Americans have set aside St. Patrick’s Day as time for parades, parties, wearing the green, all which are inventions of Americans.
Did you know that over 36 million Americans are of Irish ancestry? This number is almost 9 times the population of Ireland.
Many of the original Irish settlers came to America as indentured servants, a euphemism for slave, and brought the celebration of the day to the colonies. The first official celebration of Patrick’s day was held in 1737 in Boston. Later in New York City, Irish soldiers in the British army put on a parade on St. Patrick’s Day 1762. Even later when General Washington was camped at Morristown, NJ he allowed his troops, many of whom were of Irish descent to have a holiday on March 17, 1780.
Over a million Irish migrated to America as a result of the Great Potato Famine. Since that time the celebration has gone national so much so that I usually wear something green on St. Paddy’s Day. I also “like some green in me pocket!”
Most of the above information comes, in my words, but from The American Patriot’s Almanac written and compiled by William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education.
His closing statement on the Irish in America is a gem: “If the United States is the world’s melting pot, the broth has a wee bit o’ the taste of Irish stew.”
Back in 1995 Thomas Cahill’s fascinating book, How the Irish Saved Civilization. The Untold Story Of Ireland’s Heroic Role From The Fall Of Rome To The Rise Of Medieval Europe hit the book world like a storm. When I read the title, I wanted to rush to New York and buy a copy. I was detained, so in the course of passing time, I did acquire, read and fall in love with the book which did tremendous justice to today’s revered Saint Patrick along with many others of the grand Irish people.
In many ways the work began by Patrick contributed immensely to the saving of the history of the world during that tumultuous time in world history, the passing of one civilization and the beginning of another, the Miter moving from Rome to London in time.
Of this upheaval Patrick said, “Our civilization may pass in a moment like a cloud of smoke that is scattered by the wind." Knowing the truth of this, Patrick, as part of his life calling, saved the literature, culture and noble ideals of Christ of the then darkened world, which later brought Europe out of its darkness, at least for a little while.
One thing on my bucket list is to visit The Emerald Isle for a sustained period, not to, with moonstruck eyes, gaze at the sun going down on Galway Bay, but to visit the people along the back roads, the bogs, and yes, to actually visit a rural, untouched by gawkers Irish Pub having quotes on the wall from the revered Patrick.
Many “prophets,” politicians and other types of prognosticators are convinced and convincing American Christians, that we are at the end of our civilization and about to plunge into a period of darkness akin to the historical European Darkness. This need not be so if we will, in spite of ridicule from high places and high minded people, cling to our Bibles and the grand ideals set forth by Patrick’s hero, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Patrick held tenaciously to the truth that thinking Christians held from earliest times, principles passed down the long corridors of history by Jewish patriots from the beginning of time, that when taught and practiced, are part of true enlightenment that sets on fire the human spirit and over and again lift the soul of man from the stifling darkness of tyrants who would stamp out all that is good, high and noble.
We who know the truth and cherish it can and must, even if we have no monasteries of stone, hide it in our hearts and pass it on those who will listen. We must recognize that the bodies of the holders of the grail of truth are as Peter said, living stones, breathing temples, and faithfully tell the world. Some will listen.
We who love God are commanded to be the repository of the sacred and to share it widely. Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Saint Patrick had Ireland. Your “country” is wherever you are. Bloom there.
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly.
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