A Life of Sacrifice
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
By the time Blessed Emperor Karl was exiled to the island of Madeira his life was already one of making sacrifices for others.
He lost his homeland, empire and throne. His own people confiscated his private money and possessions. Penniless, friendless, and unable to earn a living, he had a wife and seven children, with another one on the way, to support. He was forced to live under foreign control on a far away island in a disagreeably damp house that was not inhabitable. Yet, despite all of these trials he was heroically ready to make sacrifices for others.
The only sacrifice finally remaining to Emperor Karl was to offer his life. Through his prayers, he became convinced that God wanted him to make the ultimate sacrifice of his life for the salvation of his peoples.
Throughout his life, and during his tribulations, the Emperor went to daily Communion whenever possible. Even at the end of his life, he continued this custom and in conjunction with the host on the paten, which becomes the Holy Sacrifice of the Divine Lamb of God, he offered himself up completely to the Will of the Father for the salvation of his peoples.
The Emperor’s favorite church on Madeira was Nossa Senhora do Monte, which could be seen from miles away. Once he was speaking to his wife while the church was in their view. He stated that God demanded that he give his life for the good of his peoples. The stunned Empress was speechless, but with resolve in his eyes the Emperor looked at the church and said: “I will do it!”
Soon thereafter, God accepted the Emperor’s vow when he suddenly became ill and suffered an early death. The prophetic words uttered by Pope Saint Pius X upon meeting Karl when he was just a young archduke, were fulfilled: “I bless Archduke Karl who will be the future Emperor of Austria and who will help lead his countries and peoples to great honor and many blessings— but this will not become obvious until after his death.”
My Lord and God, I thank You for the sacrifice Emperor Karl made of his life. Help me to follow his selfless example and not refuse You any sacrifice You may require of me. Hear my petitions and grant my request [mention your intention here] through the intercession of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria.
[Hail Mary. Our Father. Glory Be.]