If y'all have been following along with me at all, you know I can't skip this holiday/feast day without making special note of it! Because, well, in my world, Ireland gets all the heart eyes. PLUS I grew up right next to a little country Catholic church called St. Patrick's so, double whammy.
Y'all likely know some of the story of St. Patrick already, and how he is considered the great missionary to the Irish. However, like most things in Irish folklore, it is difficult to know what exactly is true, as there tends to be a bit of embellishment ;) What we do know is that St. Patrick was not born in Ireland, but was taken there as a slave as a young boy. He escaped at the age of 20, and went home to Britain. There he studied to become a priest, and decided to head back to Ireland as a missionary. This was very dangerous at the time, but like most saints, he did not lack for courage. It is said that he is responsible for basically making Ireland Catholic, as well as introducing the Celtic cross to the Irish people.
The Celtic cross brings together two elements, one the traditional cross as we know it, and the other, a "sun cross." The sun cross includes a circle, which St. Patrick used to represent the Trinity. An example of this type of cross (pictured above) can be found at the Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel began as a military fortress, dating waaaaaaay back, and is said to be where St. Patrick baptized the first Christian ruler of Ireland, King Aengus. There's me, in front of it, just soaking in all the history, and generally being a happy camper ;)
St Patrick left us with the following prayer to remind us to keep Christ with us in all times and circumstances.
"Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!