And the rest of the day to meself! One of my high school teachers (Fr Dolan about whom I posted a few months ago) used to say that. Happy St Patrick's Day all! 9 years ago today, I met A for the very first time. I had gone to the NYC St Patrick's Day parade with A's cousin and his cousin's girlfriend KM - both co-workers of mine. A, being in the FDNY, was marching. Our meeting was very brief, in a bar after the parade and consisted of him saying "Hi I'm A. Can I get you a beer?" That was pretty much it. But, I remembered him well enough that when he visited Town Hall 4 months later and KM said "B's cousin is downstairs, why don't you go say hello" I made up an excuse to go down to B's office. And the rest is history.
So - speaking of history - did you know that St. Patrick was not Irish? Not by birth anyway. He was Roman, but born in Scotland. He was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. He eventually escaped, studied for the priesthood and returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity and is said to have banished snakes from Ireland. St Patrick's Breastplate is a prayer I love - a little long, so bear with me.
"May the strength of God guide me this day, and may His power preserve me. May the wisdom of God instruct me; the eye of God watch over me; the ear of God hear me; the word of God give sweetness to my speech; the hand of God defend me; and may I follow the way of God.
Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ be after me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot, Christ in the ship, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me. Christ in every eye that see me. Christ in every ear that hears me."
Before I go, let me leave you with that Irish toast that everyone knows...
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
And another one just because...
May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.