Wednesday, 7 February 2018

What would happen if Ireland ever forgot Saint Brigid?

Continuing the reading of the 1907 book Saint Brigid, Patroness of Ireland by Father J. A. Knowles with a follow-up to yesterday's selection on the devotion of the people of Ireland to their patroness. Today the author lays out what he sees as the dire consequences for the country should it ever forget to honour her:
Should they, which God forbid, ever grow cold in their devotion to her, or become forgetful of her benefits to them, their crime would truly be an unpardonable one. A terrible change would come over the fair face of our country, every acre of which holds some sacred memorial of a life devoted to the spiritual regeneration of a people she loved next to Him, in Whose service her days were spent. The ivy-mantled walls of the temples erected by our forefathers in her honour would totter to the ground in indignant protest. The holy wells that bear her name would cease to give their blessed waters to an ungrateful nation. The fertile soil of the four provinces, consecrated by her missionary footsteps, would cease to yield their rich golden harvests. 
Fortunately, Father Knowles does not foresee any immediate danger of ruined churches collapsing, holy wells drying up or harvests failing, for which we can only be thankful: 
There is no indication of such untoward events happening in our generation. St Brigid still holds her high place in the hearts of Irish Catholics. Her consecrated virgins still assume her name when entering the cloister. Mothers are found to give her name to their children at the baptismal font and to place them under her protection. Churches are raised, year after year, in her honour. Fervent prayers ascend from Irish hearts, not only on her feast-day, but hourly, that God, through her intercession, may protect the Irish nation from the evils of the day, may bless and shield us from the enemies of our Faith, and send down on our Island the twin-gifts of righteous liberty and enduring peace.
Tomorrow I want to look at how Father Knowles views the written sources for the life of Saint Brigid.

Rev. J.A. Knowles, O.S.A., Saint Brigid, Patroness of Ireland, (Dublin, 1907), 18-20.

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