Worship what you burned

Daily Reading for October 1 • Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530

Then the queen asked saint Remi, bishop of Rheims, to summon Clovis secretly, urging him to introduce the king to the word of salvation. And the bishop sent for him secretly and began to urge him to believe in the true God, maker of heaven and earth, and to cease worshipping idols, which could help neither themselves nor any one else. But the king said: “I gladly hear you, most holy father; but there remains one thing: the people who follow me cannot endure to abandon their gods; but I shall go and speak to them according to your words.” He met with his followers, but before he could speak the power of God anticipated him, and all the people cried out together: “O pious king, we reject our mortal gods, and we are ready to follow the immortal God whom Remi preaches.” This was reported to the bishop, who was greatly rejoiced, and bade them get ready the baptismal font.

The squares were shaded with tapestried canopies, the churches adorned with white curtains, the baptistery set in order, the aroma of incense spread, candles of fragrant odor burned brightly, and the whole shrine of the baptistery was filled with a divine fragrance: and the Lord gave such grace to those who stood by that they thought they were placed amid the odors of paradise. And the king was the first to ask to be baptized by the bishop. . . . And when he entered to be baptized, the saint of God began with ready speech: “Gently bend your neck, Sigamber; worship what you burned; burn what you worshipped.” . . . And so the king confessed all-powerful God in the Trinity, and was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and was anointed with the holy ointment with the sign of the cross of Christ.

From History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours (539-594). The entire text may be found at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/gregory-hist.html.

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