Archive for the ‘St. Wenceslaus’ Category

The Dying Words of Jesus & His Saints

November 14, 2014

Each November, when the dark nights lengthen and trees become bare skeletons, we especially pray for the souls of those who have gone before us in death. This is also a fitting time of year to remember and consider the certainty of our own mortality. How did Jesus and his holy ones face the end of their lives? Their dying words can both instruct and inspire us:

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

—Our Lord Jesus Christ, c. 33 AD

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

—St. Stephen, martyr, c. 34 AD

“Glory to God for all things!”

—St. John Chrysostom, 407 AD

“Your will be done. Come, Lord Jesus!”

—St. Augustine, 430 AD

“May God forgive you, brother.”

—St. Wenceslaus, martyr, 935 AD

“I have loved justice and hated iniquity. Therefore I die in exile.”

—Pope St. Gregory VII, 1085 AD

“If all the swords in England were pointed against my head, your threats would not move me. I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.”

—St. Thomas Becket, martyr, 1170 AD

“When you see that I am brought to my last moments, place me naked upon the ground just as you saw me the day before yesterday; and let me lie there after I am dead for the length of time it takes one to walk a mile unhurriedly.”

—St. Francis of Assisi, 1226 AD

“Be assured that he who shall always walk faithfully in God’s presence, always ready to give him an account of all his actions, shall never be separated from him by consenting to sin.”

—St. Thomas Aquinas, 1274 AD

“Leave the doors open, so that everyone may enter and see how a pope dies.”

—Bl. Pope Urban V, 1370 AD

“Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

—St. Bridget of Sweden, 1373 AD

“Blood! Blood! Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

—St. Catherine of Siena, 1380 AD

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”

—St. Joan of Arc, martyr, 1431 AD

“I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

—St. Thomas More, martyr, 1535 AD

“O, my God!”

—St. Ignatius of Loyola, 1556 AD

“After all I die as a child of the Church. My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time for us to meet one another.”

—St. Teresa of Avila, 1582 AD

“Jesus, I love you.”

—St. Kateri Tekakwitha, 1680 AD

“In all things I adore the will of God in my regard.”

—St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, 1719 AD

“Be children of the Church.”

—St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 1821 AD

“My immortal life is on the point of beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him.”

—St. Andrew Kim Taegon, martyr, 1846 AD

“Holy Mary, pray for me, a poor sinner.”

—St. Bernadette Soubirous, 1879 AD

“I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me. My God, I love you.”

—St. Therese of Lisieux, 1897 AD

“To restore all things in Christ.”

—Pope St. Pius X, 1914 AD

“Long live Christ the King!”

—Bl. Miguel Pro, S.J., martyr, 1927 AD

“Jesus. Maria.”

—St. Pio of Pietrelcina, 1968 AD

“Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.”

—Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1997 AD

“Let me go to the house of the Father.”

—St. John Paul the Great, 2005 AD

What do you want to be your dying words?

Light Shines Through Them

October 10, 2013

St. Wenceslaus of Bohemia & St. Louis of France
Two of Our Stained Glass Saints

St. Wenceslaus StatueWe recently celebrated the feast day of St. Wenceslaus, our parish patron. In addition to our statue of him in the back of church, we can see the good king depicted in one of our beautiful stained glass windows. He holds a banner and a shield with his red eagle heraldry for he remains a spiritual leader and defender of his people. Do you know which other luminous saints are featured in our stained glass windows?

Next to St. Wenceslaus’ window stands another holy European monarch, St. Louis IX, the 13th century king of France. (This is the Louis that Missouri’s largest city is named after.) St. Louis was regarded as the first among equals by the kings and rulers of Europe, not only because he commanded the largest army and ruled the wealthiest kingdom, but also because of his admirable character.

Each day, Louis welcomed 13 guests from among the poor to dine with him, and a large number of poor were fed near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were provided a meal, with Louis himself often serving them. Throughout his kingdom, Louis founded hospitals, visited the sick, and kept lists of the needy, whom he assisted regularly. He chose St. Francis as his patron and imitated him in caring for lepers.

St. Louis of FranceWhen his kingdom came into possession of the believed Crown of Thorns, Louis carried the holy relic in procession barefooted. (This event is depicted in our window.) To house this and other relics connected to Christ’s Passion, Louis had the Gothic Sainte Chapelle built in Paris. It remains one of the most beautiful churches in the world.

Louis’ domestic reforms promoted justice. Before his reign, disputing parties could opt for a “trial by battle,” basically a court sanctioned and regulated duel. St. Louis replaced this with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. His personal reputation for fairness caused the rulers of Europe to choose him to arbitrate the quarrels between them.

Abroad, Louis led two unsuccessful crusades to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. In these campaigns more died from disease than battles, including Louis himself, at age 44. St. Louis was canonized 27 years later, making him France’s only canonized king. His feast day is August 25th.

Good King St. Louis, pray for us!

The Story of Good King Wenceslaus

September 28, 2013

Today, Saturday, September 28th is the feast day of St. Wenceslaus. Wenceslaus I (also known as Vaclav) was born around 907 A.D. and killed on September 28, 935. Wenceslaus is usually described as being exceptionally pious and humble and as a highly-educated and intelligent young man for his time. His father was a second generation Christian and the king of Bohemia (the western two-thirds of today’s Czech Republic.) His mother, however, was a staunch pagan.

When Wenceslaus was 13, his father died. His mother then ruled as regent and persecuted the Christians. Wenceslaus had been raised by his devout, Christian grandmother, St. Ludimila. His mother, fearing her mother-in-law’s influence, promptly had her murdered. At age 18, Wenceslaus took the throne and exiled his mother. His promotion of Christianity and efforts at peace with Germany angered his nobles. They conspired against him with his younger brother and set upon with blades at the doors of a church. Wenceslaus was immediately hailed as a martyr, his tomb became a pilgrimage site, and he became venerated as the patron saint of Bohemia. The Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslaus,” written in 1853, is based on his reputation as a just and holy king.

Good King St. Wenceslaus, pray for us!

“Good King Wenceslaus”

September 28, 2013

Written by John Mason Neale in 1853

Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the Feast of Stephen1
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.2

“Hither, page,3 and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling:
Yonder peasant,4 who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league5 hence, underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh6 and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither.7
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.”8
Page and monarch forth they went, forth they went together,
Through the rude wind’s wild lament, and the bitter weather.

“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, my good page, tread thou in them boldly.
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage, freeze thy9 blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted.10
Heat was in the very sod11 which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing:
Ye12 who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.13

1 The feast of St. Stephen, the 1st Christian martyr, is December 26th.
2 “fuel” = tree branches
3 “Hither, page” = Come here, young male servant
4 “Yonder peasant” = That distant farmer over there
5 “league” = a distance of one to three miles
6 “flesh” = meat
7 “hither” = to here
8 “thither” = to there
9 “thy” = your
10 “dinted” = compressed
11 “sod” = ground
12 “Ye” = You (all)
13 We will be blessed if we follow in the footsteps of saints like St. Wenceslaus who themselves follow in the footsteps of Christ.