Written by: Denise Serafini on Wednesday, May 03, 2017
We made our way back from our tour in Michigan to assure we would be back in time for a presentation at St. Brigid’s Church in our home state on April 7. Fathers Crowley and Dawson joined us and we had a full contingent of Knights of Columbus Color Guard.
St. Brigid’s Church is an old city neighborhood parish in West Hartford that was built well before there was a real need for parking lots. They have a small circular drive to drop folks off before setting out in search of parking somewhere on a side street or on the busy main thoroughfare where it’s located. My first thought was that very few people would attend this event and I even mentioned that to one of the folks helping me set up. Much to my surprise, however, people braved the rainy evening and found parking as necessary to join us and we had a pretty well filled church. Just before the event started, the person I made that comment to gave me a little zing with one of Jesus' strongest admonitions to his disciples, “o ye of little faith.”
Somehow I think that St. Brigid’s dedication to the Cross may have been one of the interceding factors for making that happen in this fine church dedicated in her honor. I don’t think she ever doubted the power God has to draw in his people to Him.
Brigid's faith was exemplified in her acts of mercy, pity and charity. It is said that she gave generously to the poor because she recognized Christ in the sick and the needy. In Matthew 25 Jesus said, “when you do something for the least of my brethren you do it for me.” Brigid’s close identification with the “least of Jesus’ brethren” is a major theme that underscores the story of Brigid. However, Brigid is also noted for a number of miraculous healings that were brought about because of her prayerful intercession. More significant to our story is that St. Brigid is linked to the cross by a story about her weaving a cross with reeds at the death-bed of a man, who upon hearing what the cross meant, asked to be baptized. In memory of this grace of conversion through St. Brigid’s intercession, it is a popular Irish custom on her feast day (February 1st) to make the St. Brigid’s cross out of tall grasses, rushes, or reeds, sprinkle it with holy water, and recite the following prayer:
May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost be on this Cross and on the place where it hangs and on everyone who looks on it.
The essence of that prayer is truly at the very root of our thoughts as we venerate the relic of the True Cross. Certainly the blessing of the Trinity is on the Cross of Christ. After meditating on the Passion of Christ, we approach the Relic of the True Cross, asking Jesus to engage in our life’s tribulations to bring about conversion and healing for ourselves, for our family members and others for whom we pray. St. Brigid had a steadfast faith and fully understood the power of God’s love and mercy in His Son’s death on the Cross and invoked that source of all love to help those with whom and for whom she prayed. We too had the opportunity to approach the cross in honor of the blood he shed upon it for our salvation, to offer up our petitions with all of our prayerful intentions, asking for His mercy, love, healing and salvation.
So let us thank God for St. Brigid and ask the Holy Spirit to instill in us the same faith that Brigid had and follow in her example. As you can tell from my thoughts before this event started, the Holy Spirit still has lots of work to do in helping me develop a consistent and steadfast faith.