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Life of a Saint

Bohemian Saint: Good King Wenceslas, Part 1 of 2

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Saint Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia, is well known from the popular 1853 Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas.” The carol was written to celebrate Saint Stephen’s Day, or “Boxing Day,” traditionally a day for charity and benevolence following Christmas Day. The duke’s martyrdom and life story gave rise to his reputation for heroic virtue that resulted in his elevation to sainthood. He was posthumously declared to be a king and the patron Saint of the Czech Republic.

Born in 907 in Prague, Saint Wenceslas was also known as Vyacheslav. He was a descendant of the Přemysl family, who reigned from 800 to 1306 and were the first house to rule Bohemia and its lands. In 925 Saint Wenceslas took control of the kingdom and ruled justly and wisely at the young age of 18. He assigned a considerable amount of territory to his brother Boleslaus. Being a peace-loving and well-educated man with sound knowledge of Latin and Greek, Saint Wenceslas showed great concern for the Christian enlightenment of his people. He helped to build churches, including a magnificent one in the name of Saint Vitus in Prague, the Czech capital. Saint Wenceslas was charitable to the poor, feeding and clothing them. He was hospitable to travelers and loved all his people without discrimination. He recalled priests from exile and welcomed missionaries.

During a lecture in 2007, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained how the quality of a country’s leadership is sometimes destined by Heaven. “The day before, I told you that, sometimes it is God’s will that the king or government leader of a certain country is good or bad. Understand? If they are good, it is because the citizens there have blessings. If they are bad, the citizens there have to check themselves. Practice introspection to see whether their country has done anything harmful to others. Is their legal system a fair one? Have they bullied the weak or small? All citizens need to check themselves. The government there also needs to check itself. If they have checked themselves, repented, and rectified themselves, then the bad king or leader definitely will not stay there for long. Naturally they will be replaced by someone else. Otherwise, they will have to continue to suffer.

So, if the leader or king of a certain country is bad, it is not his fault alone; it is God’s will. The people themselves have to be good; try to be good people; fulfill their obligations, and help others, and live a noble life. If they can do that, very soon God will send a good king or good leader to them. All right! So, we spiritual practitioners are truly very helpful to our country. The more spiritual practitioners we have in a country, the better the government will be. It is really like that.”
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