Saint Brendan - 05 The Voyage of Saint Brendan
Type of Spiritual Experience
Lilian Davis. Tree of Birds
A description of the experience
The Voyages of Saint Brendan – A Journey to the Promised Land translated from the Latin by John J O’Meara
THE PARADISE OF BIRDS
………. They carried on for about a mile until they came to the source of the stream. Saint Brendan spoke:
'Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a place in which to stay during his holy Resurrection.'
And he added:
'lf we had no other supplies but this spring, it would, I believe, alone be enough for food and drink.'
Over the spring there was a tree of extraordinary girth and no less height covered with white birds.
They covered it so much that one could scarcely see its leaves or branches. When the man of God saw this, he began to think and ponder within himself what it meant or what was the reason that such a great multitude of birds could be all collected together. He was so tormented about this that the tears poured out and flowed down upon his cheeks, and he implored God, saying:
'God, who knows the unknown and reveals all that is secret, you know the distress of my heart. I implore your majesty to have pity and reveal to me, a sinner, through your great mercy your secret that I now look upon with my eyes. I rely not on what I deserve or my worth, but rather on your boundless pity.'
When he said this within himself and had taken his seat again, one of the birds flew from the tree, making a noise with her wings like a hand-bell, and took up position on the side of the boat where the man of God was sitting. She sat on the edge of the prow and stretched her wings, as it were as a sign of joy and looked with a peaceful mien at the holy father...............
Here we can see God's presence. But God has separated us from sharing the lot of the others who were faithful. We wander through various regions of the air and the firmament and the earth, just like the other spirits that travel on their missions. But on holy days and Sundays we are given bodies such as you now see so that we may stay here and praise our creator.
You and your brothers have now spent one year on your journey. Six still remain. Where you cele-
brated Easter today, there you will celebrate it every year. Afterwards you will find what you cherish in your heart, that is, the Promised Land of the Saints.'
When she said this, she lifted herself off the prow and flew to the other birds.