Thursday, January 18, 2007

St. Margaret of Hungary

Today is the feast day of St. Margaret of Hungary. I knew practically nothing about her until Mass this afternoon, where the Dominicans as school preached about her life and how we can learn from her example. It was powerful stuff and exactly what I needed to hear today.

St. Margaret of Hungary was born in 1242. Her parents were Bela IV, king of Hungary and Croatia and his wife Marie Laskaris. Margaret's parents dedicated their next child to the Church if Hungary would be freed from the Tartars. Hungary was freed and Margaret was born. She entered the Dominican convent at the age of three.

When Margaret was 18, her father wanted her to marry the Bohemian king, King Ottokar II. She protested this vehemently, wishing to give her life to God and His Church. Saying, "I esteem infinitely more the King of Heaven and the inconceivable happiness of possessing Jesus Christ than the crown offered me by the king of Bohemia.”

She practiced severe corporal mortification and was known to spend each Friday in tears, contemplating the suffering of Our Lord.

Margaret died on January 18, 1271 at the age of 29.

She was canonized in 1943 by Pope Pius XII.

Now, what does this have to do with us. Well, everything. Margaret set an example for us that all the riches in the world cannot compare to the wealth of graces which come from God.

As the scripture reading for today, (St. Margaret of Hungary) said:

I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne, And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, And I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.

Wisdom 7:7-10

What fitting words for today's feast. St. Margaret did not turn down figurative jewels and riches, scepter and throne to serve the Lord. They were real, and I am sure they were tempting.

Serving the Lord is not always easy, actually it isn't even usually easy. We have to think counter-culturally. We have to put aside the things the world tells us is valuable, the jewels, and trappings of power, and pick up the humility, service and self sacrifice. Those things are considered by the world to be sand, but we know the truth.

I as continue on my journey of study and service, it is easy to get caught up and lose focus. I will never become powerful, famous, and definitely will never be wealthy, but that isn't what matters. It is easy to get caught up in the ways of the world and judge yourself against others. If I think I am holier, smarter or more talented than someone else, in reality I am more sinful, stupider, and less talented.

So, what's the point of this? I don't know. Perhaps, I wrote this just to sort things out in my very confused mind. I hope there is someone out there who will find this post at some time and need it just as I needed the readings and homily at Mass today. Perhaps, that is too arrogant an assumption on my part. Let's just say I am one confused theology student trying to muddle her way though life.

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