When he died at the age of 23, Louis was already a Franciscan, a bishop and a saint!
Louis's parents were Charles II of Naples and Sicily and Mary, daughter of the King of Hungary. Louis was related to St. Louis IX on his father's side and to Elizabeth of Hungary on his mother's side.
Louis showed early signs of attachment to prayer and to the corporal works of mercy. As a child he used to take food from the castle to feed the poor. When he was 14, Louis and two of his brothers were taken as hostages to the king of Aragon's court as part of a political deal involving Louis's father. At the court Louis was tutored by Franciscan friars under whom he made great progress both in his studies and in the spiritual life. Like St. Francis he developed a special love for those afflicted with leprosy.
While he was still a hostage, Louis decided to renounce his royal title and become a priest. When he was 20, he was allowed to leave the king of Aragon's court. He renounced his title in favor of his brother Robert and was ordained the next year. Very shortly after, he was appointed bishop of Toulouse, but the pope agreed to Louis's request to become a Franciscan first.
The Franciscan spirit pervaded Louis. "Jesus Christ is all my riches; he alone is sufficient for me," Louis kept repeating. Even as a bishop he wore the Franciscan habit and sometimes begged. He assigned a friar to offer him correction — in public if necessary — and the friar did his job.
Louis's service to the Diocese of Toulouse was richly blessed. In no time he was considered a saint. Louis set aside 75 percent of his income as bishop to feed the poor and maintain churches. Each day he fed 25 poor people at his table.
Louis was canonized in 1317 by Pope John XXII, one of his former teachers.
When Cardinal Hugolino, the future Pope Gregory IX, suggested to Francis that some of the friars would make fine bishops, Francis protested that they might lose some of their humility and simplicity if appointed to those positions. Those two virtues are needed everywhere in the Church, and Louis shows us how they can be lived out by bishops.
"All the faithful were edified by the fervor of his devout celebration of Mass, the efficacy of his deep humility, his tender compassion, his upright life, the harmonious congruity in all his actions, words and bearing. Who without wonderment could look upon a most charming young man, the son of so mighty a king, outstanding for his generosity, raised to such dignity, renowned for his influence, preeminent for humility, living a life of such mortification, endowed with such wisdom, clothed in so poor a habit yet renowned for the charm of his discourse and a shining example of upright life?" (contemporary biography).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment
There are very few people
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Reading 1 ez 24:15-23
The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, "Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?"
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.
Responsorial Psalm dt 32:18-19, 20-21
R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you.
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"I will hide my face from them," he said,
"and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!"
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"Since they have provoked me with their 'no-god'
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a 'no-people';
with a foolish nation I will anger them."
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
Gospel mt 19:16-22
A young man approached Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord. I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
20th Week in Ordinary Time
If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. (Matthew 19:21)
What do I need to do to get to heaven? This is an age-old question that millions of people have asked. The rich young man in today's Gospel reading had everything he could have wanted, but he still felt empty. He lived a fine life with many possessions and appeared to be a very upstanding person. Yet something was stirring in his heart, and he was determined to ask Jesus about it.
Let's imagine the scene as the young man approaches Jesus. "You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery," Jesus tells the man. "I have obeyed these," he replies. Jesus continues, "You shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness." "These I have also followed," the man insists. "What about 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Love your neighbor' "? Jesus presses. "Yes, I have done these things. What am I missing here?" "Sell everything, give to the poor, and follow me."
Now, what if the man had not walked away sad but instead admitted that he couldn't do this on his own? Surely Jesus would have embraced him and rejoiced that he was opening his heart to God.
Perhaps you have wondered what acceptable thing you can do to gain salvation. Maybe you are trying to be a better person, with varying degrees of success, and wondering whether you're going to make it.
But Jesus is standing before you and asking you to do just one thing: "Follow me" (Matthew 19:21). Whatever it is that may be holding you back, let it go. The rich young man was too tied to his possessions. What are you too attached to? Try your best to lay it before the Lord and ask him to help you let go of it. Then just follow him. Don't look back. Just keep looking forward. Take the next step. And the next step. And the one after that. Soon enough, you'll find yourself running after him, free and clear.
"Jesus, you are my greatest treasure. You are my most valuable possession. Help me to lay my life before you. Give me the grace to follow you and put you first each day."
