S. Louis IX, King of France| S. Joseph Calasanz| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Louis of France
At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice.
He was crowned king at 12, at his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children.
Louis “took the cross” for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years.
He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court.
Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II.
Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France — lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights — by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace.
Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.
Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.
Every day Louis had thirteen special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.
Louis was strong-willed, strong-minded. His word was trusted utterly, and his courage in action was remarkable. What is most remarkable was his sense of respect for anyone with whom he dealt, especially the “humble folk of the Lord.” To care for his people he built cathedrals, churches, libraries, hospitals and orphanages. He dealt with princes honestly and equitably. He hoped to be treated the same way by the King of Kings, to whom he gave his life, his family and his country.
Patron Saint of:
St. Joseph Calasanz
From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.
When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.
A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph’s death were they formally recognized as a religious community.
No one knew better than Joseph the need for the work he was doing; no one knew better than he how baseless were the charges brought against him. Yet if he were to work within the Church, he realized that he must submit to its authority, that he must accept a setback if he was unable to convince authorized investigators. While the prejudice, the scheming, and the ignorance of men often keep the truth from emerging for a long period of time, Joseph was convinced, even under suppression, that his institute would again be recognized and authorized. With this trust he joined exceptional patience and a genuine spirit of forgiveness.
Even in the days after his own demotion, Joseph protected his persecutors against his enraged partisans; and when the community was suppressed, he stated with Job, to whom he was often compared: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21b).
Truly Live Your Faith:
Christians are light for each other and for the rest of the world. If we are Christians we have to reveal Christ. This, therefore, is what everyone expects from us: that our Christianity be real. —Bl. Teresa of Calcutta
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
I exhort you to tranquilize your heart with the consoling thought that the part of your life not well spent has already been forgiven by our most sweet God.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Four: 237-262
We continue to the fourth notebook that Saint Faustina filled with reflections and revelations from Jesus. As we enter into this notebook, allow yourself to seek God in the silence. This chapter begins with Saint Faustina revealing that she was experiencing a “dark night” (Diary #1235). She lacked the sensory feelings of closeness to God. By analogy, it would be as if you were in a dark room filled with treasures and someone told you that all the treasures of this room were yours. You could not see them but you trusted the person who spoke about all that was around you. Knowledge of these treasures filled your mind even though the darkness hid them from your eyes.
So it is with God. Saint Faustina loved our Lord with all her heart and with every beat of her heart. She knew His closeness and love. But it appears that she could not sense this through her human senses. This gift of darkness allowed her to enter into a relationship with God on a spiritual level far deeper.
Seek this depth of relationship with God as you read through this chapter. Move beyond a desire to feel close to God and allow yourself to become close to God. He wants to enter your heart on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. Be open to the newness of a relationship shrouded in darkness and allow the Lord to communicate His Mercy to you on this new level of love.
Reflection 237: The Darkness of Faith Purifies our Love
Many of the great saints, including Saint Faustina, experienced an interior darkness in their relationship with God. This is quite a mysterious experience. As a soul grows intimately close to God there are numerous consolations and feelings of love along the way. However, there comes a point on the spiritual journey when God hides Himself. This is not on account of any sin on the part of the person; rather, it’s God’s way of entering much deeper into the person’s life so as to sustain them without the help of emotional or even spiritual consolation. The soul is plunged into a darkness that can be quite painful. But in this darkness, the person is invited to know God with a new silence and surrender. The communication it receives on this new level is beyond words and beyond human experience. There is a knowledge of God and His Divine Will, but not an experience of Him. The soul is invited through this darkness to choose God and His Will despite the absence of any feelings or spiritual consolations (See Diary #1235).
Most likely your prayer life has not brought you to this experience of darkness. But even though few enter into this level of communion with God, it’s good to be aware of it and to understand the experience that the great saints had. Knowing that this is the path of holiness will allow you to set aside desires to feel the love of God in exchange for a desire for God Himself. God is not a feeling; He is a Trinity of Divine Persons. Seek to love Him no matter what you feel and your relationship will grow deeper than you could ever imagine.
Lord, at times I do not understand Your perfect love for me. When I feel close to You I am so very grateful for this experience. However, I pray that you give me the grace to love You even when I do not sense Your presence. Please purify my faith, dear Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.