LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Chapter 34

willbulow's picture

HOW ST LOUIS, KING OF FRANCE, WENT IN PERSON IN A PILGRIM'S GARB TO VISIT THE HOLY BROTHER GILES

Saint Louis, a saint who was a king, strikes me as someone whom it would be interesting to talk to. If the story before us at present is any indication, King Louis had some interesting stories to relate. But here, he and Brother Giles communicated in silence. And if I read aright, they were mutually satisfied with that communication. We're told that neither could speak because of the light of divine wisdom. Apparently, what was most important in both of their lives was something that couldn't be communicated in words, anyway.

I don't know much about Saint Louis, so I looked him up in a book of the lives of the saints that I have. The article on him there drew some interesting parallels with Joan of Arc. Neither the king nor the peasant girl put as much importance in their social position as in their duty as they saw it. Both detested profane or blasphemous language. King Louis' last testament set out the principles he lived by, to pass them on to his eldest son. My saints book, by Donald Attwater, says, "and an extremely wise and impressive document it is."

Saint Louis was a couple hundred years before Joan of Arc, and is probably best known generally as a leader of one of the crusades, which set out in 1248. It was heavily defeated in 1250 and King Louis was taken prisoner. He later died of disentery at Tunis, while leading an army there.

Illumination by Virdare (not verified)

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