Living a saintly life may sound difficult, but it’s not impossible. Thankfully, we have amazing examples of faithful people to guide us.
Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland—daughter of the prince and princess of Hungary. When Margaret was a young woman, her family became shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. There, the king fell in love with her and they soon married. Though he was a good man, he had a rough exterior, but Margaret brought both culture and virtue to him and his kingdom. Together they opened churches, fed the poor, and helped reform Church leaders.
St. Margaret lived a life devoted to God, while serving her family and God’s people. She truly lived out the Corporal Works of Mercy.
During her life, she adopted many beautiful practices of serving others, and through her example, we too can learn to build a culture of life in our families and communities. Below are some of the kind acts she did for those around her and ways we can emulate her.
St. Margaret set aside certain times of the day for prayer and reading the Bible.
Prayer is vital to our spiritual life. Think about it this way: If we want to maintain a friendship, we need to work at it, right? We talk to our friends. We spend time with them. We laugh; we cry. We learn stories about their lives. The same is true with God. If we want to not only cultivate a friendship but help it grow and mature, we must talk to Him, tell Him our hopes and dreams, learn about Him, and listen.
St. Margaret ate sparsely and slept just a few hours a night so she could have enough time for devotions.
Making small sacrifices for others by giving up snacks or something we like can truly benefit others. The sacrifices we make are like prayers for them. When we give something up, we offer up that tiny bit of suffering so that our friend or family member or a poor soul in purgatory will suffer less or grow closer to God.
During Advent and Lent, St. Margaret rose at midnight for Mass every night.
Both Advent and Lent are special times of the year when we contemplate the coming of our Lord and the death of our Lord. While we don’t have to rise at midnight for Mass, we should do extra things to help us contemplate what our Lord has done for us. That’s why CLSP created our Advent reflection booklet. This downloadable booklet is great for families and is meant to be read aloud. Each day offers the story of a saint, a reflection on a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a suggestion for how you and your family can live like that saint. It’s a perfect way to spend Advent.
It is reported that on her way home after being out, St. Margaret would wash the feet of six poor people and give them money.
Service to others. Sacrifice to those who need it. This should always be at the forefront of our minds. We don’t necessarily have to give money or wash feet, but we should all serve others whenever and however we can. Now, as we enter cold weather and the time before Christmas, people are especially needy. Think about how you can serve others. Can you literally serve them by volunteering at a food bank, a homeless shelter, or a pregnancy resource center? Can you donate food to one of these places? Can you buy extra gifts for a needy family? Can you give a gift card or a hot meal to a homeless person on the street? All of us can—and should—do something for others to show them that they matter and have value.
St. Margaret spent her life feeding the hungry, serving the poor, and devoting her life to her family and to prayer. Everything she did led to a deeper faith for her and for those around her. As we approach her feast day, let us seek her intercession and ask for her help as we, too, try to live a saintly life.
St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us!