are 3 feasts of special note this month:
The Presentation of the Lord
Our Lady of Lourdes
comes to Ireland on February 1st, feast of St Brigid, one of the three Patrons
of Ireland, with Patrick and Columcille. It
is known that she founded a monastery in the 5th century in Kildare, or Cill Dara,
the Church of the Oak.|
was a double monastery, one for men and one for women and St. Brigid seems to
have been the Abbess of the two families. Brigid, or Bride, has always been an
inspiration to Irish women, in particular known for her great hospitality and
compassion towards the poor.
Book of Lismore, says of her: "She is the prophetess of Christ; she is the
Queen of the South; she is the Mary of the Gael."
in the 12th century, a Welshman named Giraldus, tells of the 'Perpetual fire'
of St. Brigid, probably of pagan origin, for there was a Celtic Goddess of a similar
name - and it is difficult to distinguish between history and legend. However,
this flame is still kept in Kildare, and, in the millennium year, it was brought
to the four provinces of Ireland as a symbol of Christian faith.
at the threshold of Christianity,
you transformed the flame of our ancient heritage
into the light of Christ,
and inspired men and women
to be committed to the Gospel.
As we carry the light of Christ across the centuries,
may it illumine our darkness,
may it warm us with the light of Christ's love.
May it fill us with hope.
* * * * * *
February 2nd we remember the Presentation of Jesus as a Child in the Temple. Mary
and Joseph brought Him to His Father's House and with Him presented the offerings
of the poor, "two turtle doves, or two young pigeons".
this event we have the inspiring song of the old man Simeon, the 'Nunc dimitttus',
which is still sung at the Night Office of Compline.
feast is also called Candlemas, as on this day candles are blessed and carried
many years now February 2nd is the day dedicated to Religious men and women. Knock
is home to many Religious families and we usually gather together in our Chapel
for Vespers or Evening Prayer, after which we have a 'get-together' for refreshments.
It is an occasion very much enjoyed by all.
* * * * * *
story of Lourdes is well documented.
Lady appeared 18 times to a girl named Bernadette Soubirous from 11th February
to 16th July 1858.
to Pope John 23rd, revelations or apparitions "are not to proclaim a new
doctrine of faith, but to direct human actions," in other words: to recall
us to Christian living.
is a place of pilgrimage where many have come for healing.
At Our Lady's command,
Bernadette scratched the ground in front of the grotto to reveal a spring which
flows to this very day and has been channelled into baths in which pilgrims bathe.
Lourdes water is highly prized by many Catholics. But it is noteworthy that most
of the cures take place during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament. As at
Cana, Mary points to her Son. It is to Him we pray: "Say but the word and
I shall be healed."
Star of Salvation, Virgin Mary,
from you rose the Sun of Justice,
to visit us from on high.
Prayer of the Feast)