Uncle Eddy's E-mails -- September 7
Saint Cloud, Abbot (entered heaven in 560)
I am flabbergasted by your naïveté. If only you and your cousins would study a little bit of HISTORY, you wouldn’t be so shocked and scandalized by the reality of evil in the world. The human heart, my innocent young niece, is capable of horrible atrocities (that goes for every human heart, your own included). This is both proof positive of the enlightening doctrine of Original Sin, and also undeniable evidence that we need a Savior. But it is NOT a good reason to abandon faith and hope. God can and does work amid evil, bringing good out of it. That’s the only reason he allows it to occur. Today’s saint is a good example of how the fragrant flower of goodness can emerge from the rancid soil of arrogant ambition.
Cloud was King Clovis’ grandson (King Clovis was the King of the Franks who converted to Catholicism in the fifth century and led his whole people to do the same, giving France the venerable title of “First Daughter of the Church”). His mother was St Clotilda and his father, Chlodomir, was one of three sons who had inherited various parts of the Frankish Kingdom. Unfortunately, Chlodomir died while Cloud and his two younger brothers were just boys, their inherited territories being temporarily administered by their two uncles. The latter got greedy and decided to usurp the boys’ kingdoms by murdering them. Their plot succeeded as regards the younger two, Theobald and Gunthaire (who were only ten and seven years old at the time), but Cloud escaped. In a symbolic gesture he cut off his own hair, thus renouncing the world and its violent, petty ambitions.
Eventually he became a monk under St Severinus and retired to Provence to get away from Paris, where he was so well known. But his piety and miracles made him equally famous in his new residence, so he returned, to the great delight of the Parisians, who valued his sanctity. There he served the poor and taught the ignorant, winning the favor of all (especially God) and being ordained to the priesthood. He finished his years (he died young, at 36) in the work of building a monastery south of Paris, called St Cloud’s, where his relics were kept.
God didn’t let himself be shocked by the horrendous crimes of St Cloud’s uncles, and neither did St Cloud. He responded to them with courage and determination, bent on fighting back with the much superior weapons of prayer, Christian love, and self-discipline. And though he lost his earthly Kingdom, he won much, much more. I hope you can manage to do the same, if not better.
Your loving uncle, Eddy
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