March 17

St. Patrick’s Day

 Reflection 

True history and legend are intertwined when it comes to St. Patrick.  Carried into captivity by marauders, Patrick was sold as a slave to an Irish chieftan. While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, it was Patrick who encountered the Druids at Tara and converted the warrior chiefs and princes.  His ability to speak the Celtic language enabled him to communicate with the people and spread the message of the gospel.  There is no doubt that through the faith he was able to bring to the Irish people, Patrick has had a lasting effect on the Catholic Church in the United States.

Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though all evidence suggests that  post-glacial Ireland never had snakes. One suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place, as shown for instance on coins minted in Gaul, or that it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolised as “serpents. Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief as opposed to the Arian belief that was popular in Patrick’s time.

Prayer

With my whole heart I seek you, O God.
I treasure your word in my heart.
Psalm 119:10

Action

Read something about the nature of Celtic spirituality.
This can be done easily by using google.

Reading

But after I reached Hibernia I used to pasture the flock each day and I used to pray many times a day. More and more did the Love of God, and my fear of Him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day I said from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.
St. Patrick, Confessio

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
From everyone who shall wish me ill
Afar and anear, alone and in a multitude.
The Deer’s Cry

May the blessing of light be on you–
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.
Old Celtic Blessing

 The list of Irish saints is past counting; but in it all no other figure is so human, friendly, and lovable as St. Patrick – who was an Irishman only by adoption.
Stephen Gwynn

 A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen.
John O’Donohue

 If you’re Irish, it doesn’t matter where you go – you’ll find family.
Victoria Smurfit

 

 

 

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