January 21, 2008
Today we remember a great man who died to uphold universal, timeless values. I mean, of course, King Louis XVI”murdered at the hands of ultranationalist Jacobins (no, I don”t mean neocons) 215 years ago today. Instead of repeating myself, I”ll direct you to my best attempt to explore the meaning of the French Revolution, but most of all I”d like to recommend a reading of King Louis” last will and testament, which a priest read aloud at the Requiem Mass I helped organize for the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day. (We invited the French consul general, but he pleaded prior engagements. We did, however, have at least one genuine Bourbon.) A model of Christian charity and royal dignity, King Louis” last words are worth using for lectio divina, prayerful reading. Today, it’s worth recalling that King Louis was the man who financed the American Revolution, lifted the civil restrictions on Jews and Protestants imposed by his autocratic ancestors, and (after some gross mistakes) in the end gave his life rather than accede to the takeover by the State of the Church in France. Louis Roi, ora pro nobis.