Saint Matilda was wife of Henry the Fowler who became the King of Germany in 919 a.d. Upon her husband's death in 936, her sons fought it out for the throne, Matilda supporting her son Henry, but Otto was elected. Both sons criticized her for her extravagant charities. She gave them her inheritance and left to her summer home. Her presence was requested by Otto's wife, so she returned to intercede between her power hungry boys. Matilda prophesized Henry's death, and when he died, she gave herself to building convents and a monastery. Otto left for Rome to be crowned Emperor in 962 (he is often thought of as the first Holy Roman Emperor). Much of her remaining life was spent in the monastery were Henry was buried.
There really isn't much information on St. Matilda. She was a Benedictine Oblate and Queen of Germany and her son was (possibly) the first Holy Roman Emperor. Those are all facts about her life, but what is supposed to move us, encourage us, and help us in our faith formation? What do we do with saints like this? Saints that we really cannot relate to? Trust me, there is nothing for me to relate to here. I am nowhere near being a queen and I do not have the ability to give so extravagantly that my kids banish me......or wait do I? Maybe I don't have the ability to pay for the complete construction of monasteries or convents. Maybe I don't have millions to give and power to throw around, but I do have. I have food that I cook and clothes my kids grow out of. I have. I really do, and I suspect, even if you don't have the way Matilda did, you have something as well.
I was truly embarrassed this past week by someone else's giving, as I was sitting there judging. Yes, I was judging the fact that they don't live in accordance with the scriptures, the way I know and was taught them. They have a "non-traditional" family. I guess that's how we are supposed to say it. I was wondering how and why. I know they are a great family, and don't get me wrong, I am happy to call them friends, but when the questions arise from my children, it is hard to explain how we can be friends with someone who doesn't live in the way the church says we should. I tell them that we are not called to judge our neighbor, but to love our neighbor. I show them the bible verses and explain the church's standpoint. Then we go on living and being friends. But this was one of those days, when I was sitting there judging their relationship and family and yet again, why I am forced to explain this to my kids. That is when we started talking about what all we had been doing recently. They told me about their recent experience feeding the poor, not in a shelter or at the food bank, but going to them, where they live. Yes, they had found out that there is a day when the shelters are closed and the homeless have nowhere to go and nothing to get. Yes, those that I had been judging, found that need and filled it. Wow....and I call myself a Christian. What had I done over spring break with my kids? We went to a movie and filled in things that needed to be done, but we hadn't helped anyone, and this is Lent. We are all called to give, to help those in need. Find where you can help. I am determined to find where I can.