Memorial of St. Louis

For St. Louis, love of God and neighbor was not just a matter of passively receiving them with no objections, but actively working to welcome them into your life. In a letter to his son on how to be king, Louis exhorted his son not to just sit absent-mindedly in church, but to actively listen to God’s voice. In matters of justice, St. Louis told his son to “always side with the poor rather than the rich, until you are certain of the truth.” St. Louis walked the corridors of power long enough to know how people try to flatter and deceive. He could not just passively accept what people told him, but had to actively listen to find the truth, and actively discern to hear God.

The work of St. Louis in medieval France is our work today. People still deceive. There is still injustice. There are still empty words, empty gestures, distracting thoughts–all sorts of things that can keep us from loving God and serving justice. We need to make our thoughts count, our words count, our actions count. And we also need to make our listening count–how we listen to God and how we listen to others, especially the poorest. The more our reception of God and neighbor is not just passive acceptance, but active welcome, the more we can truly be said to love God and neighbor with all our strength.

August 25th, 2017