Sunday, March 16, 2014

Maewyn Succat (or St. Patrick): A Celebration of Life

Of course I had to have Snoopy and Woodstock!

    St. Patrick's has become more than just a holiday about celebrating Irish heritage, it has become a celebration of life itself. This holiday is celebrated in almost every country in the world, even China! What is the allure behind St. Patrick's Day though? It is the celebration of the life of Ireland's official Saint (or one of them) in the Catholic Church, but this holiday (like Valentine's Day) has been embraced by the secular side as well, especially in America. Its fun, its lively, it comes at an incredibly boring time of the month!

     Now when one thinks of St. Patrick's Day, you think: green, pots of gold, rainbows, shamrocks, parades, leprechauns, and so on. And really, every single one of those has some bearing on the creation of St. Patrick's Day. The greatest thing about St. Patrick's Day though, is the celebration of who you are and remembering where you came from. Heritage is an important matter in life. We're raised to learn about our heritage, to treasure it and eventually pass it on to the next generation.

St. Patrick
     Anyone who knows their Irish history will know that the Irish themselves have a long long history of being unbowed, unbent and unbroken by other cultures, primarily the English. And because of that, for many centuries the English and the Irish had a very diabolical relationship. Of course, in the last fifty to sixty years, England and Ireland's relationship has become much better and they've managed to build intensely strong bonds between their two cultures. So knowing about England and Ireland's tense past with one another I was surprised to find out that Ireland's most beloved Saint was not Irish, but English.

     His name originally wasn't actually Patrick but Maewyn (that is a cool name) Succat and he was born 387 A.D. No one really knows where he was born, but many believe it to be in what is now Banwen, Wales. Maewyn was the son of a wealthy deacon, Calpurnius, his mother's name was Conchessa and he had at least one sister, Darerca. When when he was sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and was sold into slavery for six years, working in the Irish fields where he trained to be a shepherd.

     Life as a sheep herder was hard and long, and the Irish weather was cold, rainy and relentless In the midst of all of this, Maewyn prayed and spoke to God and believed that God would sometimes speak back to him. Maewyn did escape when he was in his early twenties and manged to make it back home. There he immersed himself in the Christian teachings hoping to one day return to Ireland as a missionary and to free the slaves.

Carlow Cathedral - St. Patrick Preaches to the Kings
     After Maewyn was ordained as bishop by Pope Celestine, he was given the name Patricius or Patrick and returned several years later to the land that once enslaved him. There he spoke to the slaves of God's peace and his eternal freedom and used nature as his tools to physically describe God's love, such as the three leaf clover to describe the Holy Trinity. Life as a missionary was difficult for him though. He successfully ordained many priests and baptized thousands of people, but the Irish upper class were not pleased at how he was bringing hope to the poor and destitute. So they would have Patrick robbed, beaten and even thrown into jail, but he was determine to fulfill his duty to God and to the people of Ireland.

     What I find ironic is that when Maewyn returned home he could have stayed there in Banwen, get married and have a regular life, but he went back to Ireland because he loved the people and wanted to set them free from their physical and spiritual slavery. St. Patrick's devotion to God and to a people and country that weren't his to begin with is part of his undying legacy.

     So, be you Irish or not, whether you celebrate the life of this Saint in church or at home, or just enjoy the merriment of St. Patrick's Day with parades, parties and awesome hats, remember to always celebrate life. Sometimes that can be hard; we go through challenges that seem unbearable, we're made to put up with unbearable people and circumstances, and sometimes it's not even our fault. Yet, to give up on living is a waste; as long your heart is still beating, there is always hope for a better life that is worth celebrating.

"If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples;
even though some of them still look down on me."

~St. Patrick

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments : ) They mean a lot. If you follow these rules, you'll have a chance of possibly being friends with me.

1. No rudeness

2. No unnecessary criticism

3. No plagiarism of my writing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...