16 November, Monday — The Coming of the King

Nov 16 – Memorial for St. Margaret of Scotland; Memorial for St. Gertrude, virgin

St. Margaret (1045–1093) was the granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside of England, and the great-niece of St. Stephen of Hungary. She was born in Hungary, while her family was in exile due to the Danish invasion of England. Even so, she still spent much of her youth in the British Isles.

While fleeing the invading army of William the Conqueror in 1066, her family’s ship wrecked on the Scottish coast. They were assisted by King Malcolm III Canmore of Scotland, whom Margaret married in 1070, and became Queen of Scotland. They had eight children, one of whom was St. Maud, wife of Henry I. Margaret founded abbeys and used her position to work for justice and improved conditions for the poor.

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St. Gertrude (1256–1302) may have been an orphan. She was raised in the Benedictine abbey of St. Mary of Helfta, Eiselben, Saxony from the age of five. She was an extremely bright and dedicated student, and she excelled in literature and philosophy. When she was old enough, she became a Benedictine nun.

At age 26, when she had become too enamoured of philosophy, she received a vision of Christ, who reproached her. From then on, she studied the Bible and the works of the Church Fathers. Gertrude received other visions and mystical instruction, which formed the basis of her writings. She helped spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her writings have been greatly praised by St. Teresa and St. Francis de Sales, and continue in print today.

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Apo 1:1-4,2:1-5
Lk 18:35-43

Nevertheless I have this complaint to make; you have less love now than you used to.

Many years ago during the eighties, I went to the circus with my parents in Rochor Road. I remember the animals, especially the lions and how many curious onlookers would be asking why we were lining the road. “The lions are passing by,” would be the answer I shouted.

This year’s National Day celebration was a muted affair due to COVID-19, compared to the years before, with mobile columns moving along in the heartlands, covering a distance of 200km. People used the opportunity to come out of their homes to cheer on the military and police vehicles as they paraded down the roads. They cheered on the medical professionals and ambulances with extra roars, remembering how many of them risked their lives in the wards treating the patients with COVID-19, while enduring the humid and hot conditions under their protective gear. How similar are their life-giving actions to those of the Lord in today’s readings, where He heard the cries of this blind man’s earnest plea for healing.

This is a reminder to go back to my first love, singing praises to Him out loud in the desert, where I had my first experience of tears and finding a spiritual director after that. He guided me through a very toxic situation in my life to find liberty and assurance in Jesus as the Lamb of God and Lion of Judah, who can atone for my sins and rule my heart as I place all my worries on the cross.

(Today’s Oxygen by Christian Eber)

Prayer: Lord, I am but a poor blind sinner. I want to see with your eyes of faith; have pity on me.

Thanksgiving: May we find the love that kindles the heart to be happy always, and grow deeper in awe of You.

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