King; Patron of the Secular Franciscans (1214-1270)
Born in the year 1214, Louis became king of France in his twenty-second year. He married and had eleven children whom he brought up religiously; He was outstanding in penance and prayer and in his love for the poor. In ruling his kingdom he was concerned not only with peace and the temporal good of his subjects but also with their spiritual welfare. He undertook Crusades to the Holy Land and died in the year 1270 near Carthage. He was canonised by Pope Benedict VIII in 1297.
A reading from the spiritual testament of Saint Louis to his son
A just king raises up the earth
My dear son, in the ﬁrst place I teach you that you must love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your strength; unless you do so you cannot be saved. You must guard yourself from everything that you know is displeasing to God, that is to say, from all mortal sin. You must be ready to undergo every kind of martyrdom rather than commit one mortal sin.
If God sends you tribulations, you ought to endure it, giving thanks, realising that it is for your good, and that, perhaps, you have deserved it. If however the Lord confers some beneﬁt on you, you must humbly thank him, and be on your guard not to become the worse for it, either through vain glory or in any other way. You must not offend God with the very gifts he has given you.
Assist at the Divine Ofﬁce of the Church with joyful devotion; while you are present in the church do not let your gaze wander, do not chat about triﬂes, but pray to the Lord attentively, either with your lips, or meditating in you r heart.
Be compassionate towards the poor, the destitute and the afﬂicted; and, as far as lies in your power, help and console them. Give thanks to God for all the gifts he has bestowed upon you, so that you will become worthy of still greater gifts.
Towards your subjects, act with justice that you may steer a middle course, swerving neither to the right nor to the left, but lean more to the side of the poor man than to the rich until such time as you are certain about the truth. Do your utmost to ensure peace and justice for all your subjects but especially for the clergy and religious.
Devotedly obey your mother, the Roman Church, and revere the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father. Endeavour to banish all sin, especially blasphemy and heresy, from your kingdom.
Finally, my dear son, I impart to you every blessing that a loving father can bestow on his son; may the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and all the saints, guard you from all evil. May the Lord grant you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honoured by you, and that, together after this life we may come to see him, love him and praise him for ever. Amen.
Almighty, ever-living God,
you took Saint Louis from his cares
as a ruler in this world,
and brought him to the glory of heaven.
Help us by his intercession
to seek your eternal kingdom
through the tasks we perform on earth.
Grant this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.