SummaryEvery year, on March 17th, the reason to celebrate is washed away in a sea of green. Jennifer Elia leads you on a quest for the real St. Patrick this March
St. Patrick is one of my favorite saints. Sometimes, I feel disappointed in saying that to people, because although everyone has heard of him, few know who he really is.
St. Patrick is a saint of unstoppable courage, unquenchable drive, and bottomless humility. He would probably be taken aback that there is even a day to celebrate him, much less that it is one of great feasting, drinking, and partying–not to mention the glittery shamrocks!
This March, among the corned beef, soda bread, and green beer, find the true St. Patrick with your family.
1. Read his confession
Unlike the Confession of St. Augustine, St Patrick’s confession is easily comprehended, even for children. Don’t let the easier read fool you; it is still rich in faith. St. Patrick devoted his life to teaching the average man about the wonders of God.
He has a deliberate way of explaining the unexplainable. This is because of his deep understanding of the faith and pure devotion.
The Confession of St. Patrick is a short read and can be found as a free e-book on several Catholic sites. It’s a great way to kick off your March. It is his confession that sparked such a deep devotion in me. How will it affect you?
2. Deepen your knowledge of the faith
Now you know more about St. Patrick, whose life’s work went far beyond the shamrock, learn more about the faith he loved so deeply. Our faith is so great; there is always more to learn and more to love.
Why not do a family study? Pick a topic to research further, for example, the Immaculate Conception, intercessory prayer, the Chair of Peter, transubstantiation, just to name a few.
Or, read a catechism that reads like an adventure. One of our family’s favorite Catholic books is St. Patrick Summer by Marigold Hunt. It’s a perfect way to journey with St. Patrick and learn more about our beloved and holy Church
3. Pray the Breastplate of St. Patrick
“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me…” is a rhythmic quote from St. Patrick commonly known and sung. However, did you know it is only one stanza of a much longer, poetic prayer?
St. Patrick’s Breastplate, sometimes called the Deer Cry, is a catechism. He not only prays for Christ to surround him, but for protection by the Holy Trinity against all that could separate him from Christ.
Pray this as a family every day this March or just on St. Patrick’s Day, but definitely make time to pray the entire prayer.
I remember, several years ago, I read a wonderful article about how St. Patrick would celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I have searched repeatedly, but cannot track it down on the great world wide web. However, one of the biggest points of the article was that St Patrick would spend his feast day praying, and so should we.
St. Patrick did not return to the great Emerald Isle just to chase away the snakes, nor was it for the stunning scenery, although I can attest to the absolutely awe inspiring beauty of lovely Ireland.
Patrick gave up all he had to return to the land where he was held captive, risking his life at every moment to set the pagan captives free by spreading the Good News of the risen Christ.
It was evangelization that drove St. Patrick’s every move. Spread the Good News, yourself. Pope St. John Paul II asked for a new evangelization, not only to spread the word to those who have not heard it, but to re-evangelize those who have heard but wandered away.
Share a great Catholic book with a fallen away friend or neighbor. Donate Bibles to a mission. Make rosaries to be sent overseas. Even if you only evangelize to one person, you have made a difference. As St. Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed 100 children, feed just one.”
What will your family do to live and love like St. Patrick this March?
Header photo Copyright: flicker: Loci Lenar