Troparion Tone 2
Holy Bridget, Patroness of all Ireland, pray for those in need of your compassion, and may your faith and works inspire all to build merciful communities.
Reading from the Book of Psalm 1
Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and they meditate on his law day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.
It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, Nor the sinner in the council of the righteous For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.
Reading from the Book of Corinthian 1
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Chapter: 26, Verse: 31
Gospel of Matthew
Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you– you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?’ or `What will we drink?’ or `What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Chapter: 6, Verses: 25 to 33
Saint Bridget or Brid in Gaelic was born a simple servant in one of the first Christian families in Ireland. Her generosity and kind spirit often put her at odds with her father as she was apt to give away all they had to those less fortunate. The King himself took notice and demanded her freedom. She went on to become the first female bishop in all of Ireland and is their only female patroness. Her healings and miracles make her a favorite to this day. She is particularly revered among ale makers, midwives, nuns and female clergy, and fugitives.
This feast day can be found directly between the winter solstice and spring equinox at a time when resources, warmth, and daylight are scarce but increase daily. That increase is a promise of the life to come this spring and the renewal of all life. Reminiscent of the Pagan holiday Imbolc, but with the promise of much more in Christ’s light. The world prepares for the risen Christ just as it prepares in the dark of Saint Bridget’s Day for spring.
Let us remember for Saint Bridget that chastity for the sake of service, building community, and serving others is the best way to prepare for what is to come in our earthly seasons and in what will be in future celebration for the coming and resurrection of Christ.