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THE mother of Louis told him she would rather see him die than commit a mortal sin, and he never forgot her words. King of France at the age of twelve, he made the defence of God's honor the aim of his life. Before two years, he had crushed the Albigensian heretics, and forced them by stringent penalties to respect the Catholic faith. Amidst the cares of government, he daily recited the Divine Office and heard two Masses, and the most glorious churches in France are still monuments of his piety. When his courtiers remonstrated with Louis for his law that blasphemers should be branded on the lips, he replied, "I would willingly have my own lips branded to root out blasphemy from my kingdom." The fearless protector of the weak and the oppressed, he was chosen to arbitrate in all the great feuds of his age, between the Pope and the Emperor, between Henry III. and the English barons. In 1248, to rescue the land which Christ had trod, he gathered round him the chivalry of France, and embarked for the East. There, before the infidel, in victory or defeat, on the bed of sickness or a captive in chains, Louis showed himself ever the same,—the first, the best, and the bravest of Christian knights. When a captive at Damietta, an Emir rushed into his tent brandishing a dagger red with the blood of the Sultan, and threatened to stab him also unless he would make him a knight, as the Emperor Frederick had Facardin. Louis calmly replied that no unbeliever could perform the duties of a Christian knight. In the same captivity he was offered his liberty on terms lawful in themselves, but enforced by an oath which implied a blasphemy, and though the infidels held their swords’ points at his throat, and threatened a massacre of the Christians, Louis inflexibly refused. The death of his mother recalled him to France; but when order was reestablished he again set forth on a second crusade. In August, 1270, his army landed at Tunis, and, though victorious over the enemy, succumbed to a malignant fever. Louis was one of the victims. He received the Viaticum kneeling by his camp-bed, and gave up his life with the same joy that he had given all else for the honor of God.
Reflection. —If we cannot imitate St. Louis in dying for the honor of God, we can at least resemble him in resenting the blasphemies offered against God by the infidel, the heretic, and the scoffer.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 36, 1. Be not emulous of evil-doers; nor envy them that work iniquity. Glory be …
O God, Who didst take Thy blessed confessor, Louis, from an earthy throne to the glory of the heavenly kingdom, by his merits and intercession we beseech Thee that Thou make us to be associates of the King of kings, Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who with Thee.
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[The just man that hath not gone after earthly things is praised on earth and shall have glory everlasting.]
Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? For he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the Church of the Saints shall declare his alms.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. Ps. 91, 3. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night.
Alleluia, alleluia. James 1, 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life: Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Christ admonishes all to watch and be ready for His Coming.]
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Let your loins be girt and lamps burning in your hands, and you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding: that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately.
Blessed are those servants whom the lord, when he cometh, shall find watching: amen I say to you that he will gird himself and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be you then also ready, for at what hour you think not the Son of Man will come.
My truth and My mercy shall be with Him: and My name shall his horn be exalted. (P.T. alleluia.)
We offer Thee, O Lord, sacrifices of praise in commemoration of Thy saints, by who we trust to be delivered from evils both present and future. Through our Lord.
Blessed is the servant who when the Lord shall come, He shall find watching: Ament I say to you, He shall set him over all His goods. (P.T. Alleluia.)
We, Thy suppliants, who are refreshed with heavenly food and drink, beseech Thee, O our God, that we may be fortified by the prayers of him in whose commemoration we have partaken of these gifts. Through our Lord.