A Hard but Holy Journey

I have been very pre-occupied with my youngest brother’s welfare. At age 61 he has a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. This is a tragedy. I have, however, risen to the occasion and am literally my brother’s keeper. I have Powers of Attorney in order to preserve his future. I feel blesseds to have such an opportunity to accompany him on this hard but holy journey. Please pray for me and mine.

8 (spiritual) New Year’s resolutions for Catholics

1. Live our Lady’s Message at Fatima
2. Make more time for spiritual reading
3. Make good stewartship a lifestyle
4. Share your Catholic faith with others.
5. Bring back regular penances.
6. Go an extra day to Mass.
7. Pray the rosary.
8. Pick a new saint buddy.

www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/new-years-spiritual resolutions/

Recalling the Inextinguishable Fire of Saint Brigid

On the first day of February, somewhere in Ireland, a ewe is born and peacefully nestles at its mother’s side, warmed by her body, nourished by her milk. This is a pleasing sign of spring, as are the days which are visibly lengthening. In Ireland, the first day of February is widely celebrated at St. Brigid’s Day for the Christians, and as Imbolc for present-day pre-Christians, with some similarities to Ground Hog Day when we pause to speculate on the imminent or distant arrival of spring.

Most of us are familiar with Saint Patrick as the patron saint of Ireland, but Saint Brigid is the sole woman who also carries this honor. Brigid, who was born around 525 A.D., established a religious house for women in Kildare. There are remarkable stories about this woman, but the one I like the most is that from a very young age, she gave things away. If someone needed something, food or whatever, and she had some, she just gave it to them. Apparently this annoyed her father, but Brigid persisted. The mystery in it, though, and the part of the story that I like the most, is that, in spite of her giving food away to the poor, her pantry was always full. Isn’t this love, too, in that the more love you give away, the more you have in your heart, your “pantry” for love?

Brigid is also associated with fire, although this association seems to date back to the pre-Christian goddess Brigit. There was an inextinguishable fire at Brigid’s religious house in Kildare which burned for 500 years but produced no ashes. I think most of us can relate to the idea of an inextinguishable fire, be it burning in a fireplace or in our hearts. But the lingering mystery for me in this story is that men were not allowed near this certain fire in Kildare.

Brigid is also said to have wailed the first keening in Ireland upon the death of her son. I was familiar with keening from Irish literature, but I was not aware that the origin of this in Ireland was a woman mourning her son’s death. But this should come as no surprise that this dreadful sound, a direful moaning chant, would come from the heart of a woman who has lost her son.

My final story about Brigid rests with what is known as a St. Brigid’s Cross. The story tells us that St. Brigid converted a man on his deathbed. In the process of conversion, she held a cross over him that she had made of rushes found on the floor around her. Women in Ireland still plait rushes into a cross, as St. Brigid did, and these women hang their creations in their kitchens. The St. Brigid’s cross I have, which is pictured above, was plaited by an extraordinary Irish woman, Nancy Stevens, a woman whose pantry was always full in spite of her endless giving to her family, friends, and strangers who crossed her threshold. She was also the first one up each morning to tend to the fire that was always burning in her kitchen, a fire that warmed me on many days and in as many ways.

The story of Brigid resonates with women, which is why I wanted to post her story on the first day of February. In honoring her today, we honor all women who have showered us with both tangible and intangible gifts from their pantry, stoked those inextinguishable fires which burn in all women’s hearts, and taught us to wail like a banshee should a child be taken from us. http://thewildgeese.irish/profiles/blogs/saint-brigid-s-day

My Brother’s Keeper

Am I my brother’s keeper

When he cries out to me?

Will I share my resources

At home across the sea?

 

Am I my brother’s keeper

Reaching out with love

To share some of the blessings

God sends me from above.

 

Am I my brother’s keeper

Compassionate and wise,

looking at the less fortunate

Through our Savior’s eyes?

 

The joy that comes from giving

Is manna for the soul.

It’s the thread that unites us

And makes the broken whole.

 

Am I my brother’s keeper

When the going gets tough?

Whatever I may give away.

I always have enough.

 

God loves a cheerful giver…

It changes lives you see.

Am I my brother’s keeper

When he cries out to me?

Clay Harrison

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the sames love united in heart, thinking one thing. Philippians 2:2

 

 

 

People Get Ready

People Get Ready – Lyrics

People get ready
There’s a train a-coming
You don’t need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
Don’t need no ticket
You just thank the Lord

People get ready
For the train to Jordan
Picking up passengers
From coast to coast
Faith is the key
Open the doors and board them
There’s room for all
Among the loved the most

There ain’t no room
For the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all mankind just
To save his own
Have pity on those
Whose chances are thinner
Cause there’s no hiding place
From the Kingdom’s Throne

So people get ready
For the train a-comin’
You don’t need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
Don’t need no ticket
You just thank, you just thank the Lord

Yeah
Oh
Yeah
Oh

I’m getting ready
I’m getting ready
This time I’m ready
This time I’m ready

Written by Curtis Mayfield • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Christmas Blessings

“The Word became a human being,

and full of grace and truth lived among us.

 

And He, who came on that first Christmas morning,

gently reminds us of another way,

a pilgrim way,

not distant form struggles, but in the their midst;

 

a way mysteriously calling us

to listen to the cries of the wounded of the world

and to help bear their burdens:

a way which, amazingly,

renews us with the wonder of love,

 

rekindling in our hearts

the possibility that we can move forward with hope-

a people of compassion,

committed to sharing.”

Peter Millar

 

Prayer of St. Patrick

I arise today through the strength of heaven, light of the sun, radiance of the moon, splendor of fire, speed of lightening, swiftness of the wind, depth of the sea, stability of the earth, firmness of the rock.

I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me. God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s hosts to save me from the snares of the devil, from everyone who desires me ill, afar and near, or alone or in a multitude.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me. Christ in the ear that hears me.