Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheire Dé,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossens
Ind nóeb dibad bethath che.

Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God’s love;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one. _The Catholic Encyclopaedia

St. Brigid or Bríd once had a name that could be found in every Irish family holding the blessing of a daughter. Just as it would have been presumptuous to name a son Jesus, the Irish so revered His mother, that they felt it would also be audacious to name their daughters Máire, as our Lady had been endowed with a fullness of grace no other woman could approach. Hence, the name of the ‘Mary of the Gael’ served as the highest to bestow on a girl.

This resplendent woman was a tireless worker with an even more bountiful heart. Friend to both St. Patrick and St. Brendan, she served God and Ireland less by preaching than by humbly working to relieve the suffering of those around her. Her bounty and her example served to convert many, even the druid who had purchased her mother. Naturally, those who saw her wished to know why she was so loving, whereupon she would relate the story of the Gospels.

The labour she divided amongst so many needs has made her the patroness of many: babies, blacksmiths, cattle, children born out of wedlock, dairy workers, Ireland, Leinster, mariners, midwives, nuns, poets, poultry workers, scholars, and travellers.

Of late in our history, this saint has fallen into neglect and abuse. Secularists have scoffed and called her an attempt of Christianity to imbibe pagan deities. Feminist radicals have claimed she was a bishop. Some Catholics do not even distinguish her from St. Bridget of Sweden . Respondeo: the Church has no need to adopt pagan deities to win converts, as St. Patrick shows. He came to smite what was evil in the old ways of Erin ’s people, but in doing that, it was not necessary to strike the good. The pagan who wrote of the goddess Brigit must have had a far off vision of the saint to come, who is both more, for she is blessed with the grace of Christ, and yet much less than a goddess.

Also, an abbot is not a bishop’s equal, much less is an abbess. That St. Brigid is depicted with a crosier only serves to portray her as the shepherdess she was. Her early lives say nothing of her being made a bishop, and immemorial doctrine stands firmly enough to contest any later assertions.

Much like the mother of our Lord, St. Brigid went her way in fiery humility. St. Patrick and St. Columcille majestically sermonized, while she milked the cows or firmly rebuked the wayward in private. The beauty of her meek devotion is displayed in her prayer:

I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.
I’d love the Heavenly Host to be tippling there for all eternity.
I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me, to dance and sing.
If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal vats of suffering.
Wide cups of love I’d give them with a heart and a half—
Sweet pitchers of mercy, I’d offer to every man.
I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot, because the happy heart is true.
I’d make the men to be contented for their own sake.
I’d like Jesus to love me, too.
I’d like the people of Heaven to gather from all the parishes around.
I’d give a special welcome to the women, the three Mary’s of great renown.
I’d sit with the men and women of God, there by the lake of beer.

We’d be drinking good health forever, and every drop would be a prayer.


Pearl of Tyburn said...

Hi, Jacobitess. This is a lovely blog you have. I like the poetry you posted about St. Briget, Mary of the Gaels. Judging from your username and your appearence as a commenter on Supremacy and survival, I thought you might be interested in British history. Therefore, I thought I might invite you to follow my blog: It deals mostly with the religious and historical heritage of the UK.

God Bless,
Pearl of Tyburn

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