21 October 2008

Feast of Bl. Charles of Austria

Lt. Colonel James Bogle, a Knight of Malta in Great Britain, together with his wife Joanna wrote a wonderful book on the life of Blessed Charles and his wife, Empress Zita. He gave a condensed version along with his first hand description of the Beatification Mass in 2004 which was published in the The Remnant newspaper in 2005. You can read the whole story here and below are a few excerpts. I also posted on him last year which you can read by following the label for this post below.

Successor of the Roman Emperors of that Roman Empire of the christened Constantine I, of the Catholic Byzantium of Justinian and, lastly, of Charlemagne, the progenitor of that empire that truly did last for 1,000 years from Christmas Day 800 AD until its dissolution under the attacks of the Bonapartist Republicans in 1806,the Blessed Emperor Charles is indeed a most fitting exemplar of Christian chivalry.

I shall recount a little of the events of these days but I first invite you to consider the time in which Divine Providence chose to unfold His revelation of the beatitude of His servant and chevalier.

The Feast Day of the Blessed Emperor Charles had been chosen by the Holy Father, at the behest of the Habsburg family, to be 21 October, being not the day of his death but rather the day of his wedding to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. Empress Zita herself had two sisters who were cloistered nuns in the convent of St. Cecilia at Ryde on the Isle of Wight – a Benedictine convent still much blessed by God and most worthy of a visit.

It comes therefore but 10 days before the Feast of Christ the King in the old calendar and 1 month before the same feast in the new calendar. Friday 8 October 2004is the Feast of St. Birgitta (Bridget) of Sweden, Princess of Nericia of the House of Persson, Bengtsdotter and Gudmarsson. Our Lord in vision appeared to her and
gave her the most harrowing descriptions of his Passion and of the Passion of the Blessed Virgin – harrowing but imbued with the deepest mystical significance. Our Lord was at pains to extol to her the spirit of chivalry as the safest path leading to sainthood, the spirit of disinterested and self-denying service for the common good. He said to her, in a vision: “A knight who keeps the laws of his order is exceedingly dear to me. For if it is hard for a monk to wear his heavy habit, it is harder still for a knight to wear his heavy armour.” The Blessed Emperor Charles exemplified that chivalric spirit.

This spirit is meant to signify an interior attitude of the soul to accomplish God’s will whatever the cost, a disposition of mind whereby in the revelations of St. Birgitta the faithful knight and the self-denying, cloistered and most hidden nun or monk are at one. She explains that the Christian cavalier (or lady) gives his or her life to Christ and “orders his (or her) life according to the commandments of Christ, he represses the wicked and aids the humble in the community to obtain their rights. He shall therefore enter into everlasting joy; Christ Himself is the Head of the Christian knights’ army, the Holy Cross his royal banner and Christ’s passion is the fight against the enemy of mankind and his temptations.”

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