Sunday, January 07, 2007

You Knew I'd Choose St. Canute!

Today is a busy day on the Church calendar, for not only is it the Feast of the Epiphany but that of St. Raymund of Penafort. Still, deep down you knew that whether it began with a "K" (as Rockne spelled it) or a "C," I would choose to write about St. Canute.

Actually this Canute, St. Canute Lavard, is maybe the less popular of the two St. Canutes although both lead similar lives—and met similar fates. Canute Lavard was the second son of King Eric the Good of Denmark. Establishing a reputation for holiness from an early age (his countrymen nicknamed him "the Lord"), Canute was appointed Duke of southern Jutland by his Uncle, King Niels. He instituted a regime of Christian justice although his hope for peace in this region of Denmark was often thwarted by Viking invasions. At this time Canute also became good friends with St. Vicelin and aided him in his missionary activities with both financial and spiritual support. His strength as a ruler was soon recognized by Emperior Lothair III who named Canute "King of the western Wends" which angered Uncle (King) Niels to no end, since Niels was hoping to extend his reign and make the Wends his own. So less than two years later, the evil Niels ordered the assassination of the newly crowned Canute, and it was carried out by two of his power grabbing cousins on January 7th, 1131.

While some in the Anglican Church now argue that Canute wasn't truly a martyr because he was killed for political (a la John Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln) not religious reasons, his cult is still honored in the current Roman Martyrology. In any case, King Canute always championed the causes of the common man in his kingdom, and his life left a great legacy for future Knutes (and Rockne present-day fans) to follow. Thanks for your help Canute in getting me this latest Champions gig ... I have a feeling that, since this is a two-week rush job, I'll need the other St. Canute's (whose feast is January 19th) help on the back end as well. St. Canutes (and you too, Knute Rockne), Pray for Us!

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