I have been brooding about today’s saint, ever since this morning, when I usually take the time to read-and-learn the day’s saint. Brooding isn’t all bad, but the more I think, the bigger I realize the task placed on our shoulders is, and daylong brooding results.
Here is today’s saint. St. Louis IX. You may know him from visits to New Orleans where he sits atop a fine horse just outside of the St. Louis Cathedral.
He was king at 12 years old. At the time, he was a pious young man, servant of Our Lord, and faithful and obedient to all the Church’s teachings. As he grew into manhood, he became a pious, noble man, who considered himself a servant of Our Lord, faithful and obedient to all the teachings of the Church, and servant and well-loved king to his own people. He was respected for his fairness to all, and for his effective regard and service to the poorest and most unfortunate of his realm.
He exercised his rulership over France as much in conformity with the precepts of the Faith as is possible, although in ways that our own emasculated, effeminate, cowardly age would find “horrifying.” Again, his people loved and respected him, and trusted his judgments. He did not exempt himself from any of the rigors of his Faith or of the laws of his land.
So why have I been brooding? It’s this:
For most of my childhood school career I was in a marching band. Navy blue and gold uniforms in Illinois and black and orange uniforms in Michigan. That’s not MY marching band in the picture, but they do have dark uniforms.
One thing my marching bands had in common was playing that great old classic: “The St. Louis Blues.” I can talk about the relative merits of various marching band pieces, but this one — this one crosses the line over into the very corrupt, immoral sounds of the particular seduction of a certain low-life culture of New Orleans, steeped in sin, sex, and alcohol. The people of that culture are not healthy, happy, or hopeful. Yikes! Too harsh?
(You can find samples of this music on the Internet.)
You will not find the likes of Saint Louis walking the streets of the city that gave rise to the sliding-downhill sounds of The St. Louis Blues.
The contrast! The conflict! The conundrum of how we elevate The St. Louis Blues into some great example of Classical Blues, and yet not perceive the degradation of the human condition that gives rise to the “blues.”
And yet, again, it’s not inconceivable that one might could see Saint Louis walking down the streets of New Orleans – if he were its king today – in search of, not the music, but his own people who need the help of the king’s coffers, and of the king’s Faith.
If you’d watch our culture from the outside, you’d think we think that Politics will solve the social problems of our times. Politics won’t. No policies, rules, regulations, taxes and redistribution of wealth, no politically correct ideas will help save our country.
Our problems lie in the realm of Faith and Morals.
We don’t have a King Louis over us, but we do have a King. Christ the King. We must, then, in this world each be a “King Louis” in our own private lives.