Thursday, July 23, 2009


“Saint Bridget Of Sweden
with Her Attributes”
Artist is UNKNOWN, 1476


Biographical Information about St. Bridget of Sweden

Readings for the Memorial of St. Bridget of Sweden [1]

Readings and Commentary:

Galatians 2:19-20

Brothers and sisters:
Through the law I died to the law,
that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;
insofar as I now live in the flesh,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.
Commentary on
Gal 2:19-20

In this selection of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the Apostle contrasts actions that are in accord with the precepts of Mosaic Law against the interior life of faith that justifies us before God in Christ.

"2:20 crucified with Christ: Paul has died to an old order of things, namely, the slavery of sin and the regime of the Old Covenant.  He describes this elsewhere as a sacramental union with Jesus effected through Baptism (Romans 6:3-8). lives in me: Believers posses life that is natural and biological (human life) as well as supernatural and theological (divine life). who loved me: Jesus endured the torture and shame of the Cross for the entire world collectively and for every person individually (CCC 478, 616)" [3]

CCC: Gal 2:20 478, 616, 1380, 2666
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (2) I will bless the Lord at all times.
(9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.

CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336
John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."
Commentary on John 15:1-8

This selection begins the discourse on the vine and the branches – really a monologue on the union with Jesus. It is still part of Jesus’ farewell speech. The familiar image of the vineyard and the vines is used which has imagery in common with Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew 21:33-46 and as a vine at Psalm 80:9-17; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:2; 17:5-10; 19:10; Hosea 10:1. The identification of the vine as the Son of Man in Psalm 80:15 and Wisdom's description of herself as a vine in Sirach 24:17. This monologue becomes a unifying tie that pulls everything together.

CCC: Jn 15:1-17 1108; Jn 15:1-5 755; Jn 15:1-4 1988; Jn 15:3 517; Jn 15:4-5  787; Jn 15:5 308, 737, 859, 864, 1694, 2074, 2732; Jn 15:7 2615; Jn 15:8 737

Scripture recalls for us that it is the interior life of faith that connects us to the “True Vine” which is Christ. It is this virtue of faith for which we memorialize St. Bridget on this day. Hers was a way of life of that had led so many to debauchery and decadence, yet St. Bridget kept the life of faith foremost. It guided her and, through her influence as a royal person in her native Sweden, the leaders of her country.

Though most of us are not in position to influence national policy or even broad sections of our communities we must always be aware that our actions do impact others. Through us, God’s influence is felt in the world. Our interior faith impacts all that we do and as a result, what we do makes a difference in others. We become the leaf of the vine that provides shade, collects the dew, and gives nourishment to others; and though their connection to us, they have a connection to the one who sends us, Christ Jesus.

Today as we recall the heroic virtue of St. Bridget, let us also recall that we are connected to that same vine that so influenced her that she influenced a country. We pray that our actions will guide others to the faith and that we might honor her memory in acts of piety and charity.


[1] The picture is “Saint Bridget Of Sweden with Her Attributes” Artist is UNKNOWN, 1476
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 334

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