In my youth, I learned invaluable lessons when I first read and digested Geoffrey of Monmouth’s A History of the Kings of Britain. This history is so rich and its persons so human that it applies to all citizens of the world, even the ones with no blood relation to the British. These kings, from Brutus to the valiant Arthur, from very early on carried the Lord’s favors, even before Britain’s adopting of Catholicism.
But it is King Leir who gladdens me most. It was he who allowed the flattery of his two oldest daughters to reach in his heart and cloud his judgement. When Cordelia refused to offer this same flattery, Leir married her off with a callousness unbefitting for a king. However, the Almighty granted him another chance to make right this wrong, and Leir died having amended his relationship with his virtuous daughter, and restoring his honour with the Lord.
It is clear to me, as a priest, that the Lord’s light shone upon the Britons from the very beginning. As early as Brutus, when his brother Corineus cast the giant Gogmagog off a cliff. But things from then on would get tough for Brutus’ people, since the Lord tests and challenges most those who He favors most.
Hard times came to the Britons when the Romans decided it no longer made sense to protect this island. When they left, the Britons having little military knowledge, these people were “plucked off by their foes like sheep by a wolf.” Vortigern, too, faced hard times. And Arthur as well. But it is the lessons embedded in these hard times that is most important for us to remember. The lessons of this particular history should be known to all the peoples of the world. Embrace these lessons. Learn. The Lord demands that of even his most lowly of servants.