Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hat Tip: Catholic Fire

Saint of the Day, American Catholic entry:

St. Patrick(415?-493?)

Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God’s instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ.

Details of his life are uncertain. Current research places his dates of birth and death a little later than earlier accounts. Patrick may have been born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. He called himself both a Roman and a Briton. At 16, he and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.

After six years, Patrick escaped, probably to France, and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He may have studied at Lerins, off the French coast; he spent years at Auxerre, France, and was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the Good News to the Irish.

In a dream vision it seemed “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs were stretching out their hands” to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. Despite opposition from those who felt his education had been defective, he was sent to carry out the task. He went to the west and north, where the faith had never been preached, obtained the protection of local kings and made numerous converts.

Because of the island’s pagan background, Patrick was emphatic in encouraging widows to remain chaste and young women to consecrate their virginity to Christ. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ.

He suffered much opposition from pagan druids, and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission.

In a relatively short time the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.

Patrick was a man of action, with little inclination toward learning. He had a rocklike belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused.

One of the few certainly authentic writings is his Confessio, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

There is hope rather than irony in the fact that his burial place is said to be in strife-torn Ulster, in County Down.

What distinguishes Patrick is the durability of his efforts. When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labors (all of Ireland) and how the seeds he planted continued to grow and flourish, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been. The holiness of a person is known only by the fruits of his or her work.

“Christ shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before 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 arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me” (from “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”).
Read more about St. Patrick and his special day @ The History Channel, New Advent, St. Patrick's Day website, Catholic.org, SQPN, FoxNews, Da Mihi Animas and American Catholic.


Source: Apostleship of Prayer


Comrade Tovya said...

Happy St. Patricks day to you.

Please excuse my ignorance, but what is the day about exactly? Considering my culture doesn't really explain this to me, I've always been curious.

All I know is the commercials where people drink beer! :-)

Is it mostly an Irish Catholic thing, or is it an important holiday for all Catholics?

Catholic Observer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catholic Observer said...


Traditionally this day is about commemerating ST Patrick who brought the Catholic faith to the Irish Celts in the 5th century. Nowadays however it tends to be more about beer and a celebration of Irish heritage and identity. It's not an exclusively Irish holiday; but tends to be celebrated moreso in areas where a high proportion of the population is of Irish descent.

Carlos Echevarria said...

Comrade, Observer has it about right.

It is now celebrated by Catholics, Christians, others alike, although it is geared towards the Irish communities througout the world.

He was instrumental in that he created a system in Druid, Celtic Ireland that counter acted the inherent paganism and left a structure in which monks were able to write down and keep history alive during the Dark Ages. (read Thomas Cahill Book)

But yeah, people drink excessively, wear green as i did today and celebrate at Irish establishments....

Comrade Tovya said...

Yeah, I knew about the wearing green and excessive drinking, but the rest was a mystery to me.

Considering the druids performed human sacrifices and other such horrible acts, it seems as though his work really had a nice effect.

If I wasn't so sick, I'd kick back a beer to toast him. Oh well, maybe tomorrow :-)

Carlos Echevarria said...

LOL, yeah I hear you, my day got complicated and I was going to go to an Irish bar...to no avail.