40 Reason’s Why It’s Cool to be Catholic #20 Saint Patrick

I arise todayThrough God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save meFrom snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

rom everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,Alone and in multitude.

From the Breastplate of Saint Patrick

Surprisingly we don’t know a whole lot about the patron Saint of Ireland.  We know he died on March 17, around the year 460.  Patrick was not Irish.  He was English.  His father was a deacon, but according to the History Channel, he probably assumed the role of deacon to obtain certain tax breaks.  (Click on the History Channel link for links to some other cool Saint Patrick sites.)

As a teenager Patrick was taken prisoner by the Irish and spent six years in Ireland herding sheep.  During his captivity he became a devout Christian.  (He could talk to God or he could talk to sheep.  Clearly he made the right choice.)  He escaped his captors and returned to England where a voice told him to return to Ireland and convert the Irish to Christianity.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Since the natives tended to worship the sun, Patrick combined the symbol of the sun with the Christian cross, creating the famous Celtic Cross.   (That’s a Celtic cross in the right hand column of the blog–>).  Using his knowledge of the Irish language and local customs, he was able to convert huge numbers of Irish.

Today, Irish and would-be Irish all over the world celebrate March 17.  Some even celebrate the day as a Catholic holy day.  No doubt Patrick would be scandalized to see what some people do to celebrate his feast day.  Drinking, especially Guinness and Irish whiskey, carousing, overeating “Irish” food (Corned-beef and cabbage is an American invention), and other activities many people associate with the Saint would cause Patrick to shake his head in disbelief.

But I guess the fact that a saint who passed from this world more than 1,500 years ago gains so much attention, some of it possibly religious in nature, can’t be all bad.  Personally, I’ll go to the Paddy’s Day parade, raise a glass or two, and enjoy the other trappings of the day.  I’ll also bow my head and give thanks to the young man who converted an entire nation to Catholicism.  I’ll enjoy my Irish heritage knowing that few other men in history have left a legacy that’s lasted so long, and makes so many people pretend to be Irish, no matter where they come from.

In fact, if you read yesterday’s post, you know that Catholicism would have faded away during the Dark Ages if it hadn’t been for Irish monks.  Consider this:  If it hadn’t been for Saint Patrick there would have been no Irish monks.  No Irish monks—no European civilization.  Ne European civilization–no Catholic Church.

Saint Patrick was a cool guy, no matter what your ethnic heritage.

NOT Saint Patrick

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One Response

  1. Thannk God I’m Irish (today) I’ll be back to being German tomorrow.

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