Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Great advice for young Catholics

Every day, priests, deacons, and religious are required to pray the "Liturgy of the Hours".  It involves praying over the Psalms, canticles, readings, and writings by the saints.  It's all done in the tradition of praying seven times a day, as Christ did. "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws." -Psalm 119:164

It's an amazing and peaceful devotion; almost everyone I've ever introduced it to has fallen in love with it.  One time, I gave the LOH to a friend for Christmas; he still says it's the best present he's ever received!

Below is the Second Reading from Monday's Liturgy of the Hours.   It's a letter from St. Stephen of Hungary to his son.  Monday was the memorial of St Stephen, who was a powerful king of Hungary in the 11th century and solid Catholic and father.  This letter to his son is absolutely beautiful and spot-on advice for any of us, but especially young Catholics.

From admonitions to his son by Saint Stephen

My dearest son, if you desire to honor the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession.  Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or son of the Church.  Indeed, in the royal palace after the faith itself, the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our head, Christ; then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by his members, the apostles and holy fathers.  And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.

However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted; and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly should be destroyed and annihilated through your idleness, indolence or neglect.

My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favor not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbors or fellow-countrymen, but also to foreigners and to all who come to you.  By fulfulling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness.  Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.  Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful, but also with the weak.

Finally be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down.  Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next.  Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately.  be gentle so that you may never oppose justice.  Be honorable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone.  Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.

All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.

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