Ezekiel 24:15-23; (Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:18-21
Allow me to translate today's 5minutos reflection from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico:
"They say the legend tells of a poor woman, with a child in her arms, walked in front of a cavern and heard a mysterious voice that from within said: "Enter and take all you desire, but do not forget the principle. Remember something: after you get out, the door will be closed forever. Regardless, take advantage of the opportunity, but do not forget the principle...". The woman Entered the cavern and found many Riches. Fascinated by the gold and jewels, she put the child on the floor and the mysterious voice began to speak again "You have only eight minutes", the woman loaded with gold and precious stones ran out of the cavern and the door shut. She remembered, then, that her child was left there and the door inside closed forever. The riches lasted little and disappeared it forever. The same happens, at times, with us. We have about 80 years to Live in this world and a voice always warns us "And don't forget the principle". And they are the spiritual values the principle, the prayer, the vigilance, the family, the friends, the life. But the gain, the richeness, the material pleasures fascinate us so much, that the important is left aside. This is how we waste our time here, a we leave to a side the essential: Now, think for a moment what is the principle in your life. And please "Never Forget It!" be free to follow the Lord Jesus, and seek His Kingdom and the rest will be added. "
My latest email signature line is a line from C.S. Lewis "Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth 'thrown in': aim at Earth and you will get neither." This is life, you only get one shot. Give it your best? I wonder if we really try. Because if I know I can do better, then it must mean one of two things: either my conscious is telling me so, or I have very low self esteem thinking "i'm not good enough". And so the question is of your soul and mine, as the young rich man asks God "...am I good enough" to get Heaven? And so your answer will be one of the two, out of low self esteem or your consciousness talking. Your consciousness will be asking to do the better, the low self esteem you will never get out of alone. For that we need Jesus.
I remember I invited a family member to a Cursillo. 3 times he has said yes and 3 different years he chickened out at the last minute. One time we were talking and he said that he didn't know if he could do it because of today's Gospel where Jesus asked the rich kid to sell all and follow Him. This relative has been growing and doing very well in the business world. Things are going real good, but he said he "wasn't sure he could really do as Jesus said and sell everything to follow Him" like the scripture says. To this day he has not said yes to the Cursillo, perhaps an invitation from the Lord?
I said at a cursillo I directed "...you know, there has been two things that happen to cursillistas, they either fizzle away, or they give totally to God, many of which are not on this year's team because they have entered the deaconate program" (God has taken them) as if they had chosen God. Did these men give up everything to follow God? None I've heard have sold their houses or cars to follow God. But after that cursillo, a charming young man did go to a monastery and is still there to this day in discernment, going now on a couple of years. The question is perplexing. We won't give up squat, but want something in return. Heck, we won't even give God our sins in Holy Confession, reconciling with the Church. Hell no? What are we saying with our live actions? That's why I said in the last email how will I show the world I love Jesus, that I am thankful if I were not able to speak? We went to a Mass out of town yesterday (celebrating our wedding anniversary). We were early and I saw a young man sitting a few rows in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I prayed, but when I saw him, I saw him talking with God through the heart, a communion of sorts. I prayed too, for that young man. I looked up, and he was gone. I thought about what had just happened but was perplexed "wait a minute, it's hot out here, humid, this young man was wearing a black coat. He reminded me of a disciple of Christ. What impact he made, the whole ordeal. Just the night before I was walking alone in the busy city street, needing to clear my head, I passed a beggar who asked me "do you have 25 cents?" I said in a rush "no, I don't have change" and kept minding my business. As I walked on, I wanted to keep walking but something told me to head back (this is how the Holy Spirit works in my life). I busted a u-turn as I was walking. I ran into the beggar again. This time, I noticed the beggar was wearing a rosary, exactly like the ones our cursillos have been giving away lately, colorful beads and a crucifix. I stopped in my tracks, I asked him "do you pray?" He said "yes I pray". We spoke some more, I said "pray for me", he said "yes sir I will pray for you". I said "you're not the only in need you know..." I was getting pretty emotional, and he mumbled some prayer words and then said things I clearly can not forget "...you know sir, I was praying before you came, I was saying please God send someone to help, and then you came to me". I had at that moment given him a $20 bill. I said "are you lyig to me?" He said "no sir" as he got emotional, saying he was bipolar this and that. I had to leave, (the Spirit kept pulling me) but before I would go, I just had to know his name and I asked and he said "Fernando". I turned around and left. I left impressed, because I knew where I was at, about a block away from an old Catholic mission church called San Fernando. San Fernando Cathedral was founded in 1731 and is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas. Was this Saint Fernando I had bumped into? I walked into the hotel room and my wife had been praying for me, looked at me amazed that I had walked in right as she had prayed for me.
Truth is, I was led somehow through darkness to see the light. What will we take from this journey? I was amazed at God this weekend, had I met Him? How many times had I seen or met Him? LOL, we need not go very far to have en encounter (but a Cursillo helps! LOL). I am a director again this year for a cursillo. I need not prayers for me, but for the men that will have an encounter with God. I want you yourself to encounter God. If it were not so, I would not be writing to you day after day and year after year. Does God want your car? Well, did He ask you for it? All God wants we will know. All I have is 2 cents, my part in this great spiritual journey we are making to the eternal. Jesus loves you more than you care. When that rich kid walked away sad is because he was faced with the truth...perhaps he hadn't given all his heart to God and was not able...
GOD I NEED YOU