Holy Mother Church again places before us the saintly example of a member of the nobility who sought to follow closely the example of Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland. May we recall her intercession at this time more than others as the United Kingdom falls further from the grace of God and back into the abyss of paganism. St. Margaret, pray for us!
The following is taken from the great work of Dom Guaranger in his massive collection on "The Liturgical Year":
SCOTLAND had long been Christian when Margaret was given to her to establish, amidst a population so diversified, and so often at mutual enmity as was hers, that unity which makes a nation.
Ancient Caledonia, defended by her lakes, mountains, and rivers, had, up to the fall of the Roman empire, kept her independence. But, whilst herself inaccessible to invading troops, she had become the refuge of the vanquished of every race and the proscribed of every epoch.
Many an advancing wave, that had paused at the feet of her granite frontiers, had swept pitilessly over the southern provinces of the great British island. Britons, Saxons, and Danes in turn, dispossessed and driven from their homes, fleeing northwards, had successively crept in, and settling down as best they might, had maintained their own customs in juxtaposition with those of the first inhabitants, adding consequently their own mutual jealousies to the inveterate divisions of the Picts and Scots.
But from the very evil itself the remedy was to corne. God, in order to show that he is master of revolutions just as he is of the surging waves, was about to confide the execution of his merciful designs upon Scotland to such casual instruments as a storm or a political overthrow may sometimes prove to be. At the opening of the eleventh century, Danish invasion had driven from the English shore the sons of the Saxon king, Edmund Ironside. The crowned apostle of Hungary, St Stephen I, generously received the fugitives at his court, welcoming in these helpless children the great-nephews of a saint, namely Edward the Martyr
To the eldest he gave his own daughter in marriage, and the second he affianced, to the niece of St Henry, emperor of Germany. Of this last mentioned union were born three children, Edgar, surnamed Atheling, Christina, afterwards a nun, and Margaret, whose feast the Church is keeping to-day. By the turning tide of fortune, the exiles once more returned to their country, and Edgar was brought to the very steps of the English throne. For in the meantime, the sceptre had passed from the Danish princes back again to the Saxon line, in the person of their uncle, St Edward the Confessor, and by very birthright seemed destined to pass ultimately to Edgar Atheling.
But almost immediately after their return from exile, the death of St Edward and the Norman conquest again banished the royal Saxon family. The ship bearing these noble fugitives, bound for the continent, was driven in an opposite direction by a hurricane, and stranded on the Scottish shore. Edgar Atheling, in spite of the efforts of the Saxon party, was never to raise up the fallen throne of his sires; but his sister, the saint of this day, made conquest of the land whither the storm, God's instrument, had carried her.
Having become the wife of Malcolm III, her gentle influence softened the fierce instincts of the son of Duncan, and triumphed over the barbarism still so dominant in those parts of the country as to separate them utterly from the rest of the known world. The fierce highlander and haughty lowlander, reconciled at last, now followed their gentle queen along hitherto unknown paths, thrown open by her to the light of the Gospel. The strong now bent down to meet the weak or the poor; and all alike, casting aside the rigidity of their hardy race, let themselves be captured by the alluring charms of Christian charity. Holy penitence resumed its rights over the gross instincts of mere nature. The frequentation of the Sacraments, once more brought into esteem, produced seasonable fruits. Everywhere, whether in Church or in State, abuses vanished.
The whole kingdom became one family, whereof Margaret was called the mother; for Scotland was born by her to true civilization. David I (inscribed like his mother in the catalogue of the saints) completed the work begun by her; and another child of Margaret's, alike worthy of her, Matilda of Scotland, surnamed' good Queen Maud,'was married to Henry I of England; and thus an end was put on the English soil to the persistent rivalries of victors and vanquished, by this admixture of Saxon blood with the Norman race.
O God, who didst make the blessed Queen Margaret wonderful for her surpassing charity to the poor, grant that by her intercession and example, Thy love may ever grow in our hearts. Through our Lord . . .
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal