Blessings, today we continue our four-part email retreat on Celtic Spirituality, centred around the Irish mystic and saint, Brigid of Kildare. Each Wednesday in February, I will send out a mid week message that has a reflection, a symbol, a reading, and a spiritual practice. The resources are adapted from The Prayer Bench retreat called, ‘Living the In-Between Way.’
Today, the symbol is a candle. I invite you to gather a candle, or candles to light before you continue reading.
The story goes that when Brigid built her monastery, she kindled a flame that was tended by each of her sisters for 19 nights, and she kept the ritual fire alight on the 20th night. It was an “everliving fire” and represented a tradition that went back to pagan times. It is said that Brigid’s fire burned for 500 years and produced no ashes. The light of Brigid’s fire welcomed the stranger and was a sign that Brigid would do whatever she could for a wanderer. She is remembered for her compassion.
In 2006, Brigid’s sacred flame was re-lit in the Kildare Town Square “as a beacon of hope, justice and peace for Ireland and our world”. Her flame continues to burn in the hearts of ordinary mystics.
The experience of a global pandemic is changing how we see spiritual practice. There is an urgency to bring qualities of kindness, goodness, and compassion to the world and find ways to support the common good. There is much to learn these days about privilege, racism, poverty, and the effects of climate crisis and how all life is connected. We pray for eyes to see so we can tend the call to take part in the unfolding of a greater vision.
Take time to read, and reread Luke Slowly Read: Luke 2:22-40
Candle mass is celebrated on February 2. It commemorates the visit of Mary and Joseph to the temple 40 days after the birth of Jesus. Here is a lovely story, recorded by Alexander Carmichael in the Carmina Gadelica, of Brigid walking before Mary with a lighted candle in each hand shedding light on her path.
“It is said in Ireland that Bride [Brigid] walked before Mary with a lighted candle in each hand when she went up to the Temple for purification. The winds were strong on the Temple heights, and the tapers were unprotected, yet they did not flicker nor fail.”
Spiritual Practice -silent meditation
· I invite you to light your candle.
· Take a moment in silence to watch the light – the ever-living fire.
· Allow the ever-living burning fire burning in your heart to draw your attention to something by asking, “What needs my attention now?”
· Reflect silently on who serves as “Brigid of Brightness” in your life?
· Reflect on what ways that you are shedding light on the path of others?
End you time of silence with saying the Saint Brigid prayer aloud:
“Guide our hands in yours,
Remind us how to kindle the hearth.
To keep it bright, to preserve the flame.
Your hands upon ours,
Our hands within yours,
To kindle the light,
Both day and night.”
– Saint Brigid Prayer
Each Wednesday we send out an inspirational message.