Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December 1 -- St. Eligius

St.Eligius lived from 588 to 660.   At an early age he showed an unusual skill for art.  Having become noted as being one of the best goldsmiths of his time, King Clotaire asked him to make a throne of gold inlaid with precious stones.


Eligius found that the quantity of gold he received for the work was enough for two thrones.  Impressed with such honesty, the king appointed him master of his treasury.  When the king died, his son, Dagobert succeeded him and named Eligius his chief counselor.

During this time, St. Eligius would leave court to admire the order of  monastic life and feed the poor. After King Dagobert's death, he left court permanently to become a priest.

St. Eligius travelled throughout many regions of Flanders preaching to pagans, destroying their idols and founding many churches and monasteries.  On the feast of St. Peter,  as he was preaching the word of God, some village tribesmen threatened to kill him for such talk.  Instead of fleeing , St. Eligius redoubled his attack against their pagan superstitions.  When the mob took up stones to kill him, Eligius invoked  the aid of the Holy Spirit and immediately 50 of the attackers were possessed.  Seeing this, the rest of the crowd converted.  One year later,  St. Eligius returned, prayed to God, and sprinkled the possessed pagans with holy water.  Immediately, the devils left them and the whole people converted.

What does this brief account of St. Eligius life teach us? 

His sanctity shone with equal splendor when he crafted the precious thrones for the king or when he gave alms to the poor. He knew that it was within the order of God that a king should have pomp.  He knew that God desires that we are charitable with a charity that feeds the body and, more importantly the soul. In addition to giving alms for earthly livelihood, St. Eligius risked his life to teach the pagans how to gain Heaven.  He left the possessed pagans in their awful misery for an entire year because he knew that in this manner he could convert the entire region.

Let us ask St. Eligius for the perfect balance between justice and mercy.  Mercy for the good.  Justice for evil.

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