Thursday, August 25, 2011

A royal example for us all

 We have a lot of students at Ole Miss from St. Louis. A lot. And many of them are Catholics. So I feel a need today to wish a very happy "St. Louis Day" to all of them, because today is the feast of St. Louis, King of France - the namesake of their home town. Of course he is also the namesake of St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans (one of my favorite places, mind you).

St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
St. Louis (the man) ruled as king of France from 1226 until his death in 1270. He is often considered to be a shining example of the ideal Christian monarch. He is the only king of France to have been officially declared a saint by the Church. Pope Boniface VIII canonized him in 1297, less than 30 years after his death.

In college, we have many responsibilities. We have academic, family, and social obligations. There are a lot of people who expect a lot out of the college students they know. But despite the pressures you may face and the hectic schedule that you juggle, it is super important that you practice your faith. At the very least, this means attending Mass every Sunday and prayerfully striving to live out the Gospel each day.

King Louis was a pretty busy guy himself, running the entire country of France and all. But despite the pressures he faced and the important decisions with which he was entrusted in administering his powers as king, he made practicing his Catholic faith a priority. He used challenges and blessings alike for the same end: to strengthen his faith. When he died, he was remembered -- no, respected -- by all who knew him as a just and pious man.

He once instructed his son to always be patient in faith, in the face of life's obstacles or blessings: "If God sends you adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our Savior ...  If he sends you prosperity, then thank him humbly, so that you will not become worse from pride or any other cause, when you ought to be better. For we should not fight against God with his own gifts."

If you feel the pressures of life building up around you, and you fear the practice of your faith is suffering as a result, reflect on good King St. Louis. Trust God that he will make a way for you to exercise your love for him and to remain faithful and true, if only you will let him. Remember always: Christ wills only good for you. "Take up your cross, and follow."