Nov 16 – Memorial for St. Margaret of Scotland; Memorial for St. Gertrude, virgin
Margaret (1045–1093) was the granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside of England, and the great-niece of St. Stephen of Hungary. She was born in Hungary while her family was in exile due to the Danish invasion of England. Even so, she still spent much of her youth in the British Isles.
While fleeing the invading army of William the Conqueror in 1066, her family’s ship wrecked on the Scottish coast. They were assisted by King Malcolm III Canmore of Scotland, whom Margaret married in 1070, and became Queen of Scotland. They had eight children, one of whom was St. Maud, wife of Henry I. Margaret founded abbeys and used her position to work for justice and improved conditions for the poor.
- Patron Saint Index
Gertrude (1256–1302) may have been an orphan. She was raised in the Benedictine abbey of St. Mary of Helfta, Eiselben, Saxony from the age of five. She was an extremely bright and dedicated student, and she excelled in literature and philosophy. When she was old enough, she became a Benedictine nun.
At age 26, when she had become too enamoured of philosophy, she received a vision of Christ who reproached her. From then on she studied the Bible and the works of the Church Fathers. Gertrude received other visions and mystical instruction, which formed the basis of her writings. She helped spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her writings have been greatly praised by St. Teresa and St. Francis de Sales, and continue in print today.
- Patron Saint Index
Within Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
active, incisive, unsullied,
lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp,
irresistible, beneficent, loving to man,
steadfast, dependable, unperturbed,
penetrating all intelligent, pure
and most subtle spirits;
for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion;
she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
She is a breath of the power of God,
pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
hence nothing impure can find a way into her.
She is a reflection of the eternal light,
untarnished mirror of God’s active power,
image of his goodness.
Although alone, she can do all;
herself unchanging, she makes all things new.
In each generation she passes into holy souls,
she makes them friends of God and prophets;
for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom.
She is indeed more splendid than the sun,
she outshines all the constellations;
compared with light, she takes first place,
for light must yield to night,
but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.
She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other,
ordering all things for good.
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’
For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
The depth of the prayer life within a Christian community can be seen in the way in which they demonstrate their love to one another in word and action. To an outsider, the manner in which each member speaks to another person is an indicator of the spiritual life of each member. In such a way, the kingdom of God can be seen within this community on earth.
Some people perceive the kingdom of God to be a very grand place. I have always thought of it as a place where the members are kind to one another with no malice in their heart. This may seem difficult for some to appreciate but we live in a world where there are many attacks from the evil one. Christian communities which have warmth and love demonstrate to others how heaven is on earth.
The Christian community is a visible representation of the love which God has shown to us. This is a love of sacrifice and care; one in which individuals discover that to love is to give and to give up. This means we need to give to each other continually the charity of love and to give up on things which hinder us from becoming closer to God.
This can only be accomplished through inner reflection and constant prayer with God. We will need to discover what are the issues holding us back from being a loving person and then ask God to give us the strength to face these issues head-on.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear God, let us discover what it means to love you deeply
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all Spiritual Directors