This is the Ireland I love, and the Ireland forever blessed by our Patron saint, St Patrick ,who having been captured and brought here as a prisoner, was to escape and then to return here again after being inspired by a dream in which he saw the Irish people pleading with him to return to them.
Patrick was to follow his studies for the priesthood and then to return to transform our country with the message of Christianity. His conversion of the High King of Ireland was the key to his success as other missionaries had tried before with little success. It was while trying to explain to the King the meaning of the Trinity, the three persons in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Patrick plucked a Shamrock, and pointed out the three leaves on the one stem. The King finally understood and was converted. Seeing that their High King was convinced, the people followed suit. Ever since then the Shamrock has become our National symbol and Irish people will always wear a sprig on this special day.
During this particular time when the church is under so much fire from the media, and others ,with many different agendas, it would be important for us to remember that the message brought by Patrick was a message which carried the Irish people through many turbulent years of terrible suffering and hardship. Today the message is the same as it always was, it was the failure by many of us to keep it simple and to practice it in our daily lives that caused the problems.
I cannot help but feel that St Patrick is still with us, that Ireland which was always a pillar for Christianity and can continue to be just that. There will be changes,and changes have been made, but they were needed.
Let our celebrations this St Patricks day, be in honour of that great man who led us out of the darkness and who will continue to help us in our hour of need.
A Happy St Patricks day to one and all.