St Leonard of Noblac

(entered heaven around the year 559)

Dear Lenny,

I have to be selfish today, and ask you to make a special visit to the chapel to implore today’s saint’s intercession on my behalf.  He is patron saints of prisoners and POWs, and I consider myself both, although the “war” in which I was (and still am) serving is not of the conventional type.  And I implore to remember me in your prayers, because prayers matter. I know it’s hard for a successful college senior at one of America’s best universities to keep that in mind, since you have a knack for achieving things by your own effort.  Nevertheless, it’s true, and you ought to be glad you have an uncle like me to remind you. After all, what everlasting accomplishment can you achieve with your own effort alone? None save earning a ticket to hell, to put it bluntly. It’s true, salvation, eternal happiness, heavenly rewards for you and for others, conversions of heart, repentance from sins… All such achievements (the most worthwhile, by a long longshot) can be accomplished solely with the aid of God’s grace, and one surefire way to draw down God’s grace is through prayer.  It’s a lesson we do well to remember, and today’s saint can help us.

He was one of King Clovis I’s best warriors, one of his courtiers.  And when the Frankish King found himself hard set upon by the wrath of an invading army, his wife and Queen, who happened to be a Christian (St Clotilde) made a discreet suggestion to Leonard: “Why don’t you pray to the Christian God for heavenly aid?”  Leonard did (a sign of wise humility), and the tide of battle turned, giving Clovis the victory. This miracle was a key ingredient later in St Remigius’ recipe for converting Clovis, Leonard, and 1000 other of the King’s men to the Christian faith. Thus was born the eldest “daughter of the Church” in Europe, Christian France.

Leonard and his brother took that one taste of Christianity and ever after couldn’t get enough of it.  They both became monks, dedicating themselves to prayer, penance, and serving the poor – Leonard always showing a special compassion for prisoners.  And that’s why I think that if you and my other nephews and nieces importune him, I may be back in action before year’s end. But in any case, God’s will be done.

Your loving uncle, Eddy

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