Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick was a Superhero

Today we celebrate my patron St. Patrick, one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church.  The 17th of March falls on a Sunday this year, so there is no liturgical celebration, but we should still honor St. Patrick.  Many saints have fantastic miracles attributed to them, some more credible than others.  St. Patrick's miracles are in a class by themselves.  According to the 7th Century Irish monk and historian Muirchu, Patrick killed scores of pagans with jedi powers of the Holy Spirit. One of the pagan priests insulted the Faith, and Patrick rebuked him.  With a rock.
As he uttered such things, Saint Patrick regarded him with a stern glance, as Peter once looked on Simon; and powerfully, with a loud voice, he confidently addressed the Lord and said, O Lord, who canst do all things, and in whose power all things hold together, and who hast sent me hither, as for this impious man who blasphemes Thy name, let him now be taken up out of this and die speedily.”
And when he had thus spoken, the magician was caught up into the air, and then let fall from above, and, his skull striking on a rock, he was dashed to pieces and killed before their faces; and the heathen folk were dismayed.
Afterwards, the Irish sent chariots against Patrick.
Then St. Patrick, seeing that the ungodly heathen folk were about to rush upon him, rose up, and with a clear voice said, “Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him.”
And straightway darkness came down, and a certain horrible commotion arose, and the ungodly men fought amongst themselves, one rising up against another, and there was a great earthquake, “and [God] bound the axles of their chariots, and drove them with violence,” and they rushed in headlong flight — both chariots and horses — over the level ground of the great plain, till at last only a few of them escaped half alive to the mountain of Monduirn.
And, at the curse of Patrick, seven times seven men were laid low by this stroke in the presence of the king and his elders, until there remained only himself and his wife and two others of his companions; and they were sore afraid.
These are among the more violent of the many miracles credited to St. Patrick.  His miracles often seem more like Irish folk tales than real history, but I think that Patrick truly performed some of the miracles attributed to him.  I believe this for the simple reason that he was not killed immediately upon setting foot in Ireland, and in fact managed to single-handedly convert the warlike Irish.  The Irish had been fighting each other and sacrificing people to pagan idols for millenia, yet Patrick converted them armed with nothing but his crosier and the Holy Spirit.  I don't know if Patrick smashed a bunch of chariots, but he certainly did something to impress the heathens.  Perhaps he really did drive the snakes from Ireland.  Serpents have always been conspicuously absent from the Emerald Isle even though they live in Britain, just across the Irish sea.  Whatever he did in life, we can be assured of his intercession in Heaven. 

St. Patrick pray for us!


  1. Just remember, it took an Italiano to straighten out the Irish!
    Buona Festa di San Patrizio!

    PS, Doubt Muirchu used the term "jedi powers" but it works. & I am with you on the miracles.

    1. Well he was a Roman Briton, so I guess you can claim him, but we get St. Bridget!

    2. Of course! Assuming you mean St. Brigit of Kildare.