A great day for all the Irish

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My wife and I both laughed out loud this morning when we heard 1170 KFAQ's Chris Medlock relate that when he was a kid his mother sent him to school on St. Patrick Day wearing orange to make a political statement. (And you wondered where his contrary streak comes from.)

Way back in the mid-'90s, B.C., (before children) we took a couple of trips to Ulster, spending time both in Northern Ireland and in County Donegal, part of the Republic of Ireland. My maternal ancestors were Presbyterian Ulster Scots who came to America from the eastern part of County Donegal, a region called the Laggan, in 1769. My great-grandfather on my father's mother's side came from Irish Roman Catholic stock in county West Meath. Family lore says his parents intended for him to go into the priesthood. Instead, he came to America, made his way to Kansas and married a girl 21 years his junior.

During our trips, we saw first-hand the two cultures that exist in that region -- the Irish Roman Catholic culture and the Protestant Ulster Scots culture, planted in Ulster by King James of England and Scotland in the early 17th century. The Irish flag was designed to represent both cultures -- green for the Roman Catholics, orange for the Protestants, and the white band in the middle to keep them apart, or so the legend goes. The color orange became identified with Protestants in Ireland because it was William III of England, Prince of Orange, a Protestant, who defeated James (II of England, VII of Scotland), a Roman Catholic, at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

But St. Patrick belongs to Protestant and Roman Catholic Irish alike, and indeed to all with roots in the British Isles. Patrick was a Briton who grew up near what is now Glasgow, Scotland. Sold into slavery in Ireland, he returned to the Christian faith of his family. Upon his return to Britain, he was called of God to go back to the land of his captors and preach the gospel to them. He is said to be buried at Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, and Armagh in the north is the seat of two St. Patrick's Cathedrals -- one Roman Catholic and one Church of Ireland (Anglican).

There's no need to wear orange today to show solidarity with Loyalists and Protestants. Patrick belongs to us too. (Save the orange wear for the 12th of July. Or the next OSU home game.)

George Grant has a post today about Patrick's conversion and zeal for missions:

Of his conversion he later wrote, "I was sixteen years old and knew not the true God and was carried away captive; but in that strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and although late I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children. Every day I used to look after sheep and I used to pray often during the day, the love of God and a holy fear of Him increased more and more in me. My faith began to grow and my spirit was ardently stirred. Often, I would pray as many as a hundred times in a single day--and nearly as many at night. Even when I was staying out in the woods or on the mountain, I would rise before dawn for prayer, in snow and frost and rain. I felt no ill effect and there was no slackness in me. As I now realize, it was because the Spirit was maturing and preparing me for a work yet to come."...

Thus, Patrick returned to Ireland. He preached to the pagan tribes in the Irish language he had learned as a slave. His willingness to take the Gospel to the least likely and the least lovely people imaginable was met with extraordinary success. And that success would continue for over the course of nearly half a century of evangelization, church planting, and social reform. He would later write that God's grace had so blessed his efforts that "many thousands were born again unto God." Indeed, according to the early church chronicler Killen, "There can be no reasonable doubt that Patrick preached the Gospel, that he was a most zealous and efficient evangelist, and that he is entitled to be called the Apostle of Ireland."

Grant has also posted the text of the great prayer known as St. Patrick's Breastplate, which includes these lines:

I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

RELATED: Manchán Magan says that the Irish language is disappearing from Ireland. He tried to use it all over the country and was greeted with incomprehension at best, rudeness at worst.

I left Dublin with renewed hope. Outside the capital, people were more willing to listen to me, though no more likely to understand me. I was given the wrong directions, served the wrong food and given the wrong haircut, but I was rarely made to feel foolish again. Even in Northern Ireland, on Belfast's staunchly British-loyalist Shankill Road, I was treated with civility, though warned that if I persisted in speaking the language, I was liable to end up in hospital. In Galway, I went out busking on the streets, singing the filthiest, most debauched lyrics I could think of to see if anyone would understand. No one did. Old women smiled, tapping their feet merrily as I serenaded them with filth. In Killarney, I stood outside a bank promising passers-by huge sums of money if they helped me rob it, but again no one understood.

(Via Hot Air.)

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Paul Tay said:

Kids who wore orange to skool on St. Paddy's also got the crapola beaten outta 'em. Maybe that's also where Medlock got his masochistic "Beat me, I'm a bad boy" attitude? Naaaaaah.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 17, 2008 6:55 PM.

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