I may be half-Polish and half-German, but my middle name is Patrick. So when March 17 rolls around, you'll find me celebrating the feast day of one of my patron saints just as joyfully as any of the Irish.
Saint Patrick's life and example should be an inspiration to us all, particularly in these days, when so many traditionally Christian countries, including Ireland herself (where Saint Patrick's Day is a Holy Day of Obligation), are in need of some serious re-evangelization. The figure of Saint Patrick has meant many things to many different people, but above all else, his life represents an unswerving commitment to orthodoxy and to spreading the Gospel of Christ.
Today, before you settle down to your corned beef and cabbage (since we have eight kids, we have three cuts of corned beef simmering already!) and your Guinness or (shudder) green beer, make sure to spend a few minutes reading through, and reflecting on, the most famous of Saint Patrick's prayers: the Breastplate of Saint Patrick (also known as the Lorica).
You have undoubtedly seen a short version of the Lorica before, but the full version of the Breastplate of Saint Patrick is majestic, incorporating all the elements of Catholic morning prayer: It is an Act of Faith (expressing the Catholic teaching on the Trinity and on Christ); an Act of Hope (in God's protection throughout the day and throughout life, as well as in eternal salvation); and an Act of Charity (in the love expressed for God).
The Breastplate of Saint Patrick is the prayer of a man confident in his faith, preparing every day to win souls to Christ and, if necessary, to win the crown of martyrdom. On his feast day, let us pray to Saint Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, that our own faith may be increased, and that we may follow Christ as wholeheartedly as he did.
Saint Patrick, pray for us!