Thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2009


St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays I do not particularly care for. I do not fit any of the categories that typify celebrating the life and works of the man: I am neither a drunk, a Catholic, or a dirty Irishman. In fact, as a Scotsman, the Irish are supposed to be our mortal enemies (worthless Irish, the Romans did not even want their island and they had to build a wall to keep us out); well, them and the English. And the Welsh. And the Japanese. And other Scots (as Groundskeeper Willie says, “they ruined Scotland”). That leaves the only remaining celebratory act the coerced wearing of green (or, if ye be one to stand with the Protestant Irish, red), on pain of pinches (or, if they be dirty Irishmen, punches, kicks, gnawings, broken Guinness bottles to the throat, et cetera). Not exactly something fun to celebrate.

So, I’ll keep this more or less brief. Here comes some Scripture that would be appropriate, given his allegory of the clover:

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” – 1 John 5:5-12

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One Response to “Thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Tony G Says:

    Thoughts:
    I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by going to Mass yesterday, not necessarily because I’m a drunk Irishman, but because he is the patron saint of the local church (aka diocese).

    But one doesn’t have to be Catholic or Irish to appreciate St. Patrick for what he did. After all, do we not celebrate modern missionaries who travel to other regions to bring people to Christ, sometimes in the face of extreme danger?

    Regardless of whether Catholic or Protestant, the fact is, before St. Patrick returned to Ireland, it was a pagan nation, and his legacy is a Christianized (though slightly war-torn, by prejudices on both sides) nation.

    To attack the secularization and commercialization of the holy day is perfectly fine, as you would with Christmas or any other. To do so, would be to imitate Jesus in driving the merchants from the temple. But don’t knock the original intent of the day.

    You may also take interest in the fact that the Gospel reading was from Matthew 18:21-35 (READ A BOOK!!!) But the passage dealt with how much should one forgive. The [ presbyters (though this particular presbyter did not have a beard…)] delivered a homily about this. And in recognition of St. Patrick’s example (for that is what Christian heroes throughout history have provided us — examples), he mentioned that as the Gospel tells us to forgive one another, Patrick did just that by returning to the land of his captors. To consider, to have a love so great, that you return to the land where you were enslaved, tortured, etc., to share the Good News of Christ.

    Personally, I can relate to St. Patrick. When I spent some time discerning my calling, I did mission work in Oklahoma, and I truly understood the meaning of going to the lands of evil for the sake of the Gospel, because, you know, it was Oklahoma.

    I hope this commentary helps your readers understand the real meaning of the day honoring this Christian hero.


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