Sunday, February 22, 2009

Margery Kempe, Part two

     I should not laugh at Margery, I am a mother too although I do not have fourteen children.  Margery had a son whose business was shipping merchandise out of Lynn. She liked to visit with him and try to get him to give up his job and the world and "follow Christ"  She did this to the point where "he fled her company and would not gladly meet with her".  One time, when they met "against his will", she asked him, since he would not follow Christ, to at least keep his body 'clean' and not mess with women.
     As he seemed to have to do a lot of sailing, he found opportunities for some hanky-panky abroad and he picked up a disease.  His face was covered in blotches and people thought he was a leper.  This got him fired from his job.  He blamed this on his mother having put a curse on him so people went to her and begged her to lift the curse. Margery would not lift the curse unless he came and begged her to himself.  Although this took place six hundred years ago, it could be taking place anywhere in Canada today since it is a Sunday afternoon and the traditional day of Mother's guilt.
     At last and in desperation, he went to speak with her and she made him promise to behave better.  So then, she prayed and she prayed and whatever illness he had cleared up.  Later, this same son married a woman in Prussia where he lived and they had a daughter.
      The daughter in law had one of those crazy fits we all get from time to time and it made her decide to meet her mother in law.  They left their daughter with friends and came to England to visit Margery and her husband.  The day after the son arrived, he became ill and died.  It must have been Margery's cooking because the husband followed soon after.   And there was the daughter in law - trapped in England and at her mother in law's mercy and whims.  She stayed with Margery for a year and a half until enough letters from Germany begging her to return home had come and Margery could no longer reasonably keep her.  Usually at this point, God comes along and commands whatever Margery wants to happen but God would have had to visit the daughter in law for her to stay. This did not happen.
     Unfortunately, in those days, it was not permitted that a woman travel on her own so they needed a man to take her back.   One was found but he was a stranger so then Margery offered to accompany her daughter in law to Germany.  Her confessor forbade her to go but when did Margery ever listen to him?  She knew "my daughter had rather I were at home" but she is a mother in law.  She was going.  As if on cue, Jesus appeared at this point and told her that he commanded her to do it.  Since it was a direct order from God himself, it was no longer her fault that she was going to go.  Although she was a little surprised with her daughter in law as "there was no one so much against her as was her daughter, who ought most to have been with her."  You see, Jesus should have also appeared to the daughter in law.
     They got to Danzig and had a good welcome there except that, after five or six weeks, it finally sunk in that her daughter in law did not want her around.  After all - taking into account time spent travelling - she had been stuck with her mother in law for nearly two years every day and night!  Margery expressed great surprise at this. Fortunately for both of them, at this time, God appeared once more and commanded her to go on a pilgrimage to Wilsnack, saving both of them from a horrible scene.


Anonymous said...

Jesus did a load of appearing to this family, woah! My mother in law is pretty harmless but Jesus might be appearing to me too if I had to spend two years straight with her. Leave it to the husband to check out immediately on the visit. Some things never change.

Anonymous said...

The poor daughter-in-law! First losing her husband, then having an enforced stay in a foreign country with a nutty M.I.L. who keeps seeing Jesus.

Anonymous said...

PS Excellent ABBA translation!

The Red Witch said...

Thank you. It was fun to do.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the second part of Margery's story very much!!That woman was a wonder indeed but her poor daughter-in-law should be commiserated with - apparently she wasn't clever enough to see Jesus every now and then and follow his orders as if they were her own whims.