As I walked throughout the neighborhood, I passed various lines of people waiting to get into all the many bars to celebrate the great St Patrick, by drinking and getting drunk. So much for keeping social distance during a health crisis: they were hanging on each other, in all sorts of manners and poses. Sorry, no visuals here but they are imprinted in my memory.
St. Patrick of Ireland was actually born in Great Britain. As a young lad he was captured by Irish rebels and sold as a slave. He actually fell in love with the Irish people and their rich Celtic culture and rituals. He made it back home and ended up a priest who wanted to return back to the Emerald Isle. He did so and immersed himself in the lives of the people. As only the luck of the Irish would have it, Patrick became a bishop, their bishop, who introduced Christianity and Catholicism to the Irish people. And he did so by first loving the people, then learning their culture and its roots, and only then, creating a beautiful marriage between the Irish, Celtic culture and the Catholic faith.
Patrick was the finest of missionaries: he came to a different land, loved the people, learned from them and graciously introduced them to Christ. He didn’t destroy what was already there, he respected and tried to understand what and who he encountered.
The best way to honor and celebrate this beautiful man is to pray in gratitude for our Catholic faith and it’s many expressions. Read a poem by Yeats or any of the Irish poets. Learn more details about this Saint’s life. Google him!!!! Go see a new movie just being released about his life called, “I Am Patrick.” It’s not violent enough, nor will it have any lurid scenes, so it won’t be in any theatres. You have to look for it, probably on YouTube. Play some traditional Celtic music. Make some Irish soda bread. I’ll try and include a recipe. Watch A Quiet Man.
I end this reflection with a quote from today’s first reading at Mass from the Book of Daniel, who has just been thrown into the fiery furnace because he wouldn’t give up his faith in the God of Abraham:
“So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
As we follow you unreservedly;
For those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart
Deal with us in your kindness and great mercy
And bring glory to your name.”
May we ALL bring glory to God by the choices we make. May we enter into the fiery furnace of God’s love, emerging with the light of God’s glory.
Peace, Faith, and Begorrah,