Day 2 — The Memorial of Saint Brigid of Sweden: we are invited to open the doors of our hearts (especially during times of upheaval and uncertainty) to the holiness of marriage and family life.
“How precious is your mercy, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house; from your delightful stream you give them to drink” (Ps 36:2-3).
The family is the fundamental unit of society and is a refuge for children “in the shadow of [the Lord’s] wings.” There is no societal institution that can support, nurture, and educate children like one in which the mother and the father are unified through marriage, and live in harmony. In the Gospel today Jesus speaks of “knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven” that is freely given to His disciples. The family is the first school of discipleship. Indeed, family life provides the “prime gifts” of which the psalm speaks, and in which the material and spiritual needs of persons are best met. The family is meant to image the Blessed Trinity in its love and unity, and be God’s light of truth to the world.
St. Bridget of Sweden (c. 1303-1373), whose memorial we celebrate today, lived her married life serving as lady-in-waiting to the queen in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. She was the mother of eight children. She received mystical visions that compelled her to serve the sick, often with her children in tow. She did her best to be a holy influence on the king and his court, eventually encouraging him to give her not only what she needed to care for the poor and sick, but also to found a monastery for men and women. She is a true example of a disciple, formed and nurtured through family life, who then brought the healing love of Jesus to the world.
Blessed Solanus was formed and nurtured as a disciple in the domestic Church as the sixth of 16 children born to Irish immigrant parents in Big River, Wisconsin. He had nine brothers and six sisters! Fr. Solanus once recalled his father’s exhortation to him and his brothers, “Prayer, boys, prayer!” His mother taught him to pray the Rosary, and this became his favorite daily devotion. Several of his siblings also entered religious life. The Casey household was a school of divine love, and was a springboard that propelled Solanus to continually live in the presence of God and serve as a powerful witness of Jesus’ love for all.
Today let us pray for a renewal of marriage and family life, and for all those who are suffering difficulties in their marriages and families — that God’s healing love is poured out upon them in abundance!
Prayer for the Canonization of Father Solanus Casey
O God, I adore You. I give myself to You.
May I be the person You want me to be,
and may Your will be done in my life today.
I thank You for the gifts You gave Father Solanus.
If it is Your will, bless us with the Canonization of
Father Solanus so that others may imitate
and carry on his love for all the poor and suffering of our world.
As he joyfully accepted Your divine plans,
I ask You, according to Your will,
to hear my prayer for…(your intention)
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Blessed be God in all His designs.”