In 1248, and again in 1270, Louis joined in the Crusades to the Holy Land. It was during his second Crusade that Louis contracted dysentery, dying at Tunis on August 25, 1270, as he made his way to a battle. His relics were returned France and enshrined at Saint-Denis, where many miracles have been reported. Saint Louis was canonized in 1297 and is honored one of the patron saints of France.
|St. Louis of France serving the poor.|
It is God who governs the world and who grants peace, not us individually or as nations. We must, however, do all we can, with the strength we have, because “the love of Christ urges us on” (2 Corinthians 5:14). The war in Syria, violence in Egypt, human rights violations in Russia and Africa (to name only two places out of so many), and violence in our own cities, towns, and families are all reminders that much work remains to be done in the cause of justice and peace.
And yet, those things for which we hope are attainable. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, “You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged no message be further addressed to them” (12:18-19). Rather, God has called us, in Christ, to share in the life of the Trinity and to invite others into the life of grace that has been made present to us, in the Holy Spirit. Recognizing all of this as gift, we also understand, like Saint Louis, that true strength and honor found in humility and true humility is to see the needs of others before our own, because their needs are as real and important as mine or yours.
At the banquet of the Kingdom of God (cf. Luke 14:1, 7-14), we are all equals—each of us, in our own way is poor, crippled, lame, and blind—and it is only in celebrating our equality before God, that we will discover the foundations of peace and justice that are the hallmarks of God’s Kingdom, present here and now.