Writing to free the prisoner of one idea, crossing the bridge of paradox to truth, serving the legacies of Chesterton and Lewis who defended their faith in Christ
[Author’s Note: This piece was written in 2008 and published on another blog after our last St. Paddy’s Day celebration. Since then the economy has taken its toll but not our spirit. So in the spirit of St. Patrick who faced difficult odds himself, I’m republishing this here for your enjoyment.]
“He worked as a Shepherd on the slopes of Slemish (now part of County Antrim), praying to a Christian God, while captive in a pagan land.”
So the authors of The Wearin of the Green: A history of St. Patrick’s Day write of the Apostle of Ireland upon his state after being kidnapped and enslaved by Irish marauders when Patrick was 16 years old.
Patrick’s love of the Irish people came through his missionary work to bring the message of Christ’s love to those who had orginally sought to do him harm. His example of returning love for evil was so profound that we still remember it today.
St. Patrick’s Day has come to mean a day of celebration and good cheer with a message of hospitality and universal family (being an honorary “Irish” for the day) for many. But as with all things, we can sometimes over emphasize the “fun” aspects of what we want to remember over the actual person or event itself. For our family and friends, we try to include a balance of both, between remembering what Patrick believed and practiced and the normal activites most come to expect in a celebratory feast: good food and drink in moderation, some thoughtful readings about Patrick and his service to God, and prayer and singing of thanksgiving to God for Patrick and our blessings.
To honor Patrick and our Irish ancestors, we usually have Glens of Antrim Irish stew (since Antrim is where Patrick first prayed to God about his purpose in life) and a number of other dishes of celtic origin, such as scotch eggs, and though not a “pint”, we do gather for a wee toast of Guinness to Patrick and the blessing of our family and freinds together, some colcannon, and we top the meal off with a chocolate gauteau and some Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake! These same kinds of authentic irish foods are offered at our very own local Irish restaurant called The Irish Lion in town where anyone Irish in search of the crack (Scottish) craic (Irish)* can go.
After dinner there are quiz games about St. Patrick (with prizes for the correct answer, of course) and singing by candlelight (always ending with a stirring rendition of “DannyBoy“).
But the evening would not be complete without the reading of the “Breastplate of St. Patrick” or Lorica…..
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.
La Fheile Padraig Sona Duit!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Till next time….
God bless ye, (Melly) M. S. Reed, 2008, Dilseacht, le gra go deo (Celtic for Loyalty, with love forever)