16 November 2015

A beloved queen, precious in faith and works

Window in St. Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh Castle
During my Easter holiday last year I had the privilege of venerating the relics of one holy women whom the Church commemorates today, Queen Saint Margaret of Scotland, and of visiting several of the places associated with her life.

After the Danish conquest of England, her father, Edward Atheling, took refuge as an exile in Hungary, where Saint Margaret was born somewhere around 1046. Though she wished to consecrate herself to the Lord as a virgin, she yielded to the pressures of her family and consented to marry King Malcolm III of Scotland, with whom she had eight children. She died in 1093 at Edinburgh.

She very quickly won the affection of her subjects because of her goodness and devotion to both God and neighbor. In the Life of Saint Margaret, written between 1100 and 1107 by Turgot, Prior of Durham, she is described her with very moving words that express the fondness with which those who knew her held her:
She was called Margaret, and in the sight of God she showed herself to be a pearl, precious in faith and works. She was indeed a pearl to you, to me, to all of us, yea, to Christ Himself, and being Christ's she is all the more ours now that she has left us, having been taken to the Lord. This pearl, I repeat, has been removed from the dunghill of the present world, and now she shines in her place among the jewels of the Eternal King.
Let us ask Queen Saint Margaret of Scotland to intercede for us, that we, too, might be known to be precious in faith and works by our loving devotion to God and neighbor and one day be found in the treasury of the King of heaven and earth.

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