Saturday in the US (and in Ireland) we’ve celebrated St. Patrick‘s Day. While many people celebrate it by drinking, eating and wearing green, the holiday itself is named for a Saint. So I thought we’d take a look at who the individual was and why he’s honored on this holiday.
He, Patrick, was a missionary back in the 5th century to Ireland. He is one of the primary saints of Ireland and many credit him as having brought Christianity to Ireland. Of all the holidays that are celebrated in the US today, St. Patrick is one of the few people that a holiday is named for specifically, and not as part of a larger celebration or remembrance.
I don’t think it ruins the memory or honoring of St. Patrick to have a drink and wear a little green, just like decorating a tree, having cookies or hunting for eggs doesn’t hurt Jesus or the true meaning of Christmas/Easter. One of the reasons we celebrate St. Patrick is to honor our heritage if we’re Irish, and to honor and remember our heritage in general. St. Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate whatever heritage you have, and especially to pass traditions, stories and icons on to the next generation so they’re not lost.
But it is also important to take time to remember what the stories of Jesus and St. Patrick are all about: their faith. Both men are known because they chose to step up for their faith and the faith of countless others. It’s not necessary to go to another country and share your faith like St. Patrick did, that’s just one way to do it. You can practice the countless much smaller but not less significant examples of faith that Jesus showed through every kind word, loving touch, and prayer you pray.
How will your faith and heritage live today?