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Monday, 28 September 2009

Good King Wenceslaus

Thanks to the Christmas song, people in Britain at least know the name of the saint whose Mass I celebrated this evening. St Wenceslaus is the patron saint of the Czech Republic which Pope Benedict has been visiting.

Now we all know from "Good King Wenceslaus" that the page was able to keep warm in the snow by treading in the footsteps of the King which he was with him on their errand of mercy. St Alphonsus offers an explanation of why the King's footsteps were warm:
" ... tender indeed was the devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament of St. Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia. This holy king was so enamored of Jesus there present that he not only gathered wheat and grapes and made the hosts and wine with his own hands and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but even during the winter he used to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These visits enkindled in his beautiful soul such flames of Divine love that their ardour imparted itself even to his body and took from the snow on which he walked its wonted cold; for it is related that the servant who accompanied him in these nightly excursions, having to walk through the snow, suffered much from the cold. The holy King, on perceiving this, was moved to compassion and commanded him to follow him and only to step in his footmarks; he did so, and never afterwards felt the cold."
You can also read the sermon of Pope Benedict for today's feast day, which he gave after venerating the relics of St Wenceslaus in the basilica dedicated to the saint.
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