Today is a special day as we celebrate St. Brigid’s Day. In Ireland there will be a Bank Holiday next Monday to mark today as well. I made some crosses last evening in getting ready for today and the photo is of some of those crosses.

St Brigid is the patroness of Ireland. She has inspired women and men down through the ages. She cared for the poor, healed the sick and managed monastic settlements. She is most famous for her St Brigid’s cross reminding us that God is at the centre and that everything in life and our universe is connected and that nothing is in isolation.

Saint Brigid is credited with inventing the Rosary beads and inspiring the first tiered wedding cake. Many holy wells, churches and schools have been named after her. There are GAA football and hurling clubs that have also been named after her. The life of Saint Brigid has been inspirational. No one can deny how special she was. She was way ahead of her time with her outlook on life, her ideas and her vision for an inclusive church. Her energy and presence is very much alive today and awareness about her story and life continues to grow.

A prayer of ‘Hope to Saint Brigid’ : Brigid you were a special person and an inspiration to so many. You stood up for those who needed a voice. You brought light and hope to so many. You were a woman of love and you were close to nature and the heartbeat of God. Your cross has become so symbolic. It is a sign of hope, a sign of strength and a sign that everything in our world and universe is connected. The centre of your cross is symbolic of the presence of God. Everything comes from the centre and everything is possible when our starting point is at the centre. May we recognise our centre. May we feel the blessings of light, hope, peace, courage and strength. May we grow each day into the person God has created us to be, both in mind, body and spirit. Amen

Thought For The Week

“Happy the pure in heart, they shall see God. Happy the peacemakers, they shall be called sons and daughters of God.”  Matthew 5:6

 We all have seen a fireworks display at some stage. We marvel at its beauty, colour and energy. You can never predict the sequence of a fireworks display. It is a beautiful display of light and colour. We forget many things but we never forget a fireworks display. 

The Beatitudes are a bit like a fireworks display. They stand out as something very different and are also colourful. The Beatitudes may be complex and hard to live out but they are also very beautiful. Jesus was revolutionary in his thinking. He thoroughly disliked the old story and wanted to embrace and welcome the new story where every person was loved, cherished and celebrated. 

Jesus shared the Beatitudes as signposts to a better way of living, to a new way of doing things and most important to bring the best out in each of us. When Jesus shared the Beatitudes, people believed that if you were rich and powerful God was rewarding you and if you were poor, hungry and sick then God was punishing you.

Such thinking upset Jesus, it belonged to the old story. He was determined to change the way people thought about themselves and he wanted to bring in a new story that they could understand. The Beatitudes are the new story. 

They have inspired people like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. They have also inspired Pope Francis.

He recently said: “A person who thinks only about building walls wherever they may be and not building bridges is not a Christian.” There are lots of walls being built in the world we live in today and not enough bridges. 

The Beatitudes encourage us to look at the new story. Walls block, divide and keep people apart but bridges connect, make life better and include more. Jesus is saying that if life is difficult for you right now, you are my priority, you are going to be first, you deserve the best of everything. 

Jesus talks about the poor and the hungry. But so many of us are also spiritually poor. People’s spirits are low, they feel discouraged by the state of the country and the world. Their sense of hope and optimism is low. Again the Beatitudes speak to us here as well. They remind us to begin believing in ourselves again, to celebrate every bit of good news in your life no matter how small. 

We are called to be people of the Beatitudes, to have the courage that Jesus did, to stand up for everything good and beautiful about you and to begin to believe in yourself again.  The new story for Jesus was where every person was loved, cherished and celebrated. Let the new story begin in some way for you also.

The Thought For The Week is updated each Monday