She was a marvellous ladder whereby the tribes/ could reach the kingdom of the Son of Mary.
- Broccan, Hymn to Saint Brigit (Irish, 7th century)
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
- 2 Timothy 2.1, 2
We have seen this image before of the saints of God as ladders. Dallan Forgaill used it to describe the men trained by Column Cille, who became under his tutelage ladders laid against the heavenly city. It's a beautiful image and profound, and it should inspire each of us in our calling to make disciples.
Brigit is one of the three great early saints of Ireland, along with Patrick and Colum Cille. She flourished near the beginning of the sixth century and was renowned for her exemplary life of piety and compassion.
Many from the pagan tribes of Ireland found their way to the Kingdom of God through her ministrations. Consider what this requires.
First, she had to have her own life and vision - the top of the ladder - firmly fixed in the Kingdom of Christ. Brigit was described by a later biographer as disciplined in meditation and prayer, so much so that, even while driving her chariot she could "practice the life of heaven on earth through meditation and prayer."
If we would be ladders to the City of God we must have our own vision parked within those unseen, sacred walls.
Second, Brigit had to have the foot of her ladder firmly set among the people she sought to serve. Like Jesus, instructing Peter to push out into the deep water for a catch (Lk. 5), Brigit traveled frequently among the pagan peoples for whose sakes she ministered the grace of the Lord. She went to them, knew them and cared for them, and sought to meet their needs as best she could, whether by words or deeds.
We who are called to make disciples must likewise go among the people who need to know the grace of Jesus, and learn the best ways to serve them.
Finally, for Brigid to be a ladder to the Kingdom, she had to lay down her own life for others to cross upon, setting a good example, showing the right way, and being willing to be spent for others that they might find their way through her to the grace of the Lord.
Every believer is called to the task of making disciples. We discuss this at length in the course, Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival, and show you how to map out and begin working your own Personal Mission Field. If we're not making disciples, if we aren't seeking to be ladders to the Kingdom for the people around us, then how can we be said to be fulfilling our calling as Jesus' disciples?
We need a clear and compelling vision of the coming Kingdom and promises of God. We must learn the practices that will enable us to go among the people to whom God has sent us so that we know them, love them, and serve them well. And we must, by our example, instruction, and self-denying ways, become a bridge for others to pass over from the darkness and despair of this world to the eternal day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are called to be ladders to the Kingdom, and if we are not serving in this way, then how can we think we are seeking the Kingdom and its coming on earth as in heaven?
You have been sent like Jesus, to seek the lost, make disciples, and build His Church (Jn. 20.21; Lk. 19.10; Matt. 28.18-20; Matt. 16.18). Will you yield your life to this high calling, today, now?
And if not, how will you explain this decision to Jesus?
T. M. Moore, Principal