Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today Is Saint Patrick's Day

I'd like to wish everyone a truly blessed Saint Patrick's Day.  When I say that, I mean a day that truly honors the saint and is free of the "green beer", "kiss-me-I'm-Irish" profanations of this day that have absolutely nothing to do with the Saint that brought Christianity to Ireland.  Let me say outright that I am largely of Irish descent - as if that should matter.

Read St Patrick's life from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.  This is what we celebrate today - not green beer, not Irish culture, but the conversion of an island of pagans in its entirety.  How many here know that today Ireland remains abortion-free?  Granted there are forces that are trying to change that, but the fact that they haven't yet succeeded (hopefully never will) is testament to the foundaton that St. Patrick laid.

Saint Patrick Day pollutants:
Leprechauns  A glance at the wikipedia write-up on these confirms their origins from false religions that were prominent in Ireland before Christianity took root.  It is held that St. Patrick drove snakes from Ireland.  Might belief in these creatures be one of those snakes?  Why then this flirtation, this overly-jocular attitude towards them?  By the way - Druidic culture and practices are coming into vogue by some practitioners of new age idolotries.
Clamoring for exemption from the Lenten abstinence  I first encountered this about eight years ago, when an archdiocesan dispensation was given from the abstinence from meat, because March 17th fell on a Lenten Friday.  In all my years of growing up in Catholic schools, I never heard of it until recently.  What is the motivation for that?  It certainly isn't to celebrate the man who underwent fasting and penances to honor his God for whom he labored.  Indeed, as I discussed the matter with people, I got the sense that they were giggly and gloating about "getting away with corned beef" on a Lenten Friday, like naughty little children.  For the next several years, March 17th won't fall on a Friday, so for now we'll be spared that deplorable spectacle.
Drunkedness  For some reason beyond my comprehension, this is seen as being a rather adorable foible of the Irish.  Many in society truly believe that - why do you think those police vehicles are called "paddy wagons"?  The truth is that alcoholism has plagued many Irish people; Blessed Matt Talbot's life bears witness to that.  However, on this day, drunkedness is expected in celebration of this day.  I heard that there are provisions being made for that in DC, to prevent drunken driving on this day.  Is that how St Patrick is to be honored?

My fellow Catholics of all nationalities, let us throw away the leprechauns and green food dye; at best, they're distractions.  If we're going to pick shamrocks, let's use them as did Saint Patrick - to teach of the Blessed Trinity.  Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

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