Sunday, January 31, 2016

Preparing for the Feast Day of St. Brigid

Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Brigid, who founded some of the first Christian monasteries in Ireland, most famously the legendary one in Kildare.  She also founded a school of art that focuses on metal working and illumination.  The illustrated manuscript, the Book of Kildare, was created under her auspices.  Unfortunately, it's been lost since the Reformation, so we know it by its reputation only.

She's famous for miracles of abundance:  she’s associated with lakes of milk and abundant baskets of butter. Like Christ, she transformed water into nourishment: she’s legendary for transforming water into milk and water into beer.

Since her feast day falls on a Monday this year, if we plan to celebrate by doing anything out of the ordinary, we might want to prepare today.  Here are some ideas:

--We could create our own book of illuminations. Maybe this should be the year that we keep an illuminated journal. What would happen if we sketched more? What would happen if we collected images along with words?

--Even people who don't have drawing skills could do this project. Take a photo every day and see what opens up in your heart. Before you throw magazines away, clip images that speak to you. Once you have a collection, spread them out to see if they speak to you in a different way.

--How could we celebrate Brigid's interest in metal working? I'm certainly not going to take up welding. But jewelry making? Perhaps. Maybe it's time to look at the earrings I no longer wear, the necklaces that don't delight me. Could I make a new piece of jewelry? Or could I make some other kind of artistic creation?

--Brigid's miracles reveal a sense of abundance: lakes full of milk, baskets of butter, water turned into milk or beer. Thinking of butter makes me think of bread. Why not bake some bread today and slather it with butter? If you think you don't have time for a yeasted bread, why not an Irish soda bread?

--Deb Perelman over at Smitten Kitchen has an intriguing recipe in this post: soda bread that can be made in a scone shape (or in a skillet, if you don't have time for scones). And, in the spirit of Saint Brigid, it's best to consume all of the bread on the day that you make it. Abundance! Tomorrow, you could make more.

--Even if you don't bake, you could go buy a good bread and slather it with butter.

--Brigid is associated with fire. Let's build a fire and think about the flames as they dance. How can we be this kind of light to others?

--Or, thinking about fire in a different way, a metalworking way, what purifying flames do we need to invite into our lives? What habits do we need to throw into the flames so that we are no longer held back by them?

--I return again and again to the abundance associated with Brigid. How can we invite abundance into our lives? How can we recognize it and celebrate it?

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