Updated: Feb 26
It’s almost March and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The weather forecast even says it will be in the 50’s soon. As I look forward to increased daylight, I think of spring and the holidays that go with it. The center of March seems to be St. Patrick’s Day and since this is a religious holiday I thought it might be interesting to know more about it.
If you’re like me it’s a lot of fun to wear green on St Patrick’s Day but that’s sometimes the extent of our knowledge. We see a lot of people planning to visit the local pub for the annual green beer and drunken revelers often paint the center line of the highway green as they celebrate. All in all it seems like a very secular holiday, but it may be time to reclaim it as the religious holiday it is intended to be. Here’s a little history on St Patrick to help.
St Patrick it seems was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. After six years he escaped and returned to his native Britain. In a dream a voice told him to go back to Ireland to serve the people he had met there. His life is rich with stories, one of which is that he used a shamrock to teach about the Blessed Trinity: just as the shamrock has three distinct leaves and yet is one plant, God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three Persons in one Supreme Being. Using a shamrock to teach about a central mystery of the faith appealed to the imagination of the Irish. They sensed that God is present in all creation and St Patrick showed them that, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, God is beyond all creation as well.
I’d like to leave you with a prayer that you may want to use as you remember the day this year.
Christ with me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.
-- from “St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer”