The beloved saint of Ireland was actually born in Scotland, did you know that? He was taken from his family in a raid at the age of 14 and brought to Ireland as a slave. Like St. Valentine who is now associated with sentimental greeting cards, boxes of chocolate and plump little cherubs, and St. Nicholas who has been morphed into a jolly fat man in a red suit who talks to flying reindeer, St. Patrick has been reduced to quaint stories of housekeeping (driving the snakes out of Ireland) and is honoured with green beer.
Patrick escaped Ireland at the age of 20 and was reunited with his family. He studied and became a priest, was ordained a bishop, and returned to Ireland in order to preach the gospel. After a life dedicated to the work of God, much suffering, poverty, and traveling, he died on this day in 461.
I'm not remotely Irish. In fact, I don't think a single person in my whole family tree ever stepped foot on the lush green grass of Eire, but today I'm wearing the green in solidarity with this remarkably gentle and devout man, and in gratitude for the work he did.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
~ Prayer of St. Patrick