St Louis IX, King on Keeping a Vow

A vow is a promise* to God. King Louis IX knew this and demonstrated this to his subjects in a way they did not expect...

Jean Sieur de Joinville relates:

"...The Queen Mother and the Bishop of Paris (Guillaume d'Auvergne), as well as many of the nobles, tried hard to persuade Louis to give up his proposed Crusade and apply to the Pope for a dispensation. The Bishop was most insistent, urging that when Louis took the Cross he was still weak from sickness and not in possession of his faculties; he urged as political dangers the power of Emperor Frederick and the "deceitful coin " of the King of England, the treachery of the Poitevins, the heresies of the Albigenses: "Germany is disturbed; Italy is not at rest; in front the road to the Holy Land is blocked; behind is the inexorable hate of Frederick and the Pope; implacable feuds: to all this you leave us."

Said the Queen Mother: " Remember, my son, that God loves obedient children. Stay till thou canst go with a larger army; God is no caviller; thy excuse is that thy senses were dazed and thy wits wandering."

To this the King replied, " You say that weakness of wit was the cause of my taking the Cross; lo, then, since you desire it, here I lay down the Cross, I resign it to you," and putting his hand to his shoulder he tore off the badge and presented it to the Archbishop. At this there was a buzz of applause and congratulation from all who sat round. Then said the King, and his voice and face changed, " My friends, you agree now, do you not, that I am in full possession of my senses? that now at any rate I am sane in mind and body? Give me back then my Cross. For He who knows all things knows that no food shall pass my lips until my Cross is restored to me."

And when they that stood round heard this, they declared: " This was the finger of God." ...

Dieu le Roy,

*As opposed to a oath which ask God to witness. Breaking both is a serious offense to God. Example, marriage "vows" are not made to each other but to God, promising to Love, Cherish, and honour each other. This is why it is so important to make these vows in the presence of a Priest, or Deacon.

An example of a bad vow is Scarlett O'hara vowing to never be hungry again. One cannot state a vow for something over which one does not have control.

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