St. Patrick’s Day

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:12-14 (from The Message)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

I’ve never really fully noticed the wardrobe metaphor in this passage until I read it from The Message translation. This is actually astounding, the author is saying that just as we choose what clothing to wear, we can make a choice about our attitude. We can choose to wear the “t-shirt of humility,” the “vest of kindness” and the “coat of compassion.”

That’s different from what we typically think of these attributes. Honestly, I thought that I need to ask God to help me grow in these areas, but apparently, I can choose to be kind, compassionate, and humble.

In light of St. Patrick’s day which we celebrated this past week, I would like us to be inspired by the two saints that these celebrations are based on (at least historically). Our Scripture reading from Col 3 was describes these two to a T. St. Patrick and St. Briget were remarkable in choosing to be forgiving, non-judgmental, kind, compassionate, disciplined and loving people…

Patron Saint of Ireland Memorial Day: 17 March

St. Patrick was born at Kilpatrick in Scotland in AD 387. So, he was not Irish by birth. He was a British Celt. At age 16, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village and took him to Ireland. During his captivity, he reached out to God, praying fervently that he might return home to his family. He was able to escape after six years. He promised God that he would dedicate himself to a life of service in gratitude for answering his prayers and saving him. After spending some time with his family he decided to study theology for 12 years in a monastery near Paris under famous bishop St. Germain. After his ordination he felt drawn to missions work. His heart was so big on wanting to share the saving grace of Jesus, that he actually wanted to return to Ireland—even though these people had enslaved him. Initially his superiors didn’t think this was a good idea, but seeing his heart for the people of Ireland, they ultimately appointed Patrick to be the bishop of Ireland. He was only the second bishop to Ireland ever.

His mission in Ireland lasted thirty years in Ireland. More than being a mission field, Ireland became Patrick’s home. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day since he was sainted by the church

Irish Folklore surrounding St. Patrick’s Day:
Some of the folklore includes the belief that Patrick raised people from the dead. He also is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. It should be noted though that snakes were never native to Ireland, and some people think this is a metaphor for driving away the evil from the island. There are only two documents of Patrick’s writing that have survived–his Confession and a letter he wrote to Coroticus.

St. Briget of Ireland Memorial day: February 1st
was an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries. Brigid was born in the year 451 AD She is known for feeding the poor, for healing and teaching others and, of course, the famed braided straw cross.

Even as a child it was already apparent that Briget had a calling as she showed a special love for the poor. According to one tale, as a child, she once gave away her mother’s entire store of butter. The butter was then replenished in answer to Brigid’s prayers. She also from her father’s estate to feed the poor when there was nothing else available.

Briget consecrated herself to God at a young age, choosing a life of celibacy, a total dedication to God and service to the poor. Briget’s hospitality and love inspired many others to a life of service and hospitality.

At her Bishop’s request, Briget founded a convent at Ardagh, the first convent to be established on Irish soil. It soon became a community center for the entire region, for the entire country. Thousands came for education, spiritual inspiration, healing, food and shelter.

But Briget’s most famous foundation is at Kildare, established on a generous piece of land. It is generally thought to have been a double monastery, employing both men and women, with Briget leading both communities.

There is an interesting story about how Brigid got the land for her monastery at Kildare asking the King of Leinster for land. The king laughed at her and refused to give her any land. Brigid prayed and asked God to soften the king’s heart. Then she smiled at the king and said, “Will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?” The king thought that she was joking and agreed. She told four of her sisters to take up the cloak, but instead of laying it flat on the turf, each sister, with face turned to a different point of the compass, began to run swiftly, the cloth growing in all directions. “Oh, Briget!” said the frightened king, “what are you doing?” “My cloak is about to cover your whole kingdom to punish you for your stinginess to the poor.” The king then said: “Call your maidens back. I will give you a decent plot of ground.”

The best-known custom connected with Briget is the plaiting of reed crosses. This tradition dates to the story that she was plaiting rush crosses while nursing a dying pagan chieftain. He asked her about the significance of the crosses and her explanation about the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus for us led to him to give his life to God.