Pondering for Saturday, November 16, 2019

Readings for Margaret Queen of Scotland, 1093

AM Psalm 87, 90; PM Psalm 136 1 Macc. 2:1-28; Rev. 20:1-6; Matt. 16:21-28

“But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Matthew 16: 23)

This is a pretty popular verse from the Bible.  People often use it when they feel temptation is leading them down the wrong path.  I have found that Satan is often not so obvious.  Sometimes concern for self is Satan made manifest as was Peter’s concern about Jesus. But sometimes it is made manifest in not doing the good works that we are able to do because of the influence we have. Margaret, Queen of Scotland, carried such power and used it for the benefit of church and people.  Taken from Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 16, is the following:

“Shakespeare made familiar the names of Macbeth and Macduff, Duncan, and Malcolm; but it is not always remembered that Malcolm married an English princess, Margaret, about 1070. With considerable zeal, Margaret sought to change what she considered to be old-fashioned and careless practices among the Scottish clergy. She insisted that the observance of Lent, for example, was to begin on Ash Wednesday, rather than on the following Monday, and that the Mass should be celebrated according to the accepted Roman rite of the Church, and not in barbarous form and language. The Lord’s Day was to be a day when, she said, “we apply ourselves only to prayers.” She argued vigorously, though not always with success, against the exaggerated sense of unworthiness that made many of the pious Scots unwilling to receive Communion regularly.

Margaret’s energies were not limited to reformation of formal Church practices. She encouraged the founding of schools, hospitals, and orphanages, and used her influence with King Malcolm to help her improve the quality of life among the isolated Scottish clans. Together, Margaret and her husband rebuilt the monastery of Iona and founded Dunfermline Abbey, under the direction of Benedictine monks.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 16)

I find the link between the buildup of the Church and the establishment of schools, hospitals and orphanages fascinating.  Margaret is not the only saint that has done this kind of work.  There must be something about such people that enables them to put the Satan’s in their lives aside so that they are able to do good works. Today there are many hospitals named after denominations such as Methodist Hospital, Baptist Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital and the like.  As well, there are orphanages and schools that are also supported and maintained by churches. This is the kind of work we can do when we put Satan behind us.  Most of the schools that I have attended and completed were Christian affiliated schools.  Thank You Jesus.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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