March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Amy has an interesting St. Patrick's Day post up. She talks about feeling the outsider for having gone to an Irish Catholic high school and having only a smidgeon of Irish blood.

Ironically I felt the same in the early years of my discovery of the local Irish community. My features are not especially Irish. I wondered if being half-Irish was enough to confer acceptance amid the Ancient Order of Hibernian circles with people who looked as Irish as leprechauns. I didn't know the saint we celebrate today wasn't Irish. Of course, next to my English, non-Catholic friend Ham, who accompanied me to events, I felt positively teeming with ambassadorship and Oirish bonhomie!

In our old downtown parish, there's a large painting of St. Patrick on the wall that somehow made it from Ireland from among those fleeing the famine.

St. Patrick arguably penned the greatest prayer ever written, short of the Lord's Prayer. It speaks of the only consolation for we exiles: Christ's presence -
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

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