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Chivarlous Saints: St. Louis IX

Chivarlous Saints: St. Louis IX

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Published by philpenguin
“Blanche took Louis with her on her military campaigns, and had him sit beside her in the councils of state. This gave him training in the art of ruling, for he learned not only through precept, but through ocular demonstration. Blanche was not content to train her son to be a king ; she schooled him also in the ways of sanctity. She taught him the elements of Catholic faith and devotion, and drilled him in habits of prayer which he never abandoned. From his earliest years she strove to impress upon his sensitive mind the value of holiness. She often – said to him "I would rather see you dead than know that you should live to commit a mortal sin."
“Blanche took Louis with her on her military campaigns, and had him sit beside her in the councils of state. This gave him training in the art of ruling, for he learned not only through precept, but through ocular demonstration. Blanche was not content to train her son to be a king ; she schooled him also in the ways of sanctity. She taught him the elements of Catholic faith and devotion, and drilled him in habits of prayer which he never abandoned. From his earliest years she strove to impress upon his sensitive mind the value of holiness. She often – said to him "I would rather see you dead than know that you should live to commit a mortal sin."

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Published by: philpenguin on Nov 04, 2008
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11/15/2014

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St. Louis IX Of France (1214-1270)
Married Saints, Pages 110-128:
“If It be true—as the modern saying goes—that it isnot how long we live, but how much, that matters, then Louis IX of France was a master in theart of living. He was the typical king of the greatest century of the Middle Ages, a peacemakeramong the nations, a crusader to the Holy Land, idolized by the French people, respected by the Saracens. He established justice, peace and prosperity in France, and raised her to a placeof preeminence in Christendom. In his private life he was happily married and the father of eleven children ; he was feared by the nobles and loved by the poor ; he practiced his religionhumbly and by his invincible faith and unceasing prayer maintained an unbroken contact withGod and the powers of the supernatural world. He wore his earthly crown without reproach,and thereby gained a heavenly crown whose glory will never fade.”“The first fact in the life of Saint Louis of France that rivets our attention is that he hada holy and capable mother, Blanche of Castile. She combined a genius for statesmanship withthe best qualities of motherhood. Louis was her oldest son, and through the untimely death of his father, Louis VIII, be-came heir-presumptive to the throne when a boy of twelve. Blancheruled the kingdom as regent with wisdom and vigor until he could be crowned as Louis IX.She repeatedly frustrated the plots of the feudal aristocracy against her son ; and went to waragainst the nobles when it was necessary in order to preserve the unity of the kingdom. She was more than a match for them and finally succeeded in making them respect the authority of the crown.”“Blanche took Louis with her on her military campaigns, and had him sit beside her inthe councils of state. This gave him training in the art of ruling, for he learned not only 
 
through precept, but through ocular demonstration. Blanche was not con-tent to train her sonto be a king ; she schooled him also in the ways of sanctity. She taught him the elements of Catholic faith and devotion, and drilled him in habits of prayer which he never abandoned.”“From his earliest years she strove to impress upon his sensitive mind the value of holiness. She often – said to him "
I would rather see you dead than know that youshould live to commit a mortal sin.
" When Louis was nineteen years of age, his motherdecided that it was time for him to marry. She chose for him a child of twelve, the PrincessMarguerite, the eldest daughter of Raymond Bérenger, Count of Provence. Perhaps she didnot realize how beautiful the young princess was ; later she apparently became jealous of herson's devotion to his wife. Perhaps Louis was surprised to find that his mother had chosen sopretty and graceful a girl to be his wife, but there is no evidence that he was displeased.Marguerite bore her husband eleven children.”“Saint Francis de Sales, in the chapter on "Counsels for Married Persons," in hisIntroduction to the Devout Life, appeals to the example of this French royal saint as anillustration of the proper use to be made of mutual caresses in married life : "The great St.Louis, who was as rigorous towards his own flesh as he was tender in his love of his wife, wasalmost blamed for being lavish in such caresses, although in truth he rather deserved praisefor knowing how to lay aside his martial and courageous spirit, and give these littledemonstrations of affection ; for although these little demonstrations of pure and frank affection do not bind hearts together, yet they bring them close together, and serve as apleasant aid to mutual intercourse."“Throughout their married life, Louis never entered upon any serious undertaking without first gaining the permission of his wife. Father R. P. Surin, of the Society of Jesus, writing in 1652, praises this habit of the French king as exemplifying the quality of wisdom inconjugal love : "It is re-ported of St. Louis that he never disposed of his person without takingthe advice of Madame Marguerite of Provence, his wife ; and that when in captivity in theHoly Land, when he was treating of his ransom, before giving his final word, he demanded theprivilege of speaking to the queen, who had accompanied him in the voyage to the Levant.Upon the infidels expressing their surprise, he replied that he could conclude nothing withouther, because she was his Lady, and as such he owed her this respect. To act and speak in that way proved the wise love of the holy king for the queen his wife."Once, however, Queen Marguerite refused the consent for which the king had asked. Whentheir eldest son had reached the age when he might succeed to the throne, Louis told thequeen secretly of his own desire to renounce the throne and become a religious, and asked herto acquiesce in his pious intention. She shook her head and stamped her foot, and quickly putforward convincing arguments why he should remain king as long as he lived. He al-lowedhimself to be persuaded, and never again brought up the subject.”“The persistent jealousy which Blanche of Castile displayed towards the queen on many occasions proves that she was not a saint—as yet. Joinville, in his Memoirs, bears witness tothis jealousy : "The harshness which Queen Blanche showed to Queen Marguerite was suchthat Queen Blanche would not allow her son to remain in his wife's company, if she couldprevent it, except in the evening when he retired with her."“It is possible that Queen Blanche had a theory that a husband and wife might see toomuch of each other. However, King Louis and his wife so arranged matters that they could seeeach other when they wished on a winding staircase which connected their two rooms, by instructing their attendants to give them a signal when the queen mother came to either room,so that she always found either the king or the queen alone. Joinville records that "once theking was with his wife, and she was in danger of death, being ill after the birth of a child. TheQueen Blanche came there, took her son by the hand and said, 'Come away, you have no
 
