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 named Milchu in Dalriada, an area in present-day county Antrim. Here, for six years he tended his master’s flocks. In his Confessio he wrote:

“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”.

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.

Prayer

With my whole heart I seek you, O God. I treasure your word in my heart.

Action

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

Reading

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

Christ be with me, Christ 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 in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger
From St. Patrick’s Breastplate

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

Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it.
Pope John Paul II

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

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