February 25 -- St. Ethelbert of Kent
In the 6th century, St. Augustine of Canterbury and a group of missionaries were sent to pagan England by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
Upon arrival, they processed carrying a silver cross and singing litanies asking God to save this people. Soon they began to preach the Gospel in the court of King Ethelbert who welcomed them with the following words:
"Your words and promises are very beautiful. But because they are new and uncertain, I cannot approve them and leave everything that I along with all my people have followed for so long a time. However, since you traveled from afar and made a long journey in order to share with us what you deem to be truer and better, I will not place obstacles in your way, but will receive you well and offer what is necessary for your subsistence. Nor will I impede you from bringing to your religion all those whom you are able to persuade."
True to his word, St. Ethelbert provided lodging and food for his guests. Evidently, the King's heart was touched by St. Augustine from the beginning. Impressed with the behavior and doctrine of the monks, St. Ethelbert converted bringing a large number of his people to the Catholic faith as well as the two Kings from neighboring kingdoms. Thereafter, his example was responsible for the fact that no other nation gave the Church so many saintly Kings as did England.
The life of King St. Ethelbert shows that God sends His grace for anyone to understand that the Catholic faith is the true religion. Let us pray that those who are given this grace do not deny it.