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St Henry II
Emperor, (entered heaven in 1024)
Your sense of relief is somewhat disturbing. I commend you for your generosity in giving God and the Church the first chance, but now that two years of seminary have made it clear to the rector that God is not calling you to the religious life or the priesthood, that doesn’t mean you’re “off the hook,” as you half-jokingly put it in your last note. However you end up putting your considerable talents to use, your first obligation remains holiness; just because God is not calling you to the cloister does not mean he is not calling you to be a saint. As a matter of fact, he needs you to be a saint; how will you be able to fulfill the mission in his Kingdom that he has reserved just for you if you fail in your relationship with God? St Henry never made that mistake (happy saint’s day, by the way), and I beg him to give you enough prayer cover so you don’t either.
They say that Henry once approached the abbot of a monastery in Verdun, France (the Holy Roman Empire at the time included parts of modern Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungry, and France – the poor Emperor had a lot on his agenda) and entreated him to let him make a vow of obedience and become a monk. The abbot accepted his vow of obedience and then proceeded to order him (under obedience) to continue ruling the Empire in a way worthy of and pleasing to God. So he returned to the throne and wielded his considerable power strictly to serve the good of his subjects, establishing new churches, rectifying church-state relations, uprooting corruption, providing for the peace and security necessary for prosperity – in short, dispatching the duties of his office in accordance with his status as a child of God and soldier of Christ. When he died at the young age of 54 and met his Lord (the real Emperor) face to face, then he received the true, everlasting crown, which he had won by his fidelity to God’s will.
So you see, my dear nephew, the great adventure of your life is just beginning; vacation won’t come until you get to heaven.
Your devoted Uncle, Eddy