We're going to mass and to watch the Quiet Man today and I might force some Irish soda bread on my children, but more likely, they'll eat hot dogs and french fries and carrots and broccoli.
Last night I got to hear some Irish music at my kid's auction, and it takes me back to college and a rare moment, when all of my friends and I senior year, congregated in the college center and there was an Irish singer. We spent the evening listening. Not telling each other what we were studying or how our boyfriends or fiance's were or what we hoped, just singing along. It was a perfect evening.
So maybe I'll try reading a page of Joyce...and have a toast of Bailey's...because I'm a lightweight and while I like Guienness beef stew, I find the beer too much for me.
And I'll ask you to celebrate, to help remember this day because it's not enough that Saint Patrick has to deal with the nonsense of leprechauns and people who use the feast day to drink themselves drunk. The other day two radio announcers talked about Saint Patrick not even being religious...which is a half truth, used to erode the whole truth.
He was captured and brought to Ireland, where during his years of servitude, he grew in faith, such that when he eventually left, he was willing to return as a missionary. His name was Succat, but his Roman name translated, was Patrick. The radio announcers basically represented Saint Patrick as being not a person of faith, and called him by his non saintly name from that point forward. I'll admit, the Irish in me was up.
But Ireland was pagan and then, through Saint Patrick's outreach and teachings about Christ, was not. So completely did Saint Patrick convey Christ's message that the idea of Ireland and Catholic became synonymous. A fact conveniently ignored by the radio people, a fact that reveals the long strength of true witnessing, even to an unbelieving world. Surely, a saint for the trials of today.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through 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 hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
Christ shield me today
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 in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.