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ST. MARGARET'S name signifies "pearl;" "a fitting name," says Theodoric, her confessor and her first biographer, "for one such as she." Her soul was like a precious pearl. A life spent amidst the luxury of a royal court never dimmed its lustre, or stole it away from Him who had bought it with His blood. She was the grand, daughter of an English king; and in 1070 she became the bride of Malcolm, and reigned Queen of Scotland till her death in 1093. How did she become a Saint in a position where sanctity is so difficult? First, she burned with zeal for the house of God. She built churches and monasteries; she busied herself in making vestments; she could not rest till she saw the laws of God and His Church observed throughout her realm. Next, amidst a thousand cares, she found time to converse with God—ordering her piety with such sweetness and discretion that she won her husband to sanctity like her own. He used to rise with her at night for prayer; he loved to kiss the holy books she used, and sometimes he would steal them away, and bring them back to his wife covered with jewels. Lastly, with virtues so great, she wept constantly over her sins, and begged her confessor to correct her faults. St. Margaret did not neglect her duties in the world because she was not of it. Never was a better mother. She spared no pains in the education of her eight children, and their sanctity was the fruit of her prudence and her zeal. Never was a better queen. She was the most trusted counsellor of her husband, and she labored for the material improvement of the country. But, in the midst of the world's pleasures, she sighed for the better country, and accepted death as a release. On her death-bed she received the news that her husband and her eldest son were slain in battle. She thanked God, Who had sent this last affliction as a penance for her sins. After receiving Holy Viaticum, she was repeating the prayer from the Missal, "O Lord Jesus Christ, Who by Thy death didst give life to the world, deliver me." At the words "deliver me," says her biographer, she took her departure to Christ, the Author of true liberty.
Reflection. —All perfection consists in keeping a guard upon the heart. Wherever we are, we can make a solitude in our hearts, detach ourselves from the world, and converse familiarly with God. Let us take St. Margaret for our example and encouragement.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
The charity of God is poured forth in hearts, alleluia. By His Spirit dwelling within us, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 102, 1. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and let all that is within me bless His holy name. Glory be …
Graciously pour into our souls, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Holy Spirit, by Whose wisdom we are created and by Whose providence we are governed. Through… in the unity of the same.
Lesson from Joel the Apostles.
[The prophet foretells the terrible day of the Lord; exhorts sinners to a sincere conversion; and comforts God's people with promises of future blessings under Christ.]
Thus saith the lord God: I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit. And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Alleluia. John 6, 64. It is the spirit that quickeneth: but the flesh profiteth nothing.
May the Holy Spirit, we beseech Thee, O Lord, inflame us with that fire which Our Lord Jesus Christ sent upon the earth and earnestly wished to be enkindled. Who with Thee… in the unity of the same.
Lesson from the Book of Leviticus.
[Holy days to be kept.]
In those days: The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: When you shall have entered into the land which I will give you, and shall reap your corn, you shall bring sheaves of ears, the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest:
Who shall lift up the shed before the Lord, the next day after the sabbath, that it may be acceptable for you, and shall sanctify it. And on the same day that the sheaf is consecrated, a lamb without blemish of the first year shall be killed for a holocaust of the Lord. And the libations shall be offered with it, two tenths of flour tempered with oil for a burnt offering of the Lord, and a most sweet odour: libations also of wine, the fourth part of a hin. You shall not eat either bread, or parched corn, or frumenty of the harvest, until the day that you shall offer thereof to your God. It is a precept for ever throughout your generations, and all your dwellings. You shall count therefore from the morrow after the sabbath, wherein you offered the sheaf of the firstfruits, seven full weeks.
Even unto the marrow after the seventh week be expired, that is to say, fifty days, and so you shall offer a new sacrifice to the Lord. Out of all your dwellings, two leaves of the firstfruits, of two tenths of flour leavened, which you shall bake for the firstfruits of the Lord. And you shall offer with the leaves seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one calf from the herd, and two rams, and they shall be for a holocaust with their libations far a most sweet odour to the Lord. You shall offer also a buck goat for sin, and two lambs of the first year for sacrifices of peace offerings. And when the priest hath lifted them up with the leaves of the firstfruits before the Lord, they shall fall to his use.
And you shall call this day most solemn, and most holy. You shall do no servile work therein. It shall be an everlasting ordinance in all your dwellings and generations; said the Lord almighty.
O God, Who hast commanded that our bodies should be chastened by the devotion of fasting for the healing of our souls, propitiously grant us to be ever devout toward Thee both in mind and in body. Through our Lord.
Lesson from the Book of Deuteronomy.
[The form of words with which the firstfruits and tithes are to be offered. God's covenant.]
In those days, Moses said to the children of Israel, Hera, O Israel, what I command thee this day. When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God will give thee to possess, and hast conquered it, and dwellest in it: Thou shalt take the first of all thy fruits, and put then? in a basket, and shalt go to the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, that his name may be invocated there: And thou shalt go to the priest that shall be in those days, and say to him: I profess this day before the Lord thy God, that I am come into the land, for which he swore to our fathers, that he would give it us. And the priest taking the basket at thy hand, shall set it before the altar of the Lord thy God: And thou shalt speak thus in the sight of the Lord thy God: The Syrian pursued my father, who went down into Egypt, and sojourned there in a very small number, and grew into a nation great and strong and of an infinite multitude.
And the Egyptians afflicted us, and persecuted us, laying on us most grievous burdens: And we cried to the Lord God of our fathers: who heard us, and looked down upon our affliction, and labour, and distress: And brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand, and a stretched out arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders: And brought us into this place, and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey. And therefore now I offer the firstfruits of the land which the Lord hath given me. And thou shalt leave them in the sight of the Lord thy God, adoring the Lord thy God. And thou shalt feast in all the good things which the Lord thy God hath given thee, and thy house, thou and the Levite, and the stranger that is with thee.
Alleluia. Acts 2-1. When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all sitting together.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that, being taught by salutary fastings, abstaining also from all wrong-doing, we may the more easily obtain Thy forgiveness. Through our Lord.
Lesson from the Book of Leviticus.
[God's promises to them that keep his commandments. And the many punishments with which he threatens transgressors.]
In those days, the Lord said to Moses, Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, If you walk in my precepts, and keep my commandments, and do them, I will give you rain in due seasons. And the ground shall bring forth its increase, and the trees shall be filled with fruit. The threshing of your harvest shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land without fear.
I will give peace in your coasts: you shall sleep, and there shall be none to make you afraid. I will take away evil beasts: and the sword shall not pass through your quarters. You shall pursue your enemies, and they shall fall before you. Five of yours shall pursue a hundred others, and a hundred of you ten thousand: your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will look on you, and make you increase: you shall be multiplied, and I will establish my covenant with you. You shall eat the oldest of the old store, and, new coming on, you shall cast away the old. I will set my tabernacle in the midst of you, and my soul shall not cast you off. I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people; saith the Lord almighty.
Alleluia. (Here all knell), Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful; and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we may so abstain from carnal delicacies as to fast likewise from the sins that beset us. Through our Lord.
Lesson from Daniel the Prophet.
[Nabuchodonosor set up a golden statue; which he commands all to adore: the three children for refusing to do it are cast into the fiery furnace; but are not hurt by the flames. Their prayer and canticle of praise.]
In those days, the angel of the Lord went down with Azarias and his companions into the furnace: and he drove the flame of the fire out of the furnace, And made the midst of the furnace like the blowing of a wind bringing dew, and the fire touched them not at all, nor troubled them, nor did them any harm. Then these three as with one mouth praised, and glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying:
Alleluia. Dan. 3, 52. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and worthy to be praised for ever.
O God, Who didst mitigate the fames of fire for the three children, grant propitiously that the fame of sin may not consume us Thy servants. Through our Lord.
Lesson from The Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans.
[The grounds we have for hope in Christ. Sin and death came by Adam, grace and life by Christ.]
Brethren: Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access through faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God. And not only so; but we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience trial; and trial hope; And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.
O praise the Lord, all ye nations, and praise Him together, all ye people. For His mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Christ's fasting and temptation. He is persecuted in Nazareth. His miracles in Capharnaum.]
At that time, Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her. And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them. And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them to him. But he laying his hands on every one of them, healed them.
And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them he suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day, going out he went into a desert place, and the multitudes sought him, and came unto him: and they stayed him that he should not depart from them. To whom he said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God: for therefore am I sent. And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day and in the night before Thee: let my prayer come in before Thee, O Lord, alleluia.
That our fasts may be accepted by Thee, O Lord, grant us, we beseech Thee, by the grace of this sacrament, to offer Thee a clean heart. Through our Lord.
The spirit breatheth where He will: and Thou hearest His voice, alleluia, alleluia: but Thou knowest not whence He cometh, nor wither He goesth, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
May Thy holy things, O Lord, fill us with divine fervor, so that we may have pleasure alike in their performance and in their effect. Through our Lord.