Imagine that you grew up uneducated. In your teenage years, you were kidnapped and sold into slavery in a foreign land. Your family was gone. You submitted to your masters and relied on God through this struggle, growing leaps and bounds in your faith. You escaped your slavery in an adventurous series of events. Later, you decided to go back to the land of your slavery to share the Gospel with the pagan land. In faith you began preaching, baptizing, giving your very self in love to the people who once enslaved you. They came to know Jesus Christ through your witness; they convert, their families convert, and eventually their whole country converts! They even decided, upon your death, to preserve that day as holy to celebrate your heroic generosity, bravery, and love.
Fast-forward 1700 years give or take. From heaven you gaze down to earth on your feast day…
And people are using it an excuse to get drunk and be irresponsible as they stumble around with rainbows, shamrocks, and green beer flying in every direction.
Hello, St. Patrick!
Modern traditions didn’t pop up overnight, but these days most people in Western Civilization are decidedly Irish and Catholic on St. Patrick’s Day. Most saint feast days come and go without societal notice but St. Patty’s day has everyone jumping on the bandwagon. Even Wonka is aware of this.
OK, so I don’t really hate St. Patrick’s Day…I am Irish and Catholic; I can’t truly hate it. However, I can hate that the entire point of having feast days are lost in modern society.
Why do Catholics have saint feast days to begin with? To celebrate the life of someone who gave their life to Jesus Christ and shared him in heroic ways with the world around them. The reason for these days is to remind us of those older brothers and sisters who have gone before us and left behind a powerful witness. We are celebrating the grace of God in their lives as we also celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ over death and sin in our lives. We remember that we are but pilgrims on earth and, God-willing, one day will worship the Lord in heaven alongside the saint we are celebrating.
So what can we do to reclaim St. Patrick’s Day? Or even take what’s already GOOD about St. Patrick’s Day and reintroduce the point of why it’s good to our culture?
Become a person who truly celebrates the REAL St. Patrick! Practically how can you do this?
1. Tell the real story! This man was sold-out for Jesus Christ and endured crazy hardships many people could relate to! Bring inspiration to those around you. Get more information here.
2. Become an evangelist! If Patrick was on earth for his feast day, this is what he would likely do. Remember the old legend about St. Patrick using shamrocks to explain the Trinity? Don’t hesitate to use the shamrock on his feast day to talk about God, who desires to be in communion with all people. Be bold and loving…not weird and creepy.
3. Drink some green beer! If you are 21 or older, feel free to have some beer on St. Patty’s dayin moderation. Set an example about how to use alcohol properly – to celebrate and make merry while maintaining sobriety. “Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, because it is now that God favors your works.” Ecclesiastes 9:7
4. Celebrate with others! Feast days are opportunities to join in communion and camaraderie with others to enjoy their friendship. Go to a local Mass, attend a parade, cook corned beef and cabbage, meet up at a pub…with others!
5. Get into it! Wear the hats, beads, (appropriate) shirts, temporary tattoos, etc. and have fun with the day! These Patty’s day symbols of the day can increase our silliness and joy as we walk around looking like goofballs with all our buddies. Remember the Party Blog? We certainly can’t show the culture how to truly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with long faces.
Have fun this March 17th, celebrating the REAL St. Patrick – a father in our faith and a hero for the New Evangelization.
“Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.” -Saint Patrick
This article was originally published at Focus.
Image credit: shutterstock.com