Today we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. He died over fifteen hundred years ago, reportedly on March 17. I had lunch with the Joy Group on Thursday of this week, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day we enjoyed corned beef and cabbage. It was delicious and it reminds me of my mom who also loved corned beef. My baby sister is Catholic. She was given the-go-ahead to eat corned beef on Friday by her priest, because he said she was one of the few parishioners who actually inquired if she could. Catholics normally give up meat on Fridays during Lent. I always try to celebrate the holidays and the foods that go with them that our culture celebrates, because it breaks up the mundaneness of life. In the book of Ecclesiastes 2:24 it says, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” The book of Ecclesiastes is an odd book written by a person late in their life who has sought wisdom throughout their life. This verse is meant to remind us that we must put in the effort to make a good life. One of the ways we do this is through celebrating when we can celebrate. We must seek out our enjoyment of life. Scripture also admonishes us to find purpose in life.
This is what St. Patrick did. He first came to Ireland as a slave, was captured by Irish raiders and forced to serve as a sheep herder. Eventually he escaped and went back home to Great Britain. Later, impressed by God’s leading, he returned to Ireland as a bishop and missionary. As I move through the second half of my life, I am often pondering what is the point of life. Like the author of Ecclesiastes, I do wonder about my legacy having lived here on this earth for the last sixty years.
Two things I know, I want to have purpose and I want to enjoy my life. I want to make this world a better place. I want to bless people because people matter to me and more importantly, they matter to God. Secondly, I need to seek enjoyment. Often during the years of raising kids it was only about survival with all the busyness. Now that my children are raised, I hope to get better at seeking enjoyment. I hope you do something to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today. If you are young and are really good at seeking enjoyment, just don’t ever forget to also find purpose in the life God has given you.