If you walk past the Grotto at Lourdes towards the baths, to cross over the bridge to the meadow, you will come across, on your left, an impressive statue of St Margaret of Scotland erected in 1929. Today is her feast day.
Although born in Hungary, her family returned in the kingdom of England when she was twelve, and then fled to Scotland after the Norman conquest. She married King Malcolm III of Scotland when she was 25 and became Queen. They had eight children. Margaret’s kind-nature and good heart was a strong influence on Malcolm’s reign. She softened his temper and helped him become a virtuous King. Together they prayed, fed the hungry, and offered a powerful example of living faith in action. Margaret was placed in charge of all domestic affairs and was often consulted with state matters, as well. She promoted the arts and education in Scotland. She encouraged Church synods and was involved in efforts to correct the religious abuses involving Bishops, priests and laypeople. Not yet 50, but already weakened by her constant fasting, Margaret died three days after her husband and son were killed in 1093. She was certainly a strong and impressive woman. Margaret is recognised as a patron of large families and of widows, as well as of parents who have lost children.
In the second reading for Office of Readings today we are giving a section of the Second Vatican Council Document Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the modern world.
“Christian partners are therefore strengthened, and as it were consecrated, by a special sacrament for the duties and the dignity of their state. By the power of this sacrament they fulfil their obligations to each other and to their family and are filled with the spirit of Christ. This spirit pervades their whole lives with faith, hope and love. Thus they promote their own perfection and each other’s sanctification, and so contribute together to the greater glory of God”
Please pray today for all our young people who are preparing for marriage and we pray for a greater awareness of the blessing and gift of the Sacrament of marriage. We also pray for those who struggle in their married and family life.