16 May 2013

St Margaret, Oremus!

O God, the exaltation of the lowly,

who willed that blessed Saint Margaret should excel
in the beauty of her charity and patience,
grant, through her merits and intercession,
that, carrying our cross each day,
we may always persevere in love for you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
—collect for the common for Holy Women

A personal favorite and I hope a friend, St Margaret's early life would feel very much like a contemporary's. She was born to middle-class parents; didn't get along with her step-mother; moved out of the house to live with her boyfriend, Arsenio; had a kid out of wedlock.

She was devout but like St Augustine (and so many of us) her prayers were often to "maker me a saint, but not yet." Then one day while out walking she met her boyfriend's dog and she was compelled to follow until she found Arsenio's murdered body. ...

Confronted by Death, she converted to a life of penance as a Franciscan tertiary devoted to penance and prayer. Often in images of St. Margaret, at her feet will be the very dog who brought her to God, and often a skull and bones to represent this vision of Death below that raised her eyes to on high. God granted her ecstatic visions as part of her contemplative life. She founded hospitals, congregations of tertiaries, and gave advice and consolation to sinners coming to her for advice.

One of my favorite parts of her story is that her son resisted this new life of holiness and virtue for most of his life, but Margaret's persistence and prayer, now imitating Augustine's mother, Monica, brought about his conversion.

God's call for our conversion to a life of holiness hopefully won't take the form of a death of a loved one, but is always present, always as urgent. Let us answer God's call NOW, with Immediacy and Fervor, and then devote our lives to prayer, penance, and hope for the conversion of the world.

St. Margaret, pray for us!

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