Posted by: fvbcdm | January 18, 2012

Feast of Saint Margaret of Hungary (18 Jan 2012)

On my bookshelf just above the computer on which I compose this message there is a piece of ancient masonry about the size of a small egg.  Some years ago I brought it from my first visit to the capital city of Hungary.  When I was there, I went out to the island called Margitsziget—Margaret’s Island—in the middle of the Danube river, between the cities of Buda and Pest which together compose one city now called Budapest.  I went to that island because that is where the King, Bela IV, built a monastery of Dominican Nuns because his daughter, Margaret, wanted to become one.  Not wanting her to go far away, he built a new convent right in the middle of the river.  I don’t know what it was called before she came to live there, but from the time of Princess Margaret—now Saint Margaret—the island is Margitsziget and a small piece of the Dominican convent graces my bookshelf.  That convent is now in ruins and the community of nuns have moved elsewhere, but each year on January 18, the Church and especially our Dominican Nuns throughout the world celebrate this royal Hungarian princess who is one of our canonized saints.  


I also want to ask you today: do you know what a slingshot is?  It is the sort of weapon with which the young David, before he became king of Israel, killed the Philistine giant, Goliath.  The story of David and Goliath appeals to all boys, I suppose; it surely  ascinated me when I first came across it in my Bible history book when I was about seven or eight.


A slingshot is basically a square of leather with a long leather thong attached to each of its four corners.  The two thongs on one side of the square are wrapped around the lower arm of the person intending to use it.  The other two are held firmly in the hand of that same arm.  A skillful slingshot user places a stone in the square, then whirls it repeatedly over his head until it is traveling at great speed.  And then, he lets go the two thongs in his hand, and the stone flies with great force at the target.  Back in the days of the boy David, every shepherd in that part of the world became adept at using slingshots to defend his flock from the wolves, hyenas, jackals, and other predators always lurking around the flock for a free meal of lamb or mutton. And since the Holy Land is a very stony, rocky area, there is always an abundance of rocks which can be hurled with lethal precision at man or beast.  In today’s first reading at Mass, the boy David hurls a rock at a very tall, massive man belonging to the enemy army, who was planning to kill David.  The rock struck the giant Goliath right in the forehead and either killed him or at least knocked him unconscious.  And the boy David, to prove that Goliath was dead, took the giant’s sword from its scabbard and with it, cut off the giant’s head.


The boy David is a prophecy in action referring to Our Lord.  Our Savior was only one person, but he conquered the entire army of evil for the good of humankind, just as the boy David, by killing Goliath, won the war of Israelites against Philistines. To thank David for this victory, the Jewish nation made him their king.  To thank Our Divine Lord for his victory, God our Father has made him the universal King of the entire universe. Long live Christ our King! Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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