Friday, October 16, 2009

The Forgiveness of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette

The hallmark of a Christian is charity involves the ability to forgive. Whatever faults and flaws Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette may have had, there can be no doubt that they bore wrongs patiently and forgave their enemies in a Christ-like manner. As Louis XVI stated in his Last Will and Testament, written on Christmas Day, 1792, less than a month before he was killed:
I pardon with all my heart those who made themselves my enemies, without my having given them any cause, and I pray God to pardon them, as well as those who, through false or misunderstood zeal, did me much harm.
The king did not want to be avenged.
I exhort my son, should he have the misfortune of becoming king, to remember he owes himself wholly to the happiness of his fellow citizens; that he should forget all hates and all grudges, particularly those connected with the misfortunes and sorrows which I am experiencing....
Marie-Antoinette's forgiveness has an especially supernatural aura. When the queen wrote her last letter to her sister-in-law, she was hours away from death. She had been put through the ordeal of a humiliating trial, designed to break her will. Her little son had been dragged from her arms and tormented into accusing his own mother of unnatural crimes. That Marie-Antoinette was able to forgive the monsters who had tried to destroy her by corrupting her little boy surely required a special grace from God. Here are her words:
I beg pardon of all whom I know, and especially of you, my sister, for all the vexations which, without intending it, I may have caused you. I pardon all my enemies the evils that they have done me.
Not only does the queen forgive but she asks forgiveness. Humility and compunction drown any bitterness or recriminations, although certainly in her agony she experienced the full range of emotions. Christian love overcomes hatred; only someone who sincerely believed in and loved Jesus Christ could make that leap from hellish circumstances to the heights of courage, love, and martyrdom.
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12 comments:

Marissa said...

+JMJ+

The more I read your blog, Elena, the more I am incredulous that both Louis and Marie Antoinette have not yet been raised to the altar. (Then again, it took even longer for St. Joan d'Arc.)

maryrose said...

I have been reading the autobiography of Ven. Catherine Anne Emmerich. As a child she was brought by her angel to the prison cell of Marie Antoinette and she was requested to pray and do penance for the Queen who she saw in great distress. She also saw by bilocation the beheading of Louis. Obviously the chosen souls in the world were used to sustain the King and Queen in their great trial.

elena maria vidal said...

Indeed, Marissa!

MaryRose, I never knew that!! Fascinating!!

SF said...

I'm learning the truth about Louis and Marie-Antoinette from your blog.

Thank you.

Julygirl said...

They had to have been saints to not want to seek revenge on those who tormented and tortured them. As for me, alas, I struggle to not wish calamity upon those who have hurt me, and to pray for them instead. It is amazing, though, that praying for someone who wishes you harm neutralizes the animosity one feels for them.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, and I think the real challenge for a parent is to forgive those who have injured one's children.

tubbs said...

a bit of the subject, M E, but what does "en gaulle" mean in reference to the Vigee-leBrun portrait? thanks

elena maria vidal said...

It means simple attire, the dress of a serving maid.

lara77 said...

I cannot help but wonder that if Louis XVI had been successful and the many reforms France needed had been achieved what a great reign both King Louis XVI and all France would have enjoyed. An intelligent, religious and compassionate king who was fascinated by science and learning in general. How sad for King Louis XVI and even more tragic for France; one could never imagine the violence that would soon engulf the nation.

Matterhorn said...

Forgiveness is hard for me so I am all the more in awe of it. And yes, the King and Queen were sublime examples in this regard.

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

Forgiveness is hard.

I find French history fascinating.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Reminds me that Marie Antoinette was martyred the feast of Sts Edwiga of Bavaria and Marie Marguérite Alacoque. Also the day St Maria Goretti expired.