St. Louis of France

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Louis of France.
St. Louis became the king of France when he was only 22 years old. He had a lovable personality, and yet followed a life quite unusual for a king. He was well aware of the dangers of power, and so to please God and also to guard himself, he fasted a lot, and often did various acts of self-denial and mortification.
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St. Louis was the father of 11 children, and he was a very good father, who saw to it that his kids were raised in the Christian life. He wrote this to his son: ‘My dearest son, keep yourself from everything that displeases God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind. If God permits you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good. Pray to the Lord often with the interior prayer of the heart.’
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Just as in our own work and decisions, our Catholic Faith should guide us, so it was for St. Louis, who governed his country according to Christian principles. His politics were grounded on justice. He insisted on fidelity in all things, and worked tirelessly for peace. He was not only interested in helping people in their material needs, but did whatever he could to cultivate the spiritual welfare of his subjects.
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When the Christian world was being over-run by Islam, he faithfully undertook a crusade to liberate the Holy Land. At first he was successful, but with his men dying of the plague, they were captured by the Muslims. He was forced to pay a huge ransom to get his men released. On yet another crusade to recover the Holy Land he died of plague.
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It was his mother’s desire that her son should be a virtuous ruler. She often told him: “Son, sin is the only evil in the world. I love you more than any mother could, but I would rather see you dead at my feet, than to know that you offended God by one mortal sin.”
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These words, says St. Louis, remained indelibly impressed upon his mind.

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