Friday, December 6, 2013

Piety

Mr. M recently read the entire Harry Potter series in a matter of two weeks. :D That gave me the opportunity to go to the library, and you know those display shelves of featured books? I always look at them but rarely see books that peak my interest. This time I struck gold- twice! Two books that have been a better read than I've had in a long time. The first is titled "Queen Hereafter," and is a historical fiction about Queen Margaret of Scotland, contemporary of William the Conqueror.

Queen Margaret wanted to be a nun. She was an incredibly pious woman. The author did a beautiful job of depicting her sincerity and honest devotion to God. She not only prayed every morning, she took all her ladies of the court with her to the chapel to pray every morning. She fasted often - to the point of being unhealthy - but I admire her belief in and adherence to this principle. She thought often of repentance and forgiveness, and though her 'repentance prayers' were memorized recitations, I admire how she kept the bettering of herself at the top of her list of important things to do.  She kept an eternal perspective in a way that is not socially acceptable today, talking to the Scottish clergy about their differences from Rome and how their people wouldn't make it to heaven if they didn't change their ways, and pray in Latin, etc. Her heart was in the right place. And she built her life around her piety. The book was about much more than her religious life, but this is the part that spoke to my soul. "Saint Margaret" has inspired me, has given me a vision of what such piety might look like. And she gave me a precious gift --

Every Sunday when I partake of the bread and water in remembrance of the Atonement of my Savior, I make a commitment for the week and review the one from the past week. Something to work on, to do better at, or to focus on. I have several times made "kneeling prayers" my commitment. "Remember to pray!" We are taught this from infancy. "Pray with sincerity!" we are often reminded. Despite my logical desires to do so, I am guilty of repetitious, absent-minded prayers.  A tiny twinge of guilt before gratefully burying my head in the pillow. As I read "Queen Hereafter," (what a fitting title), I was inspired. I can't say just what changed, in my heart, but Margaret was a beautiful example to me, and I learn by example - when I have something I can copy or recreate in my own life.

Margaret prayed for an hour each morning. I don't think an hour is reasonable or necessary or attainable, lol, but I do know that my prayers could be a bit longer. I have heard before that one should praise God, thank God, and supplicate God, in that order. Well I began trying out the "Praise God" part of my prayers. It was a bit awkward at first, I felt embarrassed for some reason. But what a neat experience!! To praise God and name some of his many glorious names, describing him and his deeds and relationship to man, the earth, the universe. It feels good, and important, somehow. It elevates my thought plane.

Thank you Queen Margaret. I hope to keep this new-found sincerity for a long time.

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and respect, and shall trust in the Lord.
Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post! You are awesome. I'm going to recommend this book to my bookgroup next time it's my turn to choose. Love you!

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