Day 5: Finally in Ireland again: Be-loved
So Patrick finally reached Ireland again; this time not as a captive of men, but as a lover of God. As I was reading about Patrick’s life in his “Confession” a thought struck me: God was here before Patrick, God had a dwelling place in Ireland then and He dwells here now. Patrick was open to recognise Him; Christ dealt with Patrick on a very personal, heart-to-heart level, as He does with us today as well. When Patrick came back to Ireland it was to give back to Ireland only what he himself received here – faith in Christ.
Patrick is an icon of someone who mirrored God’s love to the people of this island, and through the communion of saints he does so to this very day. Patrick came to show Ireland, and all of us here, that we are the Beloved of God; that is after all the central message of the Gospel. Rev. Ruth Patterson explains: “Beloved is an old and very special word, but it is not just a descriptive and powerfully affirmative yet gentle word, it is in a way also a command: Be-loved”. It is a vocation.
Patrick lived out that vocation and so to walk in the footsteps of St. Patrick today is to embrace within our hearts that we too are deeply and unconditionally loved – by Christ and by Patrick (because of Christ).
Ireland is a Beloved of God, the whole world is. Patrick came to affirm that truth in each one of us.
Today let us spend some time with that deep notion, ‘I am a Beloved of God’. Today let us allow ourselves to be loved by God. And with confidence let us accept a vocation of being ‘Be-loved’.
A thought for the day (from St. Patrick’s Breastplate): “Christ with me waking, walking and sleeping, Christ ever be”.
© Iva Beranek (Dublin, March 2012)