Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I love St. Brigid

I* don't know if she was goddess or saint or (like most of us) somewhere slightly south of all that. But I do know that I love the idea of her. She was the saint of the oppressed and the embarrassed of all things! How can you not love that?!!!

One of the things I love most is the view of heaven attributed to her. Here's how B. Kennelly, a poet put it:

St. Brigid’s Ale Soliloquy

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,
White 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 happy for their own sakes.
I’d like Jesus to be there 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 Marys of great renown.
I’d sit with the men, the women and God,
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking good health forever
and every drop would be a prayer.

Now if you read that aloud with a lilt in your voice and -- if you're like me -- an accent derived from part Scotty on Star Trek, part Irish Spring commericials and part the Lucky Charms guy, you'll pretty much know why I smile everytime I read it.

I also smile because Brigid welcomed all. I long to be so welcoming, so free with what I have that it matters not if when offered to you it is then soiled, displaced, or destroyed, but that what matters is that it is offered. I'm not there yet. Maybe someday . . .

If you want to know a bit more about old Brigid, read on. This is from the pages of a book sold in the town of Kildare, where Brigid called home:

Brigid is the woman who, above all others, embodies the spirit of pre-Christian Celtic and Christian Celtic Ireland. Her life inspires unity and reconciliation. In a world of much fragmentation, with many divides, there is a search for unity, a search for connection, a search for a sense of the whole family, human and natural. ‘In her femininity, Brigid inclusively embraces many kinds of cross currents, some of them apparently contradictory – the ancient and the new, the pagan and the Christian, the animal and the human, the rich and the poor, -- and from this it is clear that her ample cloak can accommodate all kinds of apparently irreconcilable differences.’ There is a traditional invocation: Faoi bhrat Bhride sinn – May we be under the cloak of Brigid.

Brigid is associated in Irish folklore and literature with the gifts of poetry, healing and smithcraft, and is also identified with nurture, fertility, and fire. She is known for her faith, her healing powers, her skill with animals, her hospitality, her generosity and, especially, her concern for the poor, the oppressed or the embarrassed.

*Feeling a little "Campbell-esque" today and wanting to share from my heritage.

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