01Feb 1 February, Friday. Feast of St. Brigid, Abbess, Secondary Patron of Ireland.

(Outside Ireland, the readings are “of the day”, Friday of Week 3, Ordinary Time)

Job 31:16-20; 24-25; 31-32. Job’s generosity towards the poor and needy is reflected in St Brigid’s works of charity.

Lk 6:32-38. In the”Sermon on the Plain” Jesus calls for unselfish generosity – giving of oneself, in imitation of the creative love of our heavenly Father.

First Reading: Job 31:16-20; 24-25; 31-32

“I have never withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not eaten from it. for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow. I have never seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or a poor person without covering, whose loins have not blessed me, and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep. I have never made gold my trust, or called fine gold my confidence. I have never rejoiced because my wealth was great, or because my hand had gotten much.. Those in my tent never said, ‘O that we might dine upon his food!’. The stranger has not lodged in the street. for I have opened my doors to the traveler.

Gospel: Luke 6:32-38

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

The Life of St Brigid

Born in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth; died on February 1st, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, then moved to Drum Criadh in the Liffey Valley, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, “the church of the oak” (now Kildare), in the present county of that name.

The most ancient life of St Brigid is the metrical account by St Broccan, (d. 650). A century later Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare, wrote another short biography, including his description of Kildare Cathedral. The Round Tower of Kildare probably dates from the sixth century. Although St Brigid was “veiled” or received as a nun at Croghan, by St Macaille, it appears that she was professed by St Mel of Ardagh, who also conferred abbatial powers on her. St Brigid’s small oratory at Cill-Dara became a centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded monastic institutions for men and for women, and appointing St Conleth as their spiritual pastor. Some held that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, and her biographer tells us that she chose St Conleth “to govern the church along with herself”. For centuries Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.

It appears that about the year 878 the relics of St Brigid were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of St Patrick and St Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and the following year were solemnly translated to a suitable resting place in Downpatrick Cathedral. Some pre-Reformation breviaries commemorate St Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal. In Ireland today, after so many centuries the folk memory of “the Mary of the Gael” is still dear to Irish hearts, and Brigid remains popular as a Christian name. Hundreds of place-names in her honour are to be found all over the country, e.g. Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc.

The inner spirit of this feast at the dawning of Spring is expressed in  Luka Bloom’s lovely song for the feast of St. Brigid: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You:

Out of the cold, dark winter space
We come together, looking for Brigid’s grace.
We dip our open hands deep into the well..
Where our rivers run to
Who can tell, who can tell?
We warm our hearts and faces
In the heat of the burning flame.
Something about our spirit
Never stays the same.

Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you
Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you
Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you
Within you

So many lives in shadows
With so much to give away,
Brilliant dreams in waiting
To see the light of day.
We step up to the well
At the dawn of springtime
And when we go our way
We let the light shine..
Let your light shine

Let the light protect you
Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you…
Let the light direct you
Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you…
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid of the light that shines within you…
The light that shines within you

2 Responses

  1. Pól Ó Duibhir


  2. Darlene Starrs

    Thank you ever so much for the scriptures and the story of the Glorious St. Brigid.
    I promise to keep her very close in mind and heart today! Our readings in Canada were very different and the first reading from Hebrews has a section which I thought of in conjuction with Brigid and also in conjuction with the website full of comments of concern and hope for us, the Church, and Father Flannery. Since, the readings are different, I will write the following from Hebrews 10.
    Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

    God Bless You All and I send special thoughts of care to you Father Flannery. I’m sure that St. Brigid would have many words to encourage your heart, but the above struck me as perhaps, consoling.

    Happy Feast Day of St. Brigid!