Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to ”spreading the Good News” by educating others about Jesus Christ. His new homilies are posted each week.
Manage episode 215477227 series 1151135
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If someone asked if you to describe your political leaders or country rulers would you be able to say they are spiritual ambassadors who stand up for the sanctity of marriage and have an uncanny need to help the poor. Even to the extent of pulling money from their own pockets and giving it to them? St. Stephen of Hungary was one such ruler. He used his considerable political and military skills to help Christianize the country and is the most important of Hungary's Christian Kings and their spiritual patron. Born to a pagan family, he was baptized when he was 10 years old. His father who was baptized at the same time as his son, was Chief of the Magyars, a group of raiders who had migrated to the Danube are a century before. When he succeeded his father he established Christianity as the official religion of his country for both political and religious reasons. He petitioned Pope Silvester II to provide for the Church's organization in Hungary and also requested that the Pope confer the title of King upon him. The Pope agreed and he was crowned on Christmas day in the year 1001. Stephen now King instituted a system of tithes to help support Churches and Pastors as well as help relive the poor. He established a law declaring that one out of every ten towns in his kingdom must now build a church support a priest. He abolished pagan customs and commanded all to marry, except for clergy and religious and made blasphemy and adultery crimes. He became a celebrity king to his people and was easily accessible to his entire kingdom. He had a special devotion to the poor and would often disguise himself as to not draw a large crowd so he could personally spend time and distribute alms to the poor and downtrodden people of Hungary. In 1031 when his son Emeric died Stephen mourned for a very long time, which took a toll on his health. Not having any other children he could not find anyone among his remaining relatives who would rule. His cousin and nephews who he had suspected to be following pagan customs attempted to assassinate Stephen as to steal the crown but they failed. On the feast of the Assumption on August 15 in the year 1038, without a living heir, on his deathbed he raised his right hand holding the Holy Crown of Hungary bestowed upon him by the Pope and prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to take the Hungarian people as her subjects and become their Queen. We now celebrate his feast day one day later on August 16th.