Tuesday, 17 March 2009

St Patrick's Day

Now this will be heresy to many, but I have to admit I'm not big on St Patrick's Day - the saint's story itself (captured by pirates at age 16 and forced to work as a slave for several years before finally escaping home to Wales, only to return to Ireland as a missionary) is pretty inspirational, but I'm rather less enamoured of the legacy of Irish culture goes with today's celebrations.
Still, it is part of our history and identity and so should be treasured, so enjoy the feast day!


expat said...


Too right about modern "celebrations" of St. Patrick's day!

Every year on the feast, I like to read over this little excerpt from Frederick Buechner's novel, "Brendan":

"Coaxing of the tongue he was," Erc said . . ."Manly and hard-striking. Sweet was the sound of his shoe."

"He warred against flint-hearted wizards, that's what he did!" Brendan said ... "He baptized the heathens. He thrust down the proud from their seats with help of high Heaven. He preached the Gospel of Hope, that's what, and delivered us from the spite of devils."

Erc said, "You'd best out with his name then."

"Patrick!" Brendan said ... he said it again. "Patrick."

Felix said...

Yes, Terra, the St Patrick’s celebrations can be a bit over the top. But think about what a great saint he was.

First, he’s a Lenten saint. He fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights, seeking and obtaining special blessings for the Irish race (and hopefully for Aussie Irish also).

And an Easter saint. There was a druid feast and they commanded that no fires should be lit that night. When St Patrick lit the Paschal fire, the druids warned that the fire would blaze for ever unless extinguished. Well, it was not extinguished and the fire continued to blaze in Ireland.

It brings to mind St Patrick’s other victories over the druids, magicians and demons. Like Jacob in the Old Testament, he was a wrestler and a fighter.

And, of course, there’s his great poem/hymn, “I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three …”