HOW THE POOR MAN’S HOME CAN BE MADE RICH AND BRIGHT AND DELIGHTFUL BY A TRUE WOMAN’S INDUSTRY.
Lest persons who are not of princely station or noble birth should fancy that the lessons of St. Margaret’s life (see post on St. Margaret, True and Noble Woman) do not concern them, we shall devote this section to showing how easy and necessary it is for the mistress of a poor and lowly home to imitate the sainted Scottish queen.
As it was to a poor and lowly home that the Son of God came, when he began the work of our redemption, as it was in the home of a poor mother that he lived so contentedly during thirty years, so, ever since, his followers have looked upon the dwellings of the poor with inexpressible love and tenderness.
Ah! he is no true lover of Christ who is not drawn to the home of poverty and labor; and the spirit of Christ dwells not in the heart whose sympathies do not go forth to the trials and distresses of those who are, above all others, the friends of Jesus Christ.
But our concern is now with the wife, the daughter, the sister of the laboring man and the poor man; we wish them to understand what royalty of spirit can and ought to be theirs, in order to be the true imitators and true children of that great Mother, who knew how to make the poor home of Joseph so rich, so bright, so blissful, so lovely in the eyes of men and angels.
She, too, was of right royal blood who was the mistress of that little home where Joseph toiled and the Divine Child grew up in all grace and sweetness, like the lily of the valley on its humble stem beneath the shadow of the sheltering oak.
It was the lessons of Mary’s life at Nazareth that Margaret had learned from her royal kinsfolk at the court of Buda, and had practiced so industriously through girlhood and early womanhood, till she became mistress of a court and a kingdom.
One lesson above all others she was trained to practice from childhood— to be forgetful of self, and mindful only of making everyone around her happy.
Woman’s entire existence, in order to be a source of happiness to others as well as to herself, must be one of self-sacrifice.
The first step in this royal pathway to all goodness and greatness is to forget self. Self with its miserable little cares and affections is the root of all the wretchedness we cause to others, and all the misery we endure ourselves.
Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy.
The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good. So with unselfishness: the first step is to forget one’s own comfort in order to seek that of others; the next is to forget one’s own pains and suffering, in order to alleviate those of others, or even to discharge toward others the duties of sisterly or neighborly kindness.
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