As I do my best to avoid the throngs of drunken M.S.U. students today, I'm reminded that this holiday we celebrate nowadays has very little to do with the life and times of Saint Patrick.
Paraphrased from the meticulously researched "Saint Patrick" by William J. Federer:
The boy who would become St. Patrick was born in Britain around 389 A.D. He was captured in his teens by raiders and forced into slavery, tending sheep in the pagan land of Ireland--a period of time where he would turn his heart to God and become a devout Christian. After his miraculous escape from Ireland in his twenties, "St. Patrick" described a vision he received from God telling him to return to Ireland. He did so and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ over the next 40 years. During this time, he was instrumental in converting all of Ireland to Christianity. At the time of his death in 461 A.D., "Patrick had founded 300 churches, baptized 120,000 believers and his followers re-evangelized Europe."
No pinching people who don't wear green. No drunken partying. No leprechauns and their pots-o-gold. Just a humble man of God with a passion for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, who would love his enemies regardless of what hardships he had to endure.
I think that instead of going down the pub and having a pint of Guinness, I'm going to watch clips from "Brenden and the Secret of Kells" produced by Ireland's animation studio: Cartoon Saloon. The story tells the tale of a young monk and his struggles to complete the "Book of Kells"--Ireland's greatest national treasure: a lavishly illustrated manuscript containing the four gospels of the New Testament. If you are near a theatre that is showing this film (N.Y.C. and Boston first, then the rest of the U.S. in April), I highly recommend taking your kids to see this Academy Award nominated film.