Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Patrick's Day thoughts

March 17th is St. Patrick's day. Because his feast day has been turned into either a Irish nationalist celebration, or a day of parades and corned beef dinners, we can lose sight of what a Christian hero he really is.

Patrick was captured as a teenager and brought to Ireland, a pagan land at that time. According to his own testimony, he did not have faith before is enslavement in Ireland. St. Patrick continued in daily prayer while he was a slave. He humbly sought forgiveness from Christ, and he accepted his temporary vocation as a slave, of all things.

And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.
When an old sin was brought up to his face, he remembered the forgiveness offered by his Lord

Hence, therefore, I say boldly that my conscience is clear now and hereafter. God is my witness that I have not lied in these words to you.

This is just a taste of his faith and humility, of his prayer life and love for the people of Ireland.

It is a good thing to remember the saints on their feast days, their examples give us a guide, though not an infallible one, for our lives as Christians. One thing that struck me about St. Patrick was his intense prayer life, and his humble acceptance of his enslavement as punishment for his earlier faithlessness. I think such things as an intense prayer life, and our accepting of the cross we have to bear, are important lessons for us to remember this St. Patrick's day, while we chew on the corned beef and soda bread.

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