Sunday, March 16, 2014

St. Patrick Missionary and Patriarch

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Our dining room and our work space is well decorated with green, shamrocks, and St. Patrick statues here and there. I was delighted to receive a St.Patrick's Day card even from a friend in Ontario. For some this is a day of excess drinking and rowdiness. Were Patrick here to comment on the less than pious activities done in his name, he may well use his crozier (the staff which bishops use to symbolize their shepherding of Christ's flock)to corral the errant sheep. Patrick, who had once been captured by Irish ruffians who raided Britain, returned to that land after he had a dream. Much like the dream St. Paul had when a man from Macedonia called Paul to "come over to us Macedonians", Patrick could even name the person calling out to him:
I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us." (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Patrick prayed and prepared himself and was ordained a bishop. Like Paul in his tireless missionary work, Patrick worked hard to bring Christ's message to the people "at the end of the world"--the expression used by Europeans of his day, since the Emerald Isle was the western most corner of their known world. A wimp by no means, Patrick's Letter to Coroticus, a fellow Roman citizen, supposedly a Christian, reveals his rage and sorrow at the soldier's massacre of newly baptized Christians. those who survived were sold as slaves. For me the core of Patrick's teachings is based on the Trinity and adhearance to Jesus Christ. With my best wishes for a very joyous celebration of this great Saint's feast day, I leave you with part of his famous Breastplate:
St Patrick’s Breastplate We wrap round ourselves today the great name of the Trinity, the Three in One, the One in Three, the God who lives eternally. Christ within us, Christ around us, Christ beside us, Christ surround us, Christ behind us, Christ before us, Christ to comfort and restore us. Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger, Christ beneath us, Christ above us, Christ to cherish and to love us.

No comments: