Thursday, February 20, 2014

St. Eucherius of Orleans

Here I am a day behind, let me tell you, that has been my week.  Yesterday was spent trying to help my middle child -- trying to find the best way to help him succeed in school and reach his enormous potential, that right now is resting dormant under a pile of his frustration.  Ug!  I wish my time machine was working, so I could go ahead and look at cause and effect, instead I am stuck wondering what I should do and how I should progress with everthing.  Being a mom can be hard.  All you want to do is love them and help them, but sometimes that window into the future would be nice. 

Happy Feast of St. Eucherius of Orleans!

Eucherius was bishop of Orleans, France, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Before that, he was born into a noble family and his parents gave him to God at a young age and fostered his love of the Lord in every way they could.  This included sending him to study in a manner which would help form is heart and mind in faith.  He studied St. Paul's writings and went to an abbey in Normandy for a life of obedience.  His uncle who was Bishop of Orleans then passed away and Eucherius was chosen to fill the vacant position.  This was not the life Eucherius would have wanted.  He was a man who believed in the denial of worldly wants and had resolved to quit the world in order to focus on his life of obedience.  Charles Martel, mayor of the palace in the Frankish kingdom, was to be Eucherius' arch enemy, so to speak.  Charles' kingdom was engaged in wars and stripped the church of it's revenues and property to defray the costs.  Naturally, Eucherius was opposed to this and made his opinion known to all.  Eucherius was exiled to Germany, which as any study of history will tell you, only made our saint more popular.  He was then held captive at Liege, but was later allowed to retire to an abbey in the Netherlands.  An earlier vision of Saint Eucherius' was reported after his death--this is interesting--wile praying the saint had been shown the suffering of those in hell.  While witnessing this he saw none other than Charles Martel.  He sent some brothers to check the tomb of Charles to see if he was actually there.  Upon opening, a dragon rushed out and
the inside of the tomb was blackened, as if it had been burned.  These were used as evidence that first, the vision was accurate and second, that Charles had actually been condemned to hell for his actions.

I love this kind of saint story!!!  Probably not what I should say about this, but in all honesty, it is exactly the kind of story I want to read in the morning.  Action, adventure, a good plot and story line.  It reads like a good novel.  I have visions of the good and virtuous bishop opposing the evil and destructive ruler who is leading their kingdom into ruin with his unceasing need for more land and power.  Driving his kingdom into bankruptcy and stealing from the church to cover his deceit from his people.  When the Evil ruler finally dies, the good bishop in a dream sees a vision....and it goes on from there.  Let me tell you, I could research this and have a wonderfully unproductive day.  So beyond a wonderful story, what is Eucherius teaching us?  Or better yet, is our lesson coming from Charles Martel himself?  I find Charles a good teacher, don't steal from the church or you'll go to hell.  We already knew that.  But the story I see is that when you are good and virtuous, when you stand up for your values, even when it's hard, you will find your eternal reward.  If we are to be completely honest with ourselves, how many of us would have stood up against Charles?  I'm sure if Eucherius would have been less virtuous, he would have been well compensated, several bishops throughout history were.  But, then again, where are they now?  My prayer for all of us today is to stand up for what is right.  Not just when it's easy, but all of the time.  We have elections right now, research those who are seeking position in your schools, cities, counties, states and federal government.  Really pray about what you are about to do and let God lead the way. 

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