Thought for the Day – 16 November – The Memorial of St Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093)
Margaret was not only a queen but a mother. She and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and other studies.
Although she was very much caught up in the affairs of the household and country, she remained detached from the world. Her private life was austere. She had certain times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly and slept little, in order to have time for devotions. She and Malcolm kept two Lents, one before Easter and one before Christmas. During these times, she always rose at midnight for Mass. On the way home, she would wash the feet of six poor persons and give them alms. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them. It is recorded, that she never sat down to eat without first feeding nine orphans and 24 adults.
There are two ways to be charitable – the “clean way” and the “messy way.” The “clean way” is to give money or clothing to organisations that serve the poor. The “messy way” is dirtying your own hands in personal service to the poor. Margaret’s outstanding virtue, was her love of the poor. Although very generous with material gifts, Margaret also visited the sick and nursed them with her own hands. She and her husband served orphans and the poor on their knees during Advent and Lent. Like Christ, she was charitable the “messy way.”