SAINT LOUIS THE KING, SAINT LOUIS THE CHRISTIAN
Brothers and Sisters,
Last week, the Church celebrated the Memorial of Saint Louis (pronounced Lou-EE). He was the King of France in the thirteenth century and was, at the time, known as His Most Christian Majesty King Louis the Nineth (except, you know, they would have said it in French).
Though he became king before he became a teenager, any brashness was outweighed by his humility. Partial credit must go to his friendship with Saint Thomas Aquinas, who was a professor at the University of Paris and possibly the most intelligent saint the Church has every produced. It is also astonishing that other counties of Europe saw King Louis’s humility as clear cause for requesting that he adjudicate disputes between countries.
Here’s a quote from Saint Louis that sums up his outlook on life in general:
I am more moved by the chapel in-which I was baptized than in the Cathedral wherein I was crowned. For it was at baptism, I became a child of God – which is a far greater honor than that of being ruler of the kingdom. For, the crown and kingship I shall lose at death; baptism, though, is my passport into Heaven.
Powerful words, and true. It is strikingly similar to the words of his mentor and friend Saint Thomas Aquinas. At the end of his life, Saint Thomas said that all his multiple writings, essays, dissertations, books, and Summas “are worth no more than a bit of straw” compared to Heaven.
There you have it: possibly the most intelligent saint and possibly the wealthiest saint agree: nothing is more impressive than Heaven. That’s easy enough to say or even agree with, but much harder to live out in practice. I suspect that each of us would quickly agree: yes, Heaven is better than all the riches and joys of Earth. Fine, but can we see that in how each of us lives?
Christ’s famous Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-14) are followed by His instruction to not only believe these things but to actually follow through with action and do the things that He has said: all will see the deeds you do and from your example others will learn to love God the Father (cf. 5:16).
Generously giving to the parish, the poor, nuns and monks, and Catholic charitable groups is one great way of making sure we, like Saint Louis, value Heaven more than Earth. Loads of prayer – with our family – every day is also a big part of this. Yes, prayer with others can be awkward and weird when we are not used to it; remember, some embarrassment now is well worth the investment as they stamp their own passport into Heaven. Redouble your efforts to avoid hurtful actions and words (Ephesians 4:31) and we must also redouble our efforts to lead the way in attending the sacraments and the virtues (cf. v. 32).
God be near,