Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent–Saint Patrick’s Day

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. From the Breastplate of Saint Patrick
So, what does the Patron Saint of Ireland, this 5th Century missionary, have to do with green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and leprechauns.  To tell you the truth, I haven’t the faintest idea.  All I know is that I’ve partaken of my share of the first two and may have seen, at least once or twice, the third, depending of course on how much I’ve had of the first two.
Saint Patrick’s day became a big deal in the US because lonely Irishmen who had left their families behind to come to America needed a way to escape from their loneliness, at least for one day.  (Here in Saint Louis, Paddy’s Day is more of a multi-day affair.  We have two parades, one on the Saturday before and one on the day itself.  But that came later.)
Here’s the thing:  I plan on being at the parade today.  Though I won’t be drinking any green beer, I will enjoy the corned beef and cabbage (a foreign food on the Emerald Isle, by the way.)  But I’ll also remember that we are in the midst of Lent, I’ll take time to remember dear ol’ Paddy for the saint that he is, and I’ll lead Stations of the Cross tomorrow evening.
If you plan on enjoying the secular festivities today, I hope you’ll take time out to do the same.
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