Monday, February 28, 2011
Saint Margaret of Cortona
Many times throughout my lifetime, I have judged people harshly. Growing up in a small town, gossip and judgments were handed out almost on a daily basis. Though Jesus’ forgiving way was taught, I didn’t see it displayed very often. Granted the people that displayed it probably did it without me seeing, but I remember many instances where people were raked over the proverbial coals because of actions they took that didn’t fit the moral code of our little town. I can only imagine how some of the saints were treated in their lives.
Margaret was born in 1247 in a town called Laviano, Italy which is in the south western area, the ankle area of the boot. Her mother died at an early age. Her father remarried a woman that caused Margaret to suffer. The young girl was very beautiful, Cinderella comes to mind. However, instead of marrying a prince, she was seduced by a lord and had a son. She lived with the lord out of wedlock for nine years when he was assassinated. I can only guess at the moral atmosphere in Laviano during this time. In the 70’s in a small town in north-western Montana, people would have talked about her behind her back at every opportunity. In the 80’s, I would have joined them. I still struggle with harshly judging people, but now I try to remember to pray. I wonder who prayed for Margaret.
After her lover died, Margaret took a hard look at herself. She decided to make some changes. After successfully going through a three year trial period, she joined the third order of the Franciscans. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated her life to God and served him for twenty-three years in Cortona, Italy. Her son, born a bastard (the term used in those days), became a friar minor. Her story took a drastic turn from Cinderella’s. However, I can’t help but think “happily ever after” still applies.
The next time I begin to judge harshly, I will try to remember Saint Margaret of Cortona. Prayers would be much more productive for the conversion of the person I am judging and the conversion of my harsh heart.
Blessings to you all.