Amidst the shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, leprechauns, and drinking, you may not hear much about St. Patrick on his feast day.
When he was a teen, living in Britain, Patrick was captured by pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland. There he was forced to tend sheep for six years. During that time, his faith in God grew and he felt that God led him to leave Ireland and return to Britain which he did. He was educated and trained to serve as a cleric in the church and then returned to Ireland voluntarily as a missionary to introduce the people there to Christianity.
While in Ireland, Patrick did not accept money from wealthy nobles or kings. Because of this, he was not under anyone’s protection. He did not want to be beholden to anyone. This made him extremely vulnerable. He was robbed, beaten and held captive. He certainly suffered for his service to the church in the name of Jesus Christ.
After learning more about St. Patrick, the feast day in his honor seems like it should be one of fasting and giving of alms rather than drinking and revelry.
How will you commemorate St. Patrick’s Day?
Lectionary readings for today:
Numbers 20:1-13 1
A Prayer attributed to St. Patrick upon escaping an attack at Tara:
At Tara today in this fateful hour,
I place all heaven with its power,
and the sun with its brightness,
and the snow with its whiteness,
and fire with all the strength it hath,
and lightning with its rapid wrath,
and the winds with their swiftness along their path,
and the sea with its deepness,
and the rocks with their steepness,
and the earth with its starkness:
all these I place, by God’s almighty help and grace,
between myself and the powers of darkness.
From Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community, p. 350.