Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, readers! For most people, today is a day to drink heavily, party like crazy, pretend to possess Irish ancestry, and get dispensations from Lenten observances. People view St. Patrick as a man who ran around Ireland in robes, working a bunch of miracles, causing snakes to flee his presence, and using shamrocks to talk about God.
But St. Patrick was no novelty; he was a Rambo with a crozier.

St. Patrick preaching before the Irish High King, Leoghaire.
He did not start out this way, however; his early life was not especially distinguished for its piety. And then he was captured by pirates, taken as a captive slave to Ireland... and his life really began.
He began to pray as never before, eventually managing to escape captivity with divine assistance. He was then called by God to Ireland, and was ordained as a priest and a bishop in preparation for the evangelization of Ireland. Despite the years he spent in captivity, he did not hesitate to take the message of the Gospel to those who captured and enslaved him.
On his arrival in Ireland, he was opposed by powerful forces; his life was threatened constantly by Irish chieftains and Druids, powerful pagan priests of Ireland. And he responded with incredible boldness; on the night of Holy Saturday he kindled a Paschal fire on Tara hill in defiance of Druidic rites. This fire, the Druids warned, would consume Ireland if it remained lit that night; they failed to extinguish it, and the fire of the Faith was indeed to consume all of Ireland. For the preaching and courage of St. Patrick converted the whole of Ireland; Ireland remains Catholic to this day, despite vicious persecution.
After Ireland was completely converted, he continued to minister to the land which had captured him. Legend has it that he fasted for forty days, successfully bargaining with God for the fate of Ireland.
The fate of a large island was forever changed by a man who lived a "normal" childhood, and fulfilled his call to devote his entire life to his faith and those who captured him. What, then, could be wrought through us, if we were to exhibit similar devotion in answering God's call?

The beautiful stained glass window in this post was made by Stained Glass Inc. Similar artwork can be found at

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