King Louis IX of France was a model of what Catholic leadership should and can be. Crowned King of France at the age of 11, he ruled for over 44 years. A monarch, husband, father, Franciscan Tertiary and soldier; he exercised his authority with faith and great humility, earning the devotion of his people.
A letter from St. Louis to his son reveals a great deal about the heart of this sainted King:
My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.
If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank Him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend Him in the matter of his gifts.
Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits He has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth.
Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father.
In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a sons. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do His will so that He may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see Him, love Him and praise Him unceasingly. Amen.
My sons and daughters are very familiar with this letter. It will be read yet again, today.
Good St. Louis, please pray for our world leaders. May God grant them the same faith, courage, conviction and humility which you demonstrated so beautifully throughout your life.