Dear St. Luke’s Community,

The icon you may or not be able to see to the left in this week’s reflection is that of St. Brigid a shining light in the Celtic pantheon of Saints. She is known as the patroness of hospitality and helped maintain Christian identity ahead of the celebrated time of St. Patrick on the Emerald Isle. Her feast day is tomorrow, February 1st.

She was known to be generous to a fault. One story of Brigid is that she was sent to take the family dairy produce (cheese, butter and cream) to the county fair for judging in competition which would mean a great deal in real terms for her family’s dairy business. Her parents were skittish about sending her alone to do this task as she was known to give anything to anyone who she believed needed it more than she. Their fears were realized (though they would not know) when on her journey to the fair, Brigid came across a poor unfortunate. She shared a bit of her fare with him and went along, determined to have at least some of the dairy products to serve at fair. She came across another poor one and then another practicing her signature generosity along the way. She makes the last stretch of her journey to market and fair noticing that she has nothing left for the judging.

She takes her place in the judging line and opens up her basket one last time to see if she had missed something that she might offer for sampling and judging. Miraculously, the basket appears full and with products of a quality superior to that which she had left Kildare with. Her radical and reckless generosity was rewarded with top prize and orders for all the produce that her dairy could supply.

It’s a marvelous story and fun, no question. I believe there is a deeper reality about the nature of our call of God in Christ that we ignore at our own peril. To give without question and because there is need is the action of a faithful life and a mature faith. This last Sunday in my Annual Meeting address, I called the community to a commitment to practicing the Christian Virtue of Hospitality.

As you enter tomorrow, the shortest month of the year, and stand on the threshold of Lent, remember Brigid and her lasting example on a people who have a heritage of hospitality to the stranger. Remember Jesus in Matthew 25, “Whenever you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me.” Or Hebrews 13 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Happy St. Brigid’s Day!!!

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