Evening reflection on Saint Patrick’s Day

By Fr Hugh O’Donnell SDB

I always liked that part of the story where Patrick writes of how he heard voices calling him back to the place of his captivity; ‘we beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us’. Dream or vision, unfinished business, something owed or an urgent message he must deliver?

So he returns, the slave as Christian leader, to walk among the people, to speak of the risen Christ and of the God whose name is love, love, love.  And he writes it down for us, describing endless journeys, opposition, betrayal by one he trusted as a friend, dangers on all sides, conversations, baptisms, the dark night…

Today is a day for shamrock, for the cupla focail as gaeilge, for the bedrock pulse of our music and dancing, for the diaspora, the saint gone global – green water, green stone, green beer! And what of a deeper draw? Can we still find meaning in a line of faith, in the hope of a soft landing?

It would appear that not the sun now but the malls light up our lives, the voices that whisper are on Tinder, lonely vigils are made in airports when flights are cancelled or an ash cloud looms; and what prayer is adequate?

‘O uncool youth, return with a drop of well water for our thirst,
deliver us from the bewitching screen, teach us to go barefoot again,
to make landfall, to feel for the earth, to bow down and kiss the clay’.

Also available: “An Irish Prayer”