 business here.' When Queen Marguerite saw that the mother was leading the king away, shecried out : `Alas ! You will not let me see my lord either in life or death'; and then sheswooned, and they thought she was dead. The king, who thought she was dying, returned, andit was with great trouble that she was brought to herself again."“The Sire de Joinville may not have been an entirely trustworthy authority on therelative merits of these two ladies. He was obviously a devoted partisan of Queen Marguerite ;he also sympathized with the feudal aristocratic party which Queen Blanche had fought andoutwitted, and thus was prejudiced against her. Marguerite intimated once or twice toJoinville that just because she was the wife of a saint she must not be considered, from a worldly standpoint, to be necessarily the happiest of women. Indeed she was not called uponto bear testimony to his sanctity in the process of canonization. Thirty-eight witnesses werecalled, but not the queen.”“She often said of the king, IL est si divers—which translated into our language wouldprobably be, "He is so strange ! " For instance, when they were returning from Palestine, andthe royal ship was in danger of being shipwrecked in a storm near the coasts of Cyprus,Joinville urged her to make a vow of a pilgrimage if they arrived safely in France.”“She replied, "Sire, I would gladly make this vow ; but if the king learned that I hadmade it without consulting him, he would never permit me to fulfill the pilgrimage. The kingis so strange !"From the wifely point of view, the king was undoubtedly difficult to manage.The queen once expressed to him her vexation at his simple way of dressing and his lack of royal dignity. ”"Madame," he asked, "would you be pleased if I covered myself with costly garments ?""I certainly would," she replied, "and I want you to do so.""Well, I agree," said the king, "and am ready to please you, for the law of marriagerequires that the husband should seek to please his wife. Only this obligation is reciprocal ; you will, therefore, be obliged to conform to my wish.""And what is that wish?" she demanded."It is that you should wear the most humble costume ; you will take mine, and I yours."The queen would not consent to make the ex-change, so she curtsied and left the room.“Louis IX of France is one of the most attractive saints just because he was a king. Heused to the full the grace which God gave him, and thus made his royal dignity the instrumentfor the development of sanctity. There is no position in life, however exalted, that may not beso used. As Bourdaloue said in his sermon on the Feast of Saint Louis, "It is a sentiment very injurious to Providence to sup-pose that there are in the world any conditions absolutely opposed to saintliness ; or that saintliness is in itself incompatible with certain conditions andstates of which it is nevertheless admitted that God is the author."“Saint Louis manifested a fervent zeal for God, joined with a profound humility. Heexemplified M. Henri Joly's definition of a saint as "the man who serves God heroically andout of love." He rose at midnight and summoned his clerks and chaplains to chant the Matinsof the day and those of Our Lady. After a short interval, barely long enough to fall asleep, they  were called to chant Prime. He heard each day a Mass for the dead, in addition to the Mass forthe day, which was always sung. During Lent he heard three Masses a day, the last of which was said towards noon. When traveling on horseback, he caused his chaplains to sing as they rode the hours of Terce, Sext and None.”“The carrying of the Cross into the Holy Land was impressed as an inescapable duty upon the mind of Saint Louis, when he was miraculously restored to health from a severeillness that followed his exhausting campaign in Guyenne in 1244. The whole nation wasalarmed and rallied to the help of the sick king by prayers, alms and solemn pro-cessions. Hismother prayed night and day with fastings and other austerities. She ordered the relics of the

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