Today, July 20, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Margaret of Antioch (died 304), Virgin of the Church, and martyr for the faith. As with other early saints, much of what we know of Saint Margaret may be the stuff of pious legend, embroidered with medieval fantasy, somewhat “far-fetched” by today’s scientific standards. Stripping away the dragons, however, we are left with a young woman, committed to Christ, obedient to her calling, who suffered and died for her faith… and those “facts” are enough to inspire us today.
“Proud demon, lie prostrate beneath a woman’s foot!” foreshadowing the triumph of the Blessed Virgin over Satan. For this reason, due to her delivery from the belly of the beast, it is believed that Margaret is the patron saint of pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. She is considered one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, assisting in safe delivery of children.
"Saint Michael, when he came to me, told me that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret would come to me and that I should act by their advice, that they were bidden to lead me in what I had to do and that I should believe in what they would say to me and that it was by God's order."
Jesus, Lover of chastity, Mary, Mother most pure, and Joseph, chaste guardian of the Virgin, to you I come at this hour, begging you to plead with God for me. I earnestly wish to be pure in thought, word and deed in imitation of your own holy purity.
Obtain for me, then, a deep sense of modesty which will be reflected in my external conduct. Protect my eyes, the windows of my soul, from anything that might dim the luster of a heart that must mirror only Christlike purity.
And when the "Bread of Angels becomes the Bread of me" in my heart at Holy Communion, seal it forever against the suggestions of sinful pleasures.
Heart of Jesus, Fount of all purity, have mercy on us.