As many of you know, today is the day to wear green or else you suffer the consequence of being pinched. You see shamrocks, top hats and Irish food galore. It is a joyous day, but what is it really? Aside from the very commercialized holiday, there is actually quite an inspiring tale behind the feast day of Saint Patrick.
Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain where at the young age of fourteen he was captured by pirates and was sold into slavery in Ireland. His main job was to herd and take care of the sheep. After having a vision from God he was told to leave Ireland, he promptly ran to the coast and was taken in by some sailors; he was then brought back to his home country.
He always had a devotion to praying, no matter the time of day or what he was doing. While he was a slave he would always find moments to pray; as he was falling asleep, tending to the herd, in the mountains. He found that the elements of the seasons did not bother him as he prayed – the cold, hot or rain.
When he had been back in his country for some time, he had another vision from God and was told he needed to become a priest to spread Gods word throughout the land of Ireland. During this period of time, Ireland consisted mostly of druids and pagans who vehemently denied anything having to do with Christianity. After a close call with one when he first entered back into Ireland, he was able to convert the pagan. He then promptly went around, spreading the word of God throughout the country and building many churches. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to those who had never heard that before- causing many to convert! This was such an inventive way to teach about the faith while using elements that many were familiar with.
While the shamrock that is often seen during this celebration is proper to be associated with Saint Patrick, everything else just kind of branched off of the original meaning of the holiday. The color green wasn’t associated with this day until the late 1700s during the Irish Rebellion. Alcohol seems to have taken a prominent place in the celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns are seen everywhere, which I have no idea when that tradition took place. The list goes on, sadly.
We as a society have taken to commercialize and take advantage of anything that could cause revenue. What I find truly sad is the same people drinking green beer and wearing green from head to toe are the same people who want God out of everything. Guess what, Saint Patrick’s Day is a Catholic Holiday because it is the feast day of a Catholic Bishop, HA!
Saint Patrick was a humble man who lived a pious life. He spread the word of God throughout a land that was full of heathens and those who would rather see him sacrificed and murdered then to hear his message. He succeeded though in spreading the message and even had churches build. So in our society today let’s use Saint Patrick as an inspiration to help us to spread the message to those who don’t believe.
Here is a little prayer from Saint Patrick that I have found to be quite beautiful:
Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger