy in saying again and again to God: “I want to love You, I will love You, I want to long only for Your will. Won’t You grant me the grace to love You, dear God, to love only You and to always and in everything do Your holy will?” She also felt the growing desire to “become a saint.” At the age of eight, she was afraid of not being able to love God appropriately and she wondered: “Could I, oh dear God, love You all my life and always do what pleases You?”
Fight Against Sin
The first expression of that love at the age of four was avoiding sin.
“If that’s a sin, I do not want to do it any more; I do not want to insult God!” At that age, a fight began, which became fierce. She pursues sin in her and around her: “I was so scared of sin that I despised people who swore or committed another sin.” Father Reichard says: “She heard blasphemy and revolts against God; she could not detach herself from those visions. She suffered very much seeing God insulted. She was urged to pray incessantly, sighing, but at the same time, she felt peace in her heart; contentment and childlike trust in God.” Continue reading
Prayer as Expression of the Love for God and for Jesus Christ
Elizabeth Eppinger’s passionate love for God is shown above all through the ardor which she had for prayer and the high gift of the prayer. From the age of four, she knew the joy of praying, at the age of seven she prayed a long time with arms out stretched; without neglecting her work, she took every chance to be alone in order to pray. “I felt strongly attracted to inner prayer and to constant and trusting union with God” (12 years old). “I practiced constant conversation with God all day long” (17 years old). Continue reading
Concern for the Poor, Especially for Poor Children
The Servant of God dedicated herself to the instruction of the ignorant and above all poor and abandoned (neglected) children. She assembled them herself in order to talk to them about God and to lead them gently to pray. This was one of the aims of her Congregation: teach these children until their First Communion.
From the beginning of the Congregation, the Servant of God organized a service for poor children of the villages belonging to the parish of Niederbronn. These children received daily breakfast and lunch. Soon their number increased: After a month, there were 25, a few months later 42. Most of the children were also provided with clothes.
The Spirit in which Love of Neighbor is to be practiced
In the Original Rule, there is a passage which reveals the profound thought of Mother Alphonse Maria about the real basis of love for our neighbor:
“In order to accomplish a good work with zeal and to make it meritorious in the eyes of God, it must be accomplished out of love for God. Without that intention, everything is empty and cold, because every natural motive which drives you to do something good is weak and cannot reach supernatural merits.” “Though I command languages both human and angelic – if I speak without love”, says St. Paul, “I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing” (1 Cor. 13,1), and St. John says: “Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3,14).