He used a shamrock so they said.
For the Telling of the Trinity.
It is the stuff of legend and myth and the reason to put on green and share a pint.
Some parade their revelry without shame and wish the holiday wasn’t on a Sunday this year.
We aim too low.
We settle, down down down into the legends and myths and miss the truth of the matter.
The truth that contains the real wonder, the real reason to celebrate.
The truth is this; that the boy, Maewyn Succat, woke up one morning not knowing this day, like all the days the Lord has made, was an ordained one. He was about to be captured by a band of Irish raiders and sold as a slave to a fierce and terrifying druid romancing darkness on the Emerald Isle and God was in the whole thing.
He was forgotten, a foreigner, an exile on a brutal island painted green and godless.
But loneliness is fertilizer for God who makes something out of nothing and from it He grew the boy into a prayer warrior.
Maewyn’s prayers….his conversations with God yielded a boy grown to manhood who knew the Shepherd’s voice.
One day in the perfect timing of things ordained, Maewyn dreamed.
He dreamed a voice speaking:“Thy ship is ready for thee.”
So Maewyn went. He escaped through 200 miles of hill and dale and black thorn and cragged rock to the ship, but when you know the Shepherd’s voice you will follow Him anywhere.
Then one day, again, in the perfect timing of things ordained, he dreamed.
He dreamed of a man coming to him with letters penned with Irish words. Maewyn heard voices.
“We beg you, young man, come walk amongst us once more.
So Maewyn went.
He took the name Patricius and went back to the land of his enslavement. It was here that Patricius lit a bonfire to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and it was here that he met the wrath of the Tara’s High King. Only the High King of Tara was allowed to light the first bonfire…anyone else doing so was executed. Fury consumed the King of Tara and he summoned Patricius.
When summoned, Patricius opened his mouth.
When the words, May God arise and His enemies be scattered spilled out of his mouth and a darkness spilled down from heaven and the king’s guards took each other for the enemy and the ground began shaking, It Was Finished for the King of Tara.
The next morning, Easter day, the pagan king came humbled and kneeling like we all do when we witness resurrection power. So began the mission of Patricius, Patrick the saint, of lighting fires in the hearts of the Irish for the next four decades. God was in the whole thing.
A St.Patrick’s Day worthy to be celebrated is the one where we remember that God is in all of it and He will waste nothing. He will even take our enslavements, our dire circumstances, whatever the enemy has meant for evil in our lives and use it to bring freedom to others.
We are Joseph and Naomi and Esther and Maewyn, the rescued and the rescuers.
The St. Patty’s Day legend pales in the redemptive light of the real man called Maewyn who said this:“We ought to fish well…and diligently as the Lord exhorts. Hence, we spread our nets so that a great multitude and throng might be caught.
Perhaps this is the best of Irish blessings:
May you fish well.