This weeks podcast is now available HERE.
Solemnity of St Ita (Virgin, Co-patron of the Diocese of Limerick)
St Ita also known as the Brigid of Munster is associated with the parish of Kileedy and is one of the co-patrons of the diocese of Limerick. January 15th is her feast day, and on this weeks show, Michael Keating tells us about this extraordinary woman and her role on the development of the faith. This year St Ita's feast day falls on a Sunday in Ordinary time and as such is elevated to the rank of Solemnity in the Diocese of Limerick.
Along with her life story, we discuss how she is a role model and especially how she is a role model for women.
We discuss her links with Killeedy, her fostering of various Irish saints and her link with St. Brendan the Navigator. We look at her feast day and the 'high mass' in Raheenagh church on Sunday, January 15th followed by a social event in the evening. She is reportedly a good intercessor in terms of pregnancy and eye illnesses.
St Ita of course shares the patronage of the diocese with St Munchin whose feast day was January 3rd and once again we encourage you to invoke the intercession of our two diocesan patrons for the selection and consecration of a new bishop of the diocese of Limerick.
Also, check out the blog 4dLord from the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Limerick city which has prayer service for the feast of St Ita . Another suggestion for a service is from the Russian Orthodox community which we came across here.
9th Century poem attributed to St Ita
Gospel - Luke 10: 38-42
A very familiar story is presented to us today from the gospel of St Luke. With any piece of scripture which can be over familiar, it is a prime example of one that we should do lectio on. We should read and reflect on the text, read it a couple of times maybe even out loud for one of those times. We should then go back line by line, reflecting on what arises out of the text. We need to enter dialogue with the scripture, enter in dialogue with God through his inspired word which ultimately leads us deeper into prayer.
The beginning of the piece challenges us on our understanding of welcome. Ireland is supposed to be the country of the welcomes but how do we welcome God into our homes in our fellow human beings? We are all made in the image and likeness of God and like St Ita are we welcoming and open to those around us? Are we truly welcoming to others, especially those who are see as "Other" in the society that we live in be that immigrants, travellers, people who are gay, those suffering from mental illness? Do we only welcome those we are comfortable with?
Then we have the question, do we sit at the feet of the Master? Our contemplatives in the Church are a great powerhouse to the universal Church but there are also those who go apart for an hour or half hour on a regular basis for Eucharistic Adoration. We are a society which is almost afraid of silence and this gospel challenges us to sit in the silence to be open to the promptings of God. Do we make time, even if it is only 5 minutes in the day to listen and hear to what God has to say to us? Are we actively reading and listening to scripture in our lives and what it has to say to us in our daily existence? It must be a fruitful listening, it is not enough to listen to the word of God but are we using it in our lives?
A very human response arises for Martha. Being the practical one she is rushing around sorting things out for the visitors - chances are Jesus wasn't alone but had the 12 apostles with him. Oddly Martha says to a guest - Jesus - that she needs the help. It stresses the intimacy of the relationship and humanity in it all. And Jesus' response is also a very intimate response. Jesus calls Martha by her name and speaks to her to her heart.
It reminds us that Jesus is always trying to speak to us in our hearts, he is always willing to enter into an intimate relationship with us if we let him. He calls us to imitate Mary and even St Ita to go and sit at his feet to listen to him and then like Martha to go back out into the world to live out our faith in our everyday lives.
Various other reflections on the gospel selection (please bear in mind that some of these selections may be from other times in the liturgical year as this gospel is often heard during Lent).
- Word on Fire
- The Abandoned Mind
- Clearing Away the Psychic Clutter: Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42
- Reflections on Martha and Mary
Saints of the Week
January 16th - St Fursa (Abbot and missionary)
January 17th - St Anthony of Egypt (Father of Monasticism)
January 19th - St Thecla (Virgin martyr)
January 20th - St Wulston of Worchestor
January 21st - Ss Fabian (Pope, martyr) and Sebastian (Martyr)
January 22nd - St Agnes (Virgin martyr)