St. Margaret of Scotland
Margaret of Scotland was a truly liberated woman in the sense that she was free to be herself. For her, that meant freedom to love God and serve others.
Not Scottish by birth, Margaret was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling. She spent much of her youth in the court of her great-uncle, the English king, Edward the Confessor. Her family fled from William the Conqueror and was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. King Malcolm befriended them and was captivated by the beautiful, gracious Margaret. They were married at the castle of Dunfermline in 1070.
Malcolm was good-hearted, but rough and uncultured, as was his country. Because of Malcolm's love for Margaret, she was able to soften his temper, polish his manners and help him become a virtuous king. He left all domestic affairs to her and often consulted her in state matters.
Margaret tried to improve her adopted country by promoting the arts and education. For religious reform she encouraged synods and was present for the discussions which tried to correct religious abuses common among priests and lay people, such as simony, usury and incestuous marriages. With her husband, she founded several churches.
Margaret was not only a queen, but a mother. She and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and other studies.
Although she was very much caught up in the affairs of the household and country, she remained detached from the world. Her private life was austere. She had certain times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly and slept little in order to have time for devotions. She and Malcolm kept two Lents, one before Easter and one before Christmas. During these times she always rose at midnight for Mass. On the way home she would wash the feet of six poor persons and give them alms. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them. It is recorded that she never sat down to eat without first feeding nine orphans and 24 adults.
In 1093, King William Rufus made a surprise attack on Alnwick castle. King Malcolm and his oldest son, Edward, were killed. Margaret, already on her deathbed, died four days after her husband.
There are two ways to be charitable: the "clean way" and the "messy way." The "clean way" is to give money or clothing to organizations that serve the poor. The "messy way" is dirtying your own hands in personal service to the poor. Margaret's outstanding virtue was her love of the poor. Although very generous with material gifts, Margaret also visited the sick and nursed them with her own hands. She and her husband served orphans and the poor on their knees during Advent and Lent. Like Christ, she was charitable the "messy way."
"When spoke, her conversation was with the salt of wisdom. When she was silent, her silence was filled with good thoughts. So thoroughly did her outward bearing correspond with the staidness of her character that it seemed as if she has been born the pattern of a virtuous life" (Turgot, St. Margaret's confessor).
Daily Prayer - 2015-11-16
I pause for a moment, aware that God is here.
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63
[From the descendants of Alexander's officers]
Responsorial Psalm PS 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158
R. (see 88) Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Alleluia Jn 8:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 18:35-43
As Jesus approached Jericho
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Margaret of Scotland (Optional Memorial)
Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me! (Luke 18:38)
The blind man in today's Gospel reading did more than mutter under his breath. He shouted! He ignored all the voices that said, "Stop making a fuss! Just accept your lot in life. Just bear your cross." He probably even ignored the thoughts in his mind that told him he wasn't worth healing, he deserved to be blind, or he wasn't important enough for Jesus to notice. He drowned them out, stubbornly pounding on the door of God's heart. And he was not disappointed.
Know this: God always wants to heal and restore. He wants to touch us at our sorest points, our most vulnerable, limiting position, and relieve the pain. This is why Jesus exhorts us to ask, seek, and knock. He never says, "Sorry, that's just too hard for me" or "You really have no business asking me to do that for you." He never turns his back on anyone who comes to him.
So what do you do when you've asked and pleaded for years, but your prayers never seem to be answered? You keep asking! You keep crying out to the Lord. You keep believing that God is good and that he has only good intentions for you. You confess that he who made light shine out of darkness will also shine through your life—both in healing and in patient endurance. Because God really is healing us, all the time.
Even as we endure a long-term illness or an emotional wound, our lives are being shaped. The question is "How will we be shaped?" By clinging to the Lord in faith, we can grow in compassion. We can become vessels of his love and presence. But if we give up, we risk becoming bitter and resigned. If we draw from the well of God's grace and presence, we will find courage, good humor, and consolation. But if we withdraw, we risk becoming preoccupied by our challenges, blind and deaf to the needs and joys of the people around us.
So always keep before you the image of the blind man who, when healed, was full of praise for the Lord. Because God is with you at every step, you can be sure that he is a good, good God!
"Lord, heal me! Open my eyes today to see how you are working in my life."
1 Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63
The 5 minutos said today:
"Are we those that help others know that Jesus is passing by, or do we ignore their yells? If we are followers of Christ, shouldn't we imitate His attitude of attention to the blind on the edges of the road? Do we know how to stop and help them who are in search and want to see? Or are we only interested for the sane and nice looking and don't bother no one? On certain occasion the good Neftali called his little grandson Samuel and said
"Samuel, pay attention, open your ears. When a person suffers alone, the suffering weighs much more. Do you understand me?"
-Yes, I understand. People suffer much more when they are alone.
"But when someone asks them "my how you suffer, brother, what's the matter? Does he begin to see something?"
