Baldwin IV was a great crusader and King
despite his young age and leprosy.
Do people today even know what duty is, let
alone do it with such heroism?
I just finished reading a short novel on the life of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem. As a boy he contracted leprosy, became king, fought tremendous battles in the Holy Land and finally died of his disease at twenty-four. His story is the most marvelous example of fortitude I have ever read- he never strayed from his duty.
But how is such manly heroism an inspiration for femininity? As I read King Baldwin's story I was continuously struck by the simplicity of always doing what is right and at the same time the great self-discipline this requires. How many people can go through life always doing their duty? How many people today even know what their duty is? We are corrupted by selfishness and indulgence to the extent that we don't even try! King Baldwin was surrounded by bad people and he persevered consistently, at a very young age, through the greatest horrors and pain of this world- seemingly without flinching. This is truly greatness for man or woman! This is truly a feat impossible without supernatural grace.
Women dedicated to the apostolate of femininity must marvel at manly heroism and support it with womanly heroism. What is womanly heroism? And how does it apply today? The answer to this is like King Baldwin- at once very simple and very great. We must do our duty: obey the laws God, the laws of the Church, the laws of marriage, the customs of our family and heritage, the minute calling of our changing daily errands. These things themselves are simple, but the constant adherence to duty is hard. We must strive for perfection in every little thing until we can realize that self-discipline is ultimately getting rid of ourselves and filling up with God. The little way of St. Therese of Liseux is an example of this, as are the great acts of King Baldwin.
Even a "little act" like praying the family Rosary requires self-denial as
proven by how few families actually keep up the practice today.
We as women are able to glorify God with femininity more than in any other way because He made this our duty. This concept requires taking up our cross every second, whether it is the cross of being different and old-fashioned, the cross of public prayer and reparation or the cross of preparing breakfast or starting the family rosary with little energy and inspiration. We must learn to love the cross. It is life changing in a very literal way.