St. Patrick's Day -- more than shamrocks and leprechauns
As much fun as it is to go wild with green food coloring and wear as many shades of the color as possible, St. Patrick's Day has a much deeper meaning behind it. I'm sure St. Patrick would be appalled if he could see the shenanigans that occur on the holiday dedicated to him, from pranks and pinching to partying in the pubs (honestly, the alliteration was unintentional. I promise).
Last year I shared a prayer by St. Patrick as well as a brief biography. If you missed the post or don't remember, it's an interesting tale of how a formerly wealthy British boy went on to establish hundreds of churches on the island that enslaved him. I cannot even begin to fathom the great faith it must have taken to not only return to the land of his captors, but to love its people.
"It was among foreigners that it was seen how little I was," he writes, in Confessio, one of two short works authored by St. Patrick.
"It was there [Ireland] that the Lord opened up my awareness of my lack of faith... He guarded me before I knew him... He protected me and consoled me as a father does for his son.
That is why I cannot be silent -- nor would it be good to do so -- about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven."
I am not Catholic, and I'm not sure I could name more a half-dozen saints off the top of my head (actually, I would be surprised if I could name that many). But green is my favorite color, I have an inexplicable fascination with Ireland, and over the years I've become more and more curious about this fellow named Patrick who isn't, in fact, a leprechaun, and may not even have anything to do with shamrocks.
(Confession: I made Irish brown bread yesterday, and I have every intention of wearing green tomorrow.)