St. Ludger was born in northern Europe in the eighth century. After he had studied hard for many years, he was ordained a priest. Ludger began to travel far and wide preaching the Good News. He was very happy to share all that he had learned about God with everyone who listened to him. Pagans were converted and Christians began to live much better lives. St. Ludger built many churches and monasteries.
Then suddenly barbarians called Saxons attacked his land and drove the priests out. It seemed as though all St. Ludger's work would be lost. But he would not give up. He first found a safe place for his disciples. Then he went to Rome to ask the Holy Father what he should do.
For over three years, Ludger lived in the Benedictine monastery as a good, holy monk. But he did not forget his people at home. As soon as he could get back into his country, Ludger returned and continued his work. He labored very hard and converted many of the pagan Saxons.
When he was made a bishop, Ludger gave an even better example by his great kindness and piety. Once, jealous men spoke against him to King Charlemagne. The king ordered him to come to court to defend himself. Ludger went obediently to the castle. The next day, when the king sent for him, Ludger said he would come as soon as he had finished his prayers. King Charlemagne was angry at first. But St. Ludger explained that although he had great respect for the king, he knew that God came first. "Your Majesty will not be angry with me," he said, "for you yourself have told me always to put God first." At such a wise answer, the king realized that Ludger was very holy. From then on, Charlemagne admired and loved him very much.
St. Ludger died on Passion Sunday in 809. He performed his duties in the service of God even on the day he died.
Remember in your prayers Christians who live in fear of persecution-and for their religious and civil leaders.