Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! The verse for today’s responsorial psalm is “Remember the marvels the Lord has done.” Today is a day to remember what the Lord has done for the Irish people, especially by calling and sending St. Patrick, the great missionary bishop, to proclaim the gospel to the pagan Druids of Ireland. Thanks to Saint Patrick’s work, and that of many other missionaries, such as Saint Ciarán of Saighir and Saint Colm Cille, Christianity spread and flourished in Ireland and the Druidic culture waned. The culture war we see in Western civilization today is nothing compared to the culture war in Ireland at the time of St. Patrick.
Perhaps, if we are hoping for as happy an outcome in our times as St. Patrick had in his times, we can learn from the hymn called “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate.” Whether it was written by him personally or his followers, it remains relevant to us. The popular version of this hymn begins “I arise today,” but there are, in fact, several earlier verses. The very first verse starts “I bind to myself today the strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity,” and the second verse begins with this: “I bind to myself today the virtue of the Incarnation of Christ.” If you agree with me that Saint Patrick, and, in fact, all of Ireland are worth celebrating, then join me in repeating these verses, and have a blessed Saint Patrick’s Day!