Dia is Muire duit, is Bríd!
Welcome again to another of our little reflections here on Lough Derg as we move on into the spring in the company of St Brigid. Last week we reflected on the story of St Brigid’s Cross and the cross I had with me then was the usual four armed cross most commonly made across the country. But that is not the only shape of St Brigid’s Cross some of them use a framework of twigs on which the rushes are woven. The cross on the ceiling of St Brigid’s Chapel uses that model as its inspiration. Here with me today I have a three armed cross. This cross was originally made in Co Down, in Armagh and in some parts of Donegal and this cross combines devotion to St Brigid with devotion to the Blessed Trinity.
It is a striking feature of Celtic Christianity that the mystery of the Blessed Trinity was for those early Saints and for our ancestors, through the generations, not just a matter of dogma but a matter of deep devotion. People felt a real connection and closeness to their God whom they recognised as Father – Creator, as Jesus the Son of God and their Saviour and as the Holy Spirit, their Comforter and Guide.
In the tradition of Irish prayers and many of these have been collected from right across the country, this tradition of warm feeling towards God our loving Father is well attested. This is the God that Brigid knew and that Brigid loved. So the St Brigid’s Cross whether it is in this form or one of the other forms there in our homes it speaks to us of God’s closeness and of God’s protection to us and to our families as we belong in the household of faith.
One of the traditional prayers that puts this together goes like this,
A Bhríd, a mhaighdean gheal choir,
Cuidigh liom roimh Dian a glóir,
I m’shuí, I m’luí, san oíche nó sa ló,
Go mbeidh mé leatsa chóiche is go deo.
Brigid, bright beautiful virgin,
Help me before the God of Glory,
Awake, asleep, by night or by day,
May I be with you always and forever.
Until next time, slán go fóill.
Monsignor La Flynn, Prior.