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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saint Louis of France

Saint Louis
August 25
Patron Saint of France

“Conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved
more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more,
the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.”
(Sirach 3:18)

Today is the optional feast day of St. Louis IX King of France, (1226 to 1270) a devout Catholic, known for his fairness and humility as a ruler, he made the defense of God’s honor his aim in life. The following advice the King wrote as a spiritual testament to his son is still valid instruction to us today, no matter where we find ourselves in our life’s journey that God has so graciously bestowed upon us. Granted the lessons the King put forth to his son are not easily lived out, but they are something to strive toward.

“My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.

If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts.

Listen to the divine office with pleasure and devotion. As long as you are in church, be careful not to let your eyes wander and not to speak empty words, but pray to the Lord devoutly, either aloud or with the interior prayer of the heart.

Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to right nor left, but holding the line of justice. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. See that all your subjects live in justice and peace, but especially those who have ecclesiastical rank and who belong to religious orders.

Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father. Work to remove all sin from your land, particularly blasphemies and heresies.

In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a son. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him and praise him unceasingly. Amen.” (Acta Sanctorum Augusti 5 [1868], 546)

For items related to the Catholic Church
Please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures

St. Louis King of France - El Greco
Detail St. Louis in the St. Ambrose Polyptych - Bartolomeo Vivarini
Death and Glory of St. Louis - Ceiling of SanLuigi Dei Francesi by Charles Natoire (photo credit public domain by Tetrakys)
Detail Death and Glory of St. Louis

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