Election day in Louisiana will arrive soon, and we are hearing the usual grab-bag of worldly, utopian promises: better health care, more jobs, lower insurance rates, and so on. A just economy is a good thing, but it is also a secondary thing. What is of the utmost importance is the spiritual health of the people of Louisiana. What are candidates for office promising in this regard? Nothing. We are reversing the command of the Lord Jesus, ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you’ (St Matt. 6:33).
What could political officials do to help Louisianans seek and find the Kingdom of God? One of the most foundational is to lead the people in devotion to God. Immediately upon their being sworn in, they should convene a statewide gathering of Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox at the holy bone relic of St Martin of Tours at the St Martin de Tours Church in St Martinville to ask the Holy Saint to pray for their salvation and for the salvation of all in this State. St Martin is one of the main patron saints of France but who also did much to enlighten all of Western Europe and who was likely influenced in his monastic practices by the Desert Fathers of Africa; he is therefore a good choice for a patron saint of Louisiana as well. St Martinville ought to be the spiritual capital of Louisiana just as Baton Rouge is the political and New Orleans the economic.
Every year they should lead the people on pilgrimage to St Martin’s bone relic on his main feast day, Nov. 11th. They should install holy crosses and icons in public schools and in all other public buildings for the people to venerate, to sanctify our communal life. Days of major feasts of the Lord Jesus (not just Christmas and Easter, but also feasts like the Lord’s Baptism and Transfiguration, and the Elevation of the Holy Cross), His Most Pure Mother, and other major saints should become holidays. Local officials whose towns and parishes are named after saints or angels ought to make sure they are honored in a very public way. Monasticism should be encouraged to give the folk examples of the Christian life lived to its fullest extent (i.e., renunciation of the world) by the monks and nuns.
Things like this are being done in other countries: by Salvini in Italy, Orban in Hungary, Dodon in Moldova. The Polish government recently began phasing out commerce on Sundays. Louisiana ought to imitate them. For without a healthy Christian faith statewide, there will be no health in politics or economics, either.
Louisiana already has a religious ritual she follows, but it is not Christian. Its main centers of devotion are the Superdome and Tiger Stadium and the Governor’s Mansion, and its saints are Drew Brees, Zion Williamson, and Edwin Edwards. Its times and cycles of worship follow the ebb and flow of the sports and the political calendars. What we are proposing is therefore nothing new, only a re-orienting of the religious focus of Louisiana to proper objects of devotion.
So, then, next time you hear a political candidate talking about tax policy or roads or Medicare, ask him what he thinks of St Martin of Tours instead.
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!
Anathema to the Union!