Saturday, February 2, 2008

February Saints

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Brigid of Ireland. Today is the Feast of Candlemas also known as the Feast of the Purification. These are wonderful feasts. I particularly love Simeon who says upon meeting the Christ Child, "Lord now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation". The Elizabethan composer, Gibbons, set it to music--a fine and beautiful motet indeed.

I am watching the Democratic candidates debate. They are making history. I hope that one of them will win and make further history. An end to an unjust war that has besmirched our national character and our standing in the world. An end to poverty in our life times. (Perhaps and economics of generosity instead of scarcity. Certainly higher taxes for the ultra rich to discourage CEO's from walking away with tens of millions of dollars. A pricing structure for energy that puts money back in consumers' pockets when the the company profit reaches a certain level--Exxon Mobil is a scandal in my estimation.)

What does this have to do with two women's feasts? Am I digressing. Not really. St. Brigid was a nun who had charge over a community and is reputed to have been responsible for a miracle involving making sure there was enough beer to go around. The Blessed Virgin was a mother, who watched the household economy as women ever have; when her son came of age and performed his first miracle it had to do with making sure there was enough wine to go around.

Women have always fed and washed, combed and clothed, the children and the elderly. We haven't always had a strong voice in politics, although history shows that queens have led as well as kings, and that the pantheon of saints shows us women leaders.

Only in recent times (the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) have we had fewer women leaders (I think of the demise of Catholic women's religious orders here) and an economics of scarcity.

So on this Marian feast, one of my favorite in the calendar because of its text and images, the music and the candlelit procession around the church, I pause to ponder women's role yet again and say a prayer for Hillary, a strong woman who is making history.

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