-Yes Grandpa! He is taking up the pain of the friend with his eyes.
"And if he was blind, would he be able to see it, take it in too?"
-Yes, with the two ears.
"And if he was blind and deaf?"
-Well, with the hands...
"Suppose that the friend is far away, unable to extend a hand, that he is blind, unable to see, that he is deaf, unable to hear, and has no hand to be able to touch. Even so, would there be a way to take in the pain of the brother and accept it as yours?"
The disciple thought and answered:
-Yes, I believe so. You can guess.
The old Neftali was made glad and concluded:
"And so it is. Whoever has a profound sensibility even guesses the suffering of his brother"
The first Holy Scripture said that the people of God turned their backs on Him, allying themselves with the nation/kingdom of the times. They agreed to let go of their customs and beliefs in exchange to be "one with the others". Question is, what are you exchanging? And for what? I finished praying a rosary while driving down the highway. I arrived at a store and walked in with the rosary hanging on my arm. As the clerk came to attend me, I quickly put away the rosary, draping it on my pocket. Question is though always wearing on my mind. Why did I do that? Why would I basically hide what I was doing? People wear rosaries as a fashion statement, but I don't. I carry it as a reminder to always pray. Now this is a basic example of how we are exchanging our faith, to look cool we put away our faith. To not cause a scene in this "neutral" world, we put away our faith. What happens if we keep hiding our faith? Look no further than what happens in the past. Once you get neutral with the devil, the devil goes on the attack. Such is the probablities of our nations. The devil wants you to get neutral, take down your faith, will you let it happen? It wants you to take it down a notch, in exchange for something else, a false peace. It wants you to not see the truth, even though truth is right in front of you.
The Psalms pray today "Give me life O Lord, and I will do your commands". This responsorial Psalm today is a precursor of the Word that will become a reality. What do you suppose "Give me life O Lord" means? Because we are already alive and reading this, so how can you be praying for life? It must mean then what is fundamentally important...the Spirit. Give me the Spirit, the Holy Spirit O Lord, a life with You O Lord, a life for You O Lord, your grace O Lord, and I will do your commands. Notice the two words "I will". The will shall be formed, and this is our formation time. Will we be formed into Him? Will we be transformed? A poor man from Jericho was, and so can we!
The Lord walked through Jericho, tons of people on the road that He walked through, and one was screaming some of the most important words we express in every Holy Mass across the world, basically "Have Mercy On Me", have mercyon us. The poor man kept on and on after they told him Jesus was right there. From that moment, He believed. No, he didn't have sight, physical sight yet, but he already saw Jesus in his heart. This was already the miracle that made him cry out to our Lord in complete and utter faith. To which, the incessant cries arrived to the Lord's beautiful ears and came up to the poor man and asked the most beautiful question a loving father could ask his child "what do you want ME to do for YOU?". This flies in the face of the dissident children, the disobeying children, and even in the face of the Jewish people that believed you were in sin and that's why you had a physical disability or infirmity. That's who Jesus was reaching out to right here and right now. Can you feel the Father walking up to you right now? What do you want me to do for you? With a cry without tears the answer came "Lord, let me see". As if to say, "Lord, let me see your face, I have been in anguish and darkness for such a long time, I have suffered tremendously, people do not care for me, nobody cares, and I need to see so I can know that love exists, please Lord, I am dying inside and my body hasn't died, I just want to see that there is hope that makes me call out and cry out to You...please Lord, let me see..." These are the words the Lord must've felt, because He is sensible and sensitive to suffering. You can be like this too. Out of the blue I've called people that the Holy Spirit yearned me to do. I remember I called a man and said "I don't know why I'm calling you, are you ok?' and he almost broke into tears, this man that you'd never expect to ever see cry. Lately he has been recovering from cirrhosis of the liver, all the alcoholism taking a toll on his body he thought he'd never see deteriorate. At work I asked if I could pray for a coworker and they almost left crying, "how did you know I needed that?". It is not me. I have simply made myself available to Him. I am on constant "standby" mode, because the Lord has said "Stand By Me". This is the realms of Heaven, angels at work, and they work harder than evil. We are in good company. Here's a message for you "let us see together". Jesus said "Have sight, your faith has saved you". All that time you made yourself available to Him, it was worth it. It IS worth it. Speaking to God is natural. When the blind man saw, with Jesus standing in front of him, the first thing he saw was love, because Jesus is God and God is Love. He fell in love with Love and followed Love for the rest of his life, because his life from then on was transformed, and he was a living testimony of faith. Faith is action. Faith is not an idea. Faith is our bond with God, and this bond is Love because we become who we hang out with, whether in body or spirit.
It is an absolute pleasure to look alive and be alive in real life..the Spirit of the Lord. We are His delight and we delight ourselves in Him. Let us rejoice and be Glad in Him!
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