Michael took us through what we know (and don't know) about the life of St Patrick which is mainly drawn from his own letters predominantly his Confessio.
He tells us what tradition holds of his early life, his kidnapping and work in Co Antrim as a swineherd. During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote, "The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick. Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country.
After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461 and tradition held that he was buried at Downpatrick.
Michael concluded the reflection on St Patrick with the Lorica or the Breastplate of St Patrick.
Deacon Greg Kandra has an excellent reflection on this weeks gospel:
"The life of Christ was more than just words on a page, more than black and white. Here we see the savior of the world in living color.
He was God. And he was a man. He was one of us.
In a few weeks, we will hear again of how he suffered and struggled and bled to death on the cross. But here, we get another glimpse of his humanity, when we see him experience – as all of us do – temptation.
As St. Paul reminded us, Christ was a man like us in all things but sin – a figure of flesh and blood, of joy and pain, of appetites and longings. And this gospel makes that abundantly clear. But it also assures us of something we so easily forget. God’s entry into history was total. His decision to take on human flesh was just that – a decision, a choice. And Matthew’s account of the temptations in the desert shows us what that choice entailed – and where God chose to dwell. He didn’t choose the self-satisfied, or the fulfilled, or the powerful, or the secure. He identified, instead, with those who have nothing.
Look at the temptations he faced: for food, for protection, for power. He rejected them all. When Jesus was in the desert, preparing for his public ministry, he chose to stay hungry, to fast – and so expressed solidarity with all those who are starving, or thirsting. He would know intimately the desires of all who don’t have enough to eat, or who go to bed hungry. When Jesus was in the desert, he chose to go unprotected – and so expressed kinship with all those who feel vulnerable or insecure, weak or defenseless. He would know what it is like to feel helpless, and homeless — to risk falling and have no one to catch you, no safety net to save you. And when Jesus was in the desert, he chose to be powerless. In doing that, he expressed sympathy for all who have no voice, no power, no control. The God who made everything would know what it was like to have nothing. The One who is so vast that He is everywhere would experience what it is like to be small, and fragile, and profoundly human. He would even take that one step further at the Last Supper: the Lord of all would humble himself to be as small as a piece of bread......Continue reading over here.
Further reflections available Godzdogz, Msg Charles Pope, English Dominicans, Word on Fire.
Saints of the Week
March 15th - St Louise de Marillac - Foundress of the Daughters of Charity
March 17th - St Patrick - Apostle to the Irish
March 18th - St Cyril of Jerusalem
March 19th - St Joseph - Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary