King Louis XVI, Queen Marie-Antoinette and Almgiving

In her book Trianon, Elena-Maria carefully researched the persons of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Instead of finding an uncaring pair of despots she found them human and wrote about them as they were. The royal couple lived scripture, and because of it they were attacked by calumny and libel. Elena-Maria has today posted an article about Alms giving, the third of those devotions(1) we are to undertake during Lent.

...Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee... (2)

...During Lent we recall the duties of every Christian to apply themselves more fervently to almsgiving. In pre-revolutionary France it was for the King and the Queen to give an example to everyone else in this regard. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette took this duty seriously and throughout their reign did what they could to help the needy.

At the fireworks celebrating the marriage of the young prince and princess in May 1774, there was a stampede in which many people were killed. Louis and Antoinette gave all of their private spending money for a year to relieve the suffering of the victims and their families. They became very popular with the common people as a result, which was reflected in the adulation with which they were received when the Dauphin took his wife to Paris on her first "official" visit in June 1773. Marie-Antoinette's reputation for sweetness and mercy became even more entrenched in 1774, when as the new Queen she asked that the people be relieved of a tax called "The Queen's belt," customary at the beginning of each reign. "Belts are no longer worn," she said. It was only the onslaught of revolutionary propaganda that would eventually destroy her reputation. More...

Thank You and and a tip of the beret to Elena-Maria Vidal.

Roi, Foi, Dieu.

(1) The other two are, Fasting and Prayer.
(2) Matt, 6: 1-4, Douay-Reims Bible

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