St Brigid – Behold the Love of God

021413_stbrigid_sqIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, we remember St Brigid of Kildare, and the Holy Martyr St Tryphon today. Saints Brigid and Tryphon, pray for us!

One of the greatest mysteries of our faith is the liturgical life, which are Holy Mysteries to us, a gift from God. Through His Love, we find a narrow path that we struggle and walk, everyday, in order that we too, will grow our love for God whom we profess. Therefore, the greatest of all Mysteries is love.

St Brigid was an exquisitely beautiful lady, and her father wanted to marry her to the king. From a noble upbringing in Ulster, St Brigid prayed to Christ our Lord that she would become ugly so that she would not need to marry, and she lost an eye. Her father then had no choice but to allow St Brigid to enter a monastery. When she entered the monastery and took her vows, God restored her beauty. St Brigid built a monastic kill-dara, a cell under an oak tree. Eventually, others joined her and a monastery was founded. St Brigid reposed peacefully in 524 AD. We ask St Brigid of Kildare, seen as an equal to St Patrick, to pray for us.

Kildare, the cell under the oak, is so fitting that the beloved St Brigid found her way to God in a quiet place of prayer under a strong oak tree, like her faith in God. As with the steadfast faith of St Brigid that allowed her to forego her beauty and especially her ego, that God took mercy on her to take away her eye, as much as how God miraculously restored her sight and beauty when she entered the monastic life, we see the mystery of God’s Ways. God has provided St Brigid with the means to her prayerful life because her faith in God is true and strong. St Brigid represented her profound love for God, far beyond what she could have done – loving her beautiful exterior. In shedding her ego and her exterior, she found God, and found love for Him, and found love for others whom she cared for and ministered to.

Likewise, the holy father among the saints, the Martyr St Tryphon, was gifted by God with gifts of healing and exorcism. Rather than draw people to himself, the saint used this gifts wisely in service to God, healing people and bringing them to Jesus Christ our Lord, out of love for the many. He once prayed to God to drive out a locust plague, that would have destroyed the crops and impoverished the people. Again, he prayed always to God out of love for others, and not simply praying for himself and his own desires. St Tryphon, pray for us.

And no, God does not leave us to our own devices. God is ever-present, and He waits for us to reunite with Him. He lays abundant signs before our journey towards Him, pointing us to Him. As we read from Ezekiel 33:8-11 and Psalm 146:5-10 (LXX 145), God does not forsake the wicked, nor love only the just and the righteous. God lifts up the weak, the impoverished, and the sick. In those who are impoverished and weak, God has shown us the path to which we too, can participate with God in our own salvation. God does not want us to sink into depression or oblivion, but He would point us to His Ways, His Light, His Love, so that we can find our ways back to Him again, and not die, but receive His Gift of everlasting life.

In the Church, we repent and pray to God, asking our Panagia, and God’s holy hosts and saints, to intercede for us before God. We do not intellectualize our faith in God, we pray like little children whose hearts are pure and simple (St Matthew 19:14). We do not question God on why things happen in particular ways, or what we want, because all things are His creations and we recognize it as a mystery to behold and treasure (St Mark 11:27-33). We are simply, to repent and pray, and ask God for His Mercy upon us (St James 4:7-5:9).

The days of Judgment is drawing near (St James 5:8-9). No one except God knows when this will happen. We are to live daily recognizing that we have lived according to the Will of God, to fortify our hearts and armor ourselves with prayer, to attempt to place God before us, rather than placing ourselves before God.

As we reflect on St James 4:7-5:9, it is a grim reminder, that our beloved Lord and Christ, will come as Judge, and He is standing at the door. Remember our shackles of passions, our shackles of materials, our shackles of indulgence, and how we are to seek the liberation and the freedom in the repeated repentance of our passions, and the repeated prayers unto our Christ and Lord, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Ezekiel 33:8-11
Psalm 146:5-10 (LXX 145)
St Mark 11:27-33
St James 4:7-5:9