Thursday, August 25, 2016

St. Louis IX and Disappointing Children

It's a bit late in the day to be writing about today's saint and office, but I've been travelling most of the day, and then setting up a new laptop after the old one died on me.

Today's second reading from the Office of Readings stayed with me all day. It's a letter of advice from St. Louis IX, King of France, to the son who would succeed him. It's beautiful! It's wise!  Here's some samples:

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... 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... Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to right nor left, but holding the line of justice. Always side with the poor rather that with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. See that all your subjects live in justice and peace...

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...

One year, after finishing this reading, I wondered whether St. Louis' son took this advice to heart and became a king worthy of such a father. Unfortunately, Louis, son of Louis, died before he could succeed to the throne. The next son, Phillip, is described in Wikipedia as "soft, timid and indecisive." The description of his reign, although not horrible, doesn't come across as that of a great king. He was mediocre at best. 

If your children don't seem to be turning out quite the way you'd hoped, you might find a sympathetic saintly friend in Louis IX.  

As always, if you have any questions related to the Liturgy of the Hours, please comment below and I' (or one of my smarter readers) will do our best to respond.