S. Margaret of Scotland| S. Gertrude the Great| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
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 [Margaret] 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).
Gertrude, a Benedictine nun in Helfta (Saxony), was one of the great mystics of the 13th century. Together with her friend and teacher St. Mechtild, she practiced a spirituality called "nuptial mysticism," that is, she came to see herself as the bride of Christ. Her spiritual life was a deeply personal union with Jesus and his Sacred Heart, leading her into the very life of the Trinity.
But this was no individualistic piety. Gertrude lived the rhythm of the liturgy, where she found Christ. In the liturgy and in Scripture, she found the themes and images to enrich and express her piety. There was no clash between her personal prayer life and the liturgy.
Gertrude's life is another reminder that the heart of the Christian life is prayer: private and liturgical, ordinary or mystical, always personal.
"Lord, you have granted me your secret friendship by opening the sacred ark of your divinity, your deified heart, to me in so many ways as to be the source of all my happiness; sometimes imparting it freely, sometimes as a special mark of our mutual friendship. You have so often melted my soul with your loving caresses that, if I did not know the abyss of your overflowing condescensions, I should be amazed were I told that even your Blessed Mother had been chosen to receive such extraordinary marks of tenderness and affection" (Adapted from The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude).
Turn to God:
If we find ourselves in a negative situation, we can trust that God has already provided what we need to fulfill our role. We can keep turning to God and then keep taking the next right step. We can be who we are. God can use us when we are true to our own nature.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Let us act in such a way that God sees only the good in us.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.
It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.
As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.
Reflection 320: A Zealous Heart
One of the easiest things you can do in life is be lazy. Imagine if you had no responsibilities, had all the wealth you could ever want and could spend your days in luxury and relaxation. This would foster a very lazy heart and it would also foster a very sad heart. Rest is good, but excessive rest can turn into laziness and laziness ultimately becomes very boring. This fact reveals the opposite truth also. Namely, a zealous heart is one that finds great excitement in the activities of the day. Though some may become obsessed with work, becoming a “workaholic,” an appropriate balance of rest and work produces the virtue of a zealous heart. Are you zealous? There are many things one can be zealous about in life, and not all of them good or within the Will of God. But zeal for the salvation of souls, and the bringing forth of the Kingdom of God is a zeal we must all strive to foster. In fact, our Lord wants you to have this as the highest priority in life. As you grow in holiness and closeness to our Lord, He will send you forth cultivating the Earth with His Mercy. Doing this with great zeal wins many souls for the Kingdom and produces abundant joy in your heart (See Diary #1548).
Do you struggle with a lazy heart or a zealous one? If lazy, look at the effects of this in your life. The boredom and dissatisfaction you experience is a direct result. If, however, you are zealous and diligent in life, what is it you are zealous for? Reflect upon this honestly today and seek to grow in a burning zeal for the building up of the Kingdom of God.
Lord, I offer to You all my work and my talents. Use them for Your glory. Help me to have true zeal for Your Kingdom and to work tirelessly for Your glory. Jesus, I desire to be an instrument of Your perfect Mercy in the world. Use me as You will. Jesus, I trust in You.