I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburniæ; he had a country seat nearby, and there I was taken captive.
I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people—and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments, and did not obey our priests, who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought over us the wrath of his anger and scattered us among many nations, even unto the utmost part of the earth, where now my littleness is placed among strangers.
And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my abjection, and mercy on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son.
Hence I cannot be silent—nor, indeed, is it expedient—about the great benefits and the great grace which the Lord has deigned to bestow upon me in the land of my captivity; for this we can give to God in return after having been chastened by Him, to exalt and praise His wonders before every nation that is anywhere under the heaven.
Because there is no other God, nor ever was, nor will be, than God the Father unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, the Lord of the universe, as we have been taught; and His Son Jesus Christ, whom we declare to have always been with the Father, spiritually and ineffably begotten by the Father before the beginning of the world, before all beginning; and by him are made all things visible and invisible.
He was made man, and, having defeated death, was received into heaven by the Father; and He hath given Him all power over all names in heaven, on earth, under the earth. Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe, and whose advent we expect soon to be. He is judge of the living and of the dead, who will render every man according to his deeds; and He has poured forth upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality. Who makes those who believe and obey, sons of God and joint heirs with Christ; and Him do we confess and adore, one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name.
–St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland
I read the rest, and I didn’t find anything about green beer or corned beef.
Seriously, though, I think celebrating our older brothers and sisters in the faith who have, by God’s grace, been rewarded with their place around the throne is wonderful (we don’t call them Feast Days for nothing), but it saddens me when the memory of a Saint of such seeming humility and courage gets swallowed up by revelry, drunkeness and ethnic pride.
The irony here is that St. Patrick came to save a land from paganism and now his feast day is full of its hallmarks.
St. Patrick, pray for us…green beer and all.