Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm only PART Irish (about 1/4) and my family never was much into "ethnicity" when I was growing up, so I'm not terribly in touch with my various heritages. And also, my father "switched allegiances" (his family was largely non-practicing Catholic - my mother's family was fairly staunch Protestant, so they wound up as Disciples of Christ and that's how I wound up as one).

And I'm not a big fan of the "drink green beer until it comes out your various orifices" celebration that this day seems to be (or at least, seems to be in the large college towns: years ago I lived down the street from a nominally-Irish bar and I just knew to wear earplugs the night of St. Patrick's Day).

But I do like the idea of this as a more reflective day. I've always been fond of the prayer/poem attributed to St. Patrick, commonly called "St. Patrick's Breastplate."

I especially like this section:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

It does, to me, convey that idea of being surrounded and protected by Christ.

I admit, a lot of days lately I "fail" at the "Christ within me" part - I get too annoyed at my fellow humans, I don't have the patience and tolerance and the ability to stop and go, "They may have some underlying problem that's making them do this" (Like: the person who cuts you off in traffic may be preoccupied because they are on the way to the hospital to see someone very ill). So it's something I need to work on more: being better at showing compassion and tolerance when it's warranted, giving "tough love" when necessary (because Christ showed tough love when He knew it would benefit the person - like the woman at the well, who had been married multiple times, but was at that moment living with a man to whom she was not married). And I need to work on being better and discerning when compassion is needed and when tough love is needed. (But I find that so hard. I think that's one of my blind spots in understanding my fellow humans).

The rest of the "Breastplate" can be found here

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