View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, August 25, 2008

St. Louis - Secular Franciscan

Today is the Feast of St. Louis (King Louis IX of France), the Patron of the Secular Franciscan Order, to which he belonged.

He had a reputation for being a model Christian king (even though from a more contemporary perspective his treatment of Jews was not model by any means). But for his time, he was good.

He reportedly never tolerated cursing or sinful conversation either among his servants or among the courtiers – imagine how he’d deal with common speech today where even the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is spoken of “approvingly” in some circles for his salty language. St. Louis reportedly never uttered an unkind or impatient word (a worthy ideal for me to aim for).

He dressed simply and wore the insignia of the Secular Franciscan Order under his outer garments. On special occasions he reportedly even wore a habit.

He was also concerned with the poor, and according to some stories, some of whom he personally fed and served.

In fact, as part of his testament to his son, King Philip III, he said “Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth.”

Siding with the poor is a worthy goal for all of us, and for our political leaders.



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