Above: Louis IX from the St Louis Bible
"My dear son,
- The first thing I would teach you is to set your heart to love God, for without that, no one can be saved.
- Keep yourself from doing anything that is displeasing to God, that is to say, from mortal sin.
- Rather than commit such a terrible offense, you must on the contrary be ready to suffer every kind of torment.
- If God sends you adversity, accept it patiently and give thanks for it to our Savior. Consider that you have deserved it and hope that He will make it turn to your advantage.
- If on the other hand, God sends you prosperity, then thank him humbly so that you do not become worse from pride nor any other cause when such a blessing should make you better, for we ought not to use God's gifts to fight against Him.
- Go often to confession, and choose for confessor a wise and upright man who knows how to teach you what you ought and what you ought not to do.
- Always behave yourself in such a way that your confessor and your friends will not be afraid of reproving you when you have done wrong.
- Listen to the services of Holy Church reverently and devoutly and without chattering.
- Pray to God with your heart as well as your lips, and most of all, during Mass, at the moment of the Consecration, let your heart be tender and full of pity towards the poor, the unhappy, and the afflicted, and comfort and help them to the utmost of your power.
- Maintain the good customs of your realm and abolish the bad ones.
- Do not be greedy in your demands on your people or impose heavy taxes on them, except in a case of emergency.
- If anything lies heavy on your heart, speak of it to your confessor or to some wise and discerning man who has not too glib a tongue. In this way your trouble will be easier to bear.
- Take care to have around you people, whether clerics or laymen, who are wise, upright, and loyal and free from covetousness. Talk with them often but shun and fly from association with the wicked.
- Listen willingly to the Word of God and keep it in your heart.
- Be eager to obtain prayers and indulgences.
- Love all that is good and beneficial; Hate all that is evil wherever you find it.
- Let no one be so bold as to say in your presence anything that may entice and move men to sin, nor do anything so presumptuous as to speak evil of another behind his back in order to belittle him; nor must you allow anything in disparagement of God and His Saints to be said before you.
- Render thanks to God continually for all the good things He has given you, so that you may be considered worthy to receive further benefits in order to deal justly and equitably with your subjects.
- Be straightforward and firm, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, but always following what is just and upholding the cause of the poor until the truth be made clear.
- If anyone brings a suit against you, make full inquiry until you know all the truth, for then your counselors having the facts before them will be able to give sentence more confidently, whether for or against you.
- If through your own act, or the act of your predecessors, you hold anything which should belong to another, and his right to it is proved beyond question, restore it to him without delay.
- If on the other hand there is some doubt about the matter, have it investigated promptly and thoroughly by wise and knowledgeable men.
- You must give your attention to ensuring that your subjects live peaceably and uprightly under your rule.
- Above all, maintain the good cities and communes of your realm in the same condition and with the same privileges as they enjoyed under your predecessors. If there is anything in them that needs reform, do what is necessary to set it right, and keep them ever in your favor and your love, for because of the wealth and power of your great cities, not only your own subjects and especially your great Lords and Barons but also the people of other countries will fear to undertake anything against you.
- Love and honor all persons in the service of Holy Church, and see that no one takes away or diminishes the gifts and donations made to them by your predecessors.
- it is related of King Philip my grandfather that one of his councilors once said to him that the servants of Holy Church were doing him much wrong and injury in that they deprived him of his rights and trespassed on his authority, and that it was a great marvel that he allowed it to be so. The good king answered that this might well be true, but after considering the benefits God had bestowed on him and His many gracious acts of kindness, he thought it better to forego some of his rights than embark on any dispute with the people of Holy Church.
- Honor and respect your father and mother and obey their commands.
- Bestow the benefits of Holy Church on persons of upright character and a clean life, and do this on the advice of good and honorable men.
- Beware of undertaking a war against any Christian prince without careful deliberation. If it has to be undertaken, see that you do no harm to Holy Church or to persons who have done you no injury.
- In the case of wars and dissensions arising among your subjects, make peace between the disputants as soon as you can.
- Take special care to have good bailiffs and provosts and often inquire them as also if people attach to your household how they conduct themselves and whether any of them are addicted to the vice of excessive covetousness or untruthfulness or shifty behavior.
- Endeavor to drive out of your land all hateful and unrighteous practices, and in particular, do all in your power to root out evil, swearing, and heresy.
- Take care to keep the expenses of your household within reasonable limits.
Finally, my dear son, have masses sung for my soul and prayers said for me throughout your kingdom, and give me a full and special share and all the good you do.
My own dear child, I give you all the blessings a good father can give to his son.
May the Blessed Trinity and all the Saints keep and defend you from all evils, and may God grant you grace to do His will always, so that He may be honored through you, and that you and I after this mortal life is ended may both be with Him together and join in praising Him to all eternity.
King Louis IX Capet came to the throne at age 12, fought in the 7th and 8th Crusades, and lived many years in the East, where he acquired Holy Relics which are still in Paris, including the Crown of Thorns. He founded the Sorbonne and built Sainte-Chapelle. Louis was canonized in 1297, and is known as Saint Louis.
May we be truly grateful for all the treasures, both tangible and intangible, that he has left to us."
~ Brian, by the Grace of God
Count of Făget in the Banat of Temesköz, KCSD, KGCSA
Avery special gratitude to my dear friend Count Brian Wilkes,
Count of Făget in the Banat of Temesköz, KCSD, KGCSA