Today is the feast day of St. Brigid of Kildare. The people of Ireland love her dearly, as do the people who love the people of Ireland (folks like me). The legends about Brigid far outweigh the facts known about her. She was born around 450. Her parents may have been baptized by St. Patrick.
We know she founded a Christian community at Kildare, primarily for women. She had a profound influence on the Church in Ireland. She may have been consecrated as a bishop. (Thus, she is often depicted with a bishop’s crozier.) When others protested that he improperly bestowed this Holy Order on a woman, Bishop Mel reportedly replied “No power have I in this matter.” He suggested that God alone had chosen Brigid for that Holy Office.
Brigid understood that the physical needs of the poor intersected with their spiritual needs. We remember Brigid for her profound hospitality, her unflinching generosity, and her extraordinary compassion. I pray that her spirit will grow within the Church today, which so desperately needs it.
I found this prayer for today within the wonderful Celtic Book of Daily prayer. I hope you find as much life and joy and light in it as I do.
I would welcome the poor
and honor them
I would welcome the sick
in the presence of angels
and ask God to bless and
embrace us all.
Seeing a stranger approach,
I would put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place,
and look with joy for the blessing of God,
who often comes to my home
in the blessing of a stranger.
God bless you and those you love,
James R. Dennis, O.P.
© 2012 James R. Dennis