18 March 2012

Nationalism and the Saints

I spent the entire day at the parishes in South Boston.  Today, as many of you likely know, is the day after St. Patrick's.  The Sunday after St. Patrick's Day, to be precise.  Thus, as a matter of course, the famous parade in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland made its way through South Boston, down West and East Broadway and past St. Brigid's.  The pastor always hosts an open house on the day of the parade and great fun was had by all involved.

But, it got me to thinking.  What are we to make of the national pride, patriotism, in this sense or that, when it runs smack dab into the Church.  Of course, there are several books that could be penned about this.  And my following observation leaves out an entire panoply of reflection.  Forgive me, it's late and I have only the ability for a glib thought or two.

My thought is this:

As I looked at the big stained glass window over the altar at St. Brigid, the wonderful image of Saint Patrick meeting Saint Brigid and listened to a homily calling by the pastor that called for a remembering (and then putting into practice!) of the legacy of Saint Patrick, I can't help but think that there is some very holy thing that goes on when saints are deeply connected with their people.  

There is an incarnational aspect, it seems, attached to Patrick and the Irish people.  The same goes for many other saints that are uniquely linked to their place of origin (or their missionary home).  

I'm not sure what it's about, but I know that it means something.  

So, tonight, a day late: Saint Patrick, patron of Ireland, pray for your spiritual children.   

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