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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

King Baldwin, A Manly Inspiration for Femininity

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.
Specifically, a mother's life is full of calls for self-sacrifice.  Living on little sleep, constant calls for cheerful answers when she's tired and grumpy, enduring the aches of pregnancy, presenting herself as an offering in some way to every member of her family requires sacrifice.  But is not sacrifice however small the greatest, the most noble act after all?  King Baldwin realized this.  We can use every act of self-denial to imitate the sacrifice of Our Savior and the Blessed Mother- who sacrificed herself to become perpetually the Mother of God and us all.  All of the Saints sacrificed until they loved it.

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.

4 comments:

  1. Lovely post!!! Very inspiring! =)

    God Bless,
    Maddi

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is a great topic, doing one's duty. Doing one's duty used to be praised as a virtue, "So and so did their duty." Doing what God wants of us, and doing it well. So much sin and hardship would be avoided if we simply did our duty before God and men. We should not compare ourselves to others, thinking how much better it would be to have HIS/HER situation, but to embrace our state in life, to love it, and to do it well, with heroism, the spirit of sacrifice, and the spirit of the Cross, just like Our Lord Jesus Christ did, just like Our Blessed Mother did when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. That is, I think, a good Advent/Christmas meditation.

    Also, he was never canonized as a saint. But I hope he will be someday and he certainly is still an example for us today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for correcting that he was not a saint, I am going to change that now. Also, I always appreciate your insight. Salve Maria!

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