The Feast Day of St. Bridgit of Kildare
I was reading the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer the other day, looking for a succinct way of talking about Christian mission, and I came across the definition of sin (pg 848).
Q. What is sin?
A. Sin is the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation.
This made me realize that Jesus’ lesson in the reading from the Gospel of Mark which is the scripture for the Feast Day of St. Bridgit of Kildare is a way of specifying the sort of attitude that keeps us in right relationship with God. Do not worry, Jesus says, about what you will eat, what you will drink, or what you will wear. Worry won’t add a single hour to your life, and, anyway, God knows what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God.
St. Bridgit used to give away all her possessions, and those of her family as well, to the needy. This was maddening to her kinfolk, but it was following the will of God.
At heart worry is a form of idolatry. It sets us up. When we imagine that we are solely responsible for causing our lives to go well, we become like little gods. We forget who is really in charge. We begin to imagine all sorts of things that we are desperately in need of, and we scheme and plot ways to get them. And we hoard what we have. The most important thing, the moment by moment relationship with the living God, our source of life and love, is forgotten.
When we no longer remember that God runs the show, we can get into all sorts of other trouble. For instance, suddenly it becomes important to us that we make distinctions between people. Some are useful and helpful to us, and we call these “good”. Others are more detrimental to us, and we call these “bad”.
God loves us, and does so with a simple, pervasive, joyful attentiveness. Each one of us is the object of God’s pure desire and delight. How, then, can we find the kingdom of God if we are separating people into categories in our hearts as we scheme to possess and to control?
Seeking our own will is like being content in a tiny room in a large mansion because we don’t recognize that what we thought was a wall is really a corridor. Jesus promises us that God knows what we need and God will provide it. It may seem naive in the extreme to trust in this simple teaching. But, on the other hand, living as demigods is breaking our hearts and killing our souls.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and writer living in Fort Collins, Colorado. Some of her icons can be viewed at http://everydaymysteries.com. And check out her novel at https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B074G137V8/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g2609328962?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1&ie=UTF8