Sunday, August 25, 2013
St. Louis IX, King of France
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  Saint Louis, King of France with a Page by El Greco

Son of King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, King St. Louis IX (commonly called St. Louis) is the only French monarch to have ever been canonized.  He was crowned the King of France and Count of Artois at age eleven, though his mother ruled as regent until he reached 22.  Thereafter, St. Louis reigned for 44 years.  St. Louis made numerous judicial and legislative reforms, promoted Christianity in France, established religious foundations, aided mendicant orders, propagated synodal decrees of the Church, built leper hospitals, and collected relics.

In 1230 the King forbade all forms of usury. Where the profits of the Jewish and Lombard money-lenders had been exorbitant, and the original borrowers could not be found, Louis exacted from the usurers a contribution towards the crusade which Pope Gregory was then trying to launch.[6] Louis also ordered, at the urging of Pope Gregory IX, the burning in Paris in 1243 of some 12,000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books.

He married Marguerite of Provence at age 19, and fathered eleven children.   Furthermore, St. Louis supported Pope Innocent IV in war against Emperor Frederick II of Germany.  He was a Trinitarian tertiary and also led two Crusades.  It was during the second of these Crusades that he died. 

The Holy Crown of Jesus Christ (the relic of the crown which rested on the Head of our Lord) was bought by King St. Louis IX from Baldwin II. It is preserved today in a 19th century reliquary, in Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris.

Traditional Reading at Matins:
Louis IX, king of France, having lost his father when he was only twelve years old, was educated in a most holy manner by his mother Blanche. When he had reigned for twenty years he fell ill and it was then he conceived the idea of regaining possession of Jerusalem. On his recovery therefore he received the great standard from the bishop of Paris and crossed the sea with a large army. In a first engagement he repulsed the Saracens; but a great number of his men being struck down by pestilence, he was conquered and made prisoner.

A treaty was then made with the Saracens, and the king and his army were set at liberty. Louis spent five years in the east. He delivered many Christian captives, converted many of the infidels to the faith of Christ, and also rebuilt several Christian towns out of his own lesources. Meanwhile his mother died, and on this account he was obliged to return home, where he devoted himself entirely to good works.

He built many monasteries and hospitals for the poor; heassisted those in need and frequently visited the sick, supplying all their necessities at his own expense and even serving them with his own hands. He dressed in a simple manner and subdued his body by continual fasting and wearing a hair-cloth. He crossed over to Africa a second time to fight with the Saracens, and had pitched his camp in sight of them when he was struck down by a pestilence and died while saying this prayer: ‘I will come into thy house; I will worship towards thy holy temple and I will confess to thy name.’ His body was afterwards translated to Paris and is honourably preserved in the celebrated church of St. Denis; but the head is in the Sainte-Chapelle. He was celebrated for miracles, and Pope Boniface VIII enrolled his name among the saints.
Death of Saint Louis 1270 by Gustave Dore

Meditation:


"I think more of the place where I was baptized than of Rheims Cathedral where I was crowned.  It is a greater thing to be a child of God than to be the ruler of a Kingdom.  This last I shall lose at death but the other will be my passport to an everlasting glory." (St. Louis IX, King of France)

Prayer:

O God, Who didst translate blessed Louis, Thy Confessor, from an earthly throne to the glory of Thy heavenly kingdom: grant, we beseech Thee, through his merits and intercession, that we may have fellowship with the King of kings, Jesus Christ Thy Son: Who liveth and reigneth.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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