14 January 2007

If ever you start feeling sorry for yourself for hardships you're enduring, think of Mary Queen of Scots, and count your blessings. Here was a woman who:

was widowed by the age of nineteen;

inherited a throne of a people who did not want her because she was "foreign" and Catholic;

married a man who plotted to overthrow and imprison her while she was pregnant with his child;

was forced to marry her third husband, after her second husband's untimely death, because he had allegedly taken her by force;

was betrayed by her closest advisors in an uprising, and deposed;

when seeking refuge in England under her cousin Queen Elizabeth, was imprisoned unjustly instead;

languished in prison for nineteen years, much of that time suffering from gastric disorders that occasioned bouts of vomiting and fever, only to be told by her jailers she was faking it;

was betrayed by her only son (raised a Puritan in Scotland) when he secured an alliance with Queen Elizabeth;

was lured into the Babington plot by the machinations of Walsingham, and beheaded for it;

and whose last wishes, including a Catholic burial, were never honored by Queen Elizabeth.

When they arrested her shortly before her execution, Mary cried, "I desire neither goods, honours, power nor worldly sovereignty, but only the honor of His Holy Name and His Glory and the liberty of His Church and of the Christian people." Queen Mary died with the courage of a martyr, and Pope Benedict XIV noted that nothing stood in the way of declaring her a martyr for the faith except for lingering historical doubts about her second husband Darnley's death. Mary's confessor, however, proclaimed her absolute innocence in the matter.

Maria Regina Scotorum, ora pro nobis.