Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, August 21, 2017

A good king - Rector's Rambling for August 20, 2017

Mel Brooks, in his ridiculous comedy History of the World, Part 1, portrays  Louis XVI, King of France at the time of their revolution, as a power and affection hungry buffoon who repeats as almost a mantra the phrase, “It’s good to be the King.”
However, there was an extraordinary King of France in the person of King Louis IX, and in fact the Church recognizes him as a saint and heavenly patron of the Third Order Franciscans.
This Louis is described as follows in the Episcopal Church publication Lesser Feasts and Fasts: “Courageous and fearless in battle, patient and uncomplaining in adversity, he was an impartial, just, and compassionate sovereign.”
It is for his charitable works and care for the poor that he is most often admired.  After his release from captivity in battle, he took back to France 300 men who had been blinded by the Saracens and founded the first institute for the blind for their life-long care.  He founded theological schools (Sorbonne) and orphanages, and supported numerous religious institutions.
In his personal life he was extraordinarily disciplined in the practice of the faith.  Regular in the life of prayer and reception of Communion, he was also a penitent, offering personal sacrifices for his sins and the sins of others.  “Because of his determined effort to live a personal life of Franciscan poverty and self-denial in the midst of worldly power and splendor, he wore a hair shirt under his royal dress” [ed. uncomfortably scratchy, as a penance]. (Lesser Feasts and Fasts)
He died in 1270 at the age of 56 while on Crusade to rescue persecuted Christians in the East.  It was good for him to be the king.  August 25 is his Feast Day.