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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Ruminations on the holiday.

Today the activities director at the nursing home where I live asked us, "Who knows why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, or who he was?"

I was surprised that no one knew. So to fill in the gaps, let me just say that Patrick was a fourth-century missionary who brought the good news of Christ to Ireland. March 17th is his "saint's day," in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar.

My grandmother's mother was Irish, so I have a bit of the blarney in me myself. I was always proud of being Irish, although Grandma seemed a little embarrassed by the fact. I wish I knew the story of my Irish greatgrandmother and my Norwegian greatgrandfather, and how those two immigrants met and fell in love in Florida, of all places. But I don't, except that they married and had two children before succumbing to TB.

Since my children were born on March 14 and 16, they inevitably had St. Patrick-themed birthday cakes (the same way that my August birthday always has some summer-picnic-beach themed cake). Anyone else out there a fan of Watergate cake? White or yellow cake with pistachio added into the cake better and the frosting.

I'm wearing a small amount of green today (I don't have any solid green clothes).

I went through a Leon Uris spell in my early adulthood. He introduced me to the power of historical fiction. After I read his book, Trinity, I wondered how Ireland will ever find peace. I fell in love with Michael Flaherty's flying feet, Lord of the Dance. In terms of favorite Irish movies, the closest I could come is Rudy, about the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

I've never drunk green beer or marched in a parade, but I am proud of my Irish heritage.

I'll end today's post with the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, which happens to be an Irish hymn, "Be Thou My Vision."

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Words: Dallan Forgail (8th Century)

1 comment:

kbailey said...

thank you, loved it! Love that hymn too :)