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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

History, Holidays, Just for fun!

Poor Saint Patrick. Almost everything we associate with the holiday today has little to do with the real Saint Patrick.

 

Saint Patrick's Day decorations and themes often consist of  leprechauns, 4-leaf clovers for luck, pots of gold, green snakes, and of course, green beer. Did I mention green beer?

 

None of these things have anything to do with Saint Patrick, who was a real man born in the 4th century.

 

Patrick was born in the area of Britain we now call Wales, somewhere around 372-397 AD.  Although he was raised in a Christian home, he himself was not yet a Christian. Kidnapped by Irish raiders as a teen, he was taken to Ireland as a slave for 6 years.*

 

"Patrick worked as a herdsman, remaining a captive for six years. He writes that his faith grew in captivity [through teachings and scripture he memorized as a child], and that he prayed daily.  After six years he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he traveled to a port, two hundred miles away he says, where he found a ship and, after various adventures, returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.[11] "

 

Feeling the call to return to Ireland to convert the Druids, Patrick studied the Bible. It is said however that he was not formally educated*--at least not in the traditional way of priests. He did not let this stop him from returning to Ireland.

 

"Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time.

 

"They baptized many thousands, probably tens of thousands. Patrick's mission planted about 700 churches. Within his lifetime, 30 to 40 (or more) of Ireland's 150 tribes became substantially Christian." (The Celtic Way of Evangelism, page 23)

 

He preached salvation through faith in Christ and "fought against the start of Pelagianism, the denial of original sin and affirmation of man's ability to be righteous by the exercise of free will."*

 

"He died in Ireland in approximately 461 AD."* on March 17th. 

 

See, not a green beer in the whole story!

 

As for the other symbols:

...He also is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. Of course, no snakes were ever native to Ireland, and some people think this is a metaphor for the conversion of the pagans. Though originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into more of a secular holiday.
 

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

 

The shamrock representing the trinity always made sense to me. Not too surprising, even that got hijacked into a 4-leaf clover symbolizing LUCK. (Luck is not a Christian symbol in that it bypasses God's providence.) 

 

It is rather sad that a day honoring a great Christian missionary like Saint Patrick, who preached the Gospel of Christ so faithfully, has evolved into a day of drunkenness. But now at least you know a little more about the real St. Patrick. 

 

counter hit xanga* Taken from a pamphlet, Saint Patrick, by Dr. Gary M. Gulan, 1993 (Rev. 1999).

 

Links: 

counter hit xanga

Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News

 

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