November 16, 2005

Margaret

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

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Good day, and welcome to “Communion of Saints” from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is November 16th, 2005: The Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland.

Sometime around the year 1070, King Malcolm of Scotland, most famous to us today from his role in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, married Princess Margaret of England. The new Queen was not content to remain in her palace and simply revel in the luxury that royal living allows. Rather she was an active Queen, taking part in many of the ecclesiastical and secular conflicts of the day—always arguing for the position that would give the greatest glory to God.

She put her stamp on the Scottish Church, that’s for sure. She and Malcolm founded or repaired several Abbeys, including rebuilding the famous monastery at Iona, which is still in existence. She helped to standardize the date when Lent begins, encouraging the clergy to observe that season on what is now Ash Wednesday, rather than on the following Monday, as some suggested. And she encouraged Scottish Christians to take Sunday as a day of rest from their work, reserving the Lord’s Day to the worship of God, and to prayer.

Likewise, she founded charitable institutions, like schools and hospitals. She often pressed upon her husband to improve the lot of the Scottish Clans that lived away from the cities. We are even told that King Malcolm respected Margaret’s advice in matters of foreign policy as well, where she argued for peace and closeness between Scotland and her native England.

But we might expect these kinds of large-scale projects from a woman of wealth and power. More interesting, perhaps, and more indicative of the way that Christ’s light shined through her, was her respect and care for everything—and everyone—in her charge, not only the rich and powerful. She made sure that the servants in her household didn’t work so hard that they didn’t have time for their own religious duties. In fact, she ensured that they had time off for regular participation in public worship and private prayer.

Margaret is a woman who knew that Christ is pleased to be remembered everywhere, from the King’s audience chamber where decisions of war and peace are made, to the small alcove where the servants pray. As you go through your life, remember Margaret of Scotland and bring Christ’s light with you wherever you go.

Let us pray: O God, you called your servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave her zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us tomorrow at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Saint Hugh of Lincoln. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

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