Tag Archives: St. Patrick

Racing with St. Patrick

Today we celebrate one of God’s great saints.

There will be a variety of St. Patrick Day celebrations, including road races. Many of the races will feature post-race celebrations, including green alcohol.

It has always been curious to me that a day dedicated to an evangelist and missionary should become the focus of such drinking and carousing. Not that I am against parties, since I can  enjoy post-race celebrations very much. But when people think of St. Patrick they seem to focus on the Patrick and not the Saint.

But that is even more curious, since St. Patrick was born in England, captured by Irish raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland. After serving as a shepherd for six years, he escaped and made his way back to England. During this adventure, he had a conversion to Christianity and he felt the call to preach the faith to (surprise!) the Irish people. He studied for the priesthood in France but was not a very good student. His superiors did not want him to go, but still he went. He preached all over Ireland, making converts and founding monasteries. He became a great hero, not only for Ireland, but for the Christian faith.

In his confession he wrote, “If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation, and most willingly, for his name. I want to spend myself in that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me this favor. I am deeply in his debt, for he gave me the great grace that through me many people would be reborn in God, and then made perfect by confirmation, one people gathered by the Lord.”

St. Patrick reminds me of St. Paul.  St. Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). St. Patrick, like St. Paul, ran the good race. Maybe we should try to run like him.

Lord Jesus, teach me to run the race of life with you and your saints.

St. Patrick’s Day and the Vibrant Life

 

Vibrant Life is at the heart of Resurrection Lutheran’s mission.  We are called to live in Christ, to vibrate on Christ’s frequency.  St. Patrick is someone who vibrated to Christ within him.  Born in Roman Britain ca 389, he became a slave in Ireland as a child when  captured by Irish raiders.  After escaping back to Britain, he felt God’s call to preach the faith to the Irish people.   He became an evangelist to his captors.

Are you ready for the True Parade?

Now his Saint Day is celebrated with parades, parties and green beer, and the Protestant pietist in me grates at the excess of desire and appetite.   But I recently read a short section by another Irishman, C. S. Lewis, in his sermon, The Weight of Glory, that gives a different perspective on such desires,

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when inifinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.   We are too easily pleased.

The phrase, We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when inifinite joy is offered us, strikes me hard today.   St. Patrick Day celebrations are not a bad thing, but even at their best they are pale imitation of what God has prepared for God’s children.  God created us with a “God-shaped vacuum” that we long to fill.  Alcohol, sex, wealth, and ambition can not fill the vacuum.  We have a thirst, a desire, for God’s joy that we only partially fill in this life.   Heaven is where we will be fully what God created us to be and our celebration will have no end.  In heaven all life will be vibrant.

How have you experienced Vibrant Life?