Friday, March 17, 2023

St Patrick

St Patrick lived and breathed the double commandment of Christ: to love God with all one’s heart, body and soul and the love neighbor is yourself. Patrick was not Irish but fell in love with the people of Ireland, after going through many trials, including being forced into slavery and enduring many experiences of rejection as he preached the gospel. Patrick “loved” the Irish people as neighbor and friend.

In this time of cancel culture and the elimination of anyone who was not perfect in how they lived and communicated the gospel, many want to see Patrick as a colonizer, one who tried to destroy the indigenous culture of the Irish people. Mistakes are made and we all make them. But Patrick just wanted to share with the people His love of Christ and the beauty of the Catholic faith. He had a deep desire to give his life for the people of Ireland.

Wear the Green, the color of never ending love, the color that poetically describes the island of Ireland as “emerald.” Ireland is a beautiful land that has known much suffering and violence,  given the presence of foreign powers wishing to subjugate. From their suffering emerged art, poetry, drama, religion and spirituality. But strident voices hope to diminish and eliminate any influence of Catholicism, which helped to birth a new culture that embraced Celtic culture.

What is sad, so sad, is the structures of the church have done much harm to the faith, due to many scandals and the horrible abuse of power. The church was too wedded to the government, which gave the church too much authority to control. Hopefully, in the spirit of St. Patrick, a new “gospel spirit” will be breathed on one of the most gifted people on earth: the Irish!! Perhaps, the beauty of our Catholic faith and deeply humble bishops and priests will turn the tide.