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